Someone mentioned to me a few years back that if you are an immigrant and you conquered New York City, (which means you’ve made yourself known in the industry you are in), then you are golden. That also means you have made yourself somewhat of a success. New York is a city where there are a lot of things going on. And, it is a destination of many people across the globe for something better. Thus, the competition in a given field is huge. If you are talented and you have what it takes, you will still shine. You will carry on with your passion, your beliefs and your contribution to the community.
Luis Pedron, is not just another Filipino transplant in New York City. He is, along with a few of the people we have featured on AMSDaily Success Story, a Filipino in New York City who has made a name for himself; someone whose impact among his colleagues in the film making industry would make the Filipinos proud of him.
Luis is the co-founder of the International Film Festival in Manhattan, the co-founder and the producer of the Queens Asian Fest
Although I am a Filipino-American residing in Boston, I know, somehow that my friend’s statement regarding New York is true for Luis Pedron.
This is his story:
AMS: Tell us about yourself. Your education, training and where you are currently involved in.
Luis: I have a degree in Filmmaking from the University of the Philippines Diliman and a degree in Acting (Meisner Technique) from the School for Film and Television (New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts). I am currently the Co-Founder, Festival Director, Programmer of the International Film Festival Manhattan. I am also a professional actor, a member of SAG-AFTRA pursuing roles in NYC. I am also a film producer, my latest collaboration is “The Solar Champion” (Dir: Gerry Balasta) a light hearted comedy about the invention called the solar bulb.
AMS: Tell us about how you become involved in your current project and its mission?
Luis: I was the Programmer of the Soho International Film Festival (2010-2011) and the Programmer of the Fanclubx.com Filmmaking Contest (2005-2006). In the midst of all the artistic projects I am involved, I figured I will jump in and go full time in programming thus, Co-Founding the International Film Festival Manhattan www.iffmnyc.webs.com. I serve as the Festival Director and Programmer. We did our inaugural festival last Nov 11-17, 2011 at the historic Quad Cinema in NYC and will be doing our next one this coming November 9-15, 2012 at the same venue.
Mission of International Film Festival Manhattan: “International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) is a group visionaries who believes in the possibilities of New York, the greatest city in the world. We have seen how film, as a powerful medium can make a direct impact on lives or facilitate change. We also have seen the unique diversity of New York’s culture and its people. The city’s appreciation for film and ability to make things happen.”
AMS: What is your vision of these projects?
Luis: Vision of International Film Festival Manhattan “Our vision is to create an opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their works in a movie house in New York and eventually on a tour within the US and around the world. We will support the filmmakers in finding their audiences and their voice.”
AMS: Who or what inspired you to be who you are? Have you always been involved in similar projects?
Luis: I have covered different film festivals including NY Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival for years as a red carpet interviewer and film reviewer. I was able to obeserve the need of the filmmaker to be in a film festival as part of his or her journey. I have seen the nitty gritty of how it is to run film festivals as well. I said to myself eventually I want to be a Festival Director/Programmer of my own fest.
The person who got me involved in attending film festivals is my Uncle Domingo Hornilla Jr, who worked as the Comptroller of the Film Society at the Lincoln Center NY. In the beginning he gave me passes to the NY Film Festival and he told me “you have access to these films and directors, why don’t you write reviews about them.” After writing reviews for years, there was a clear calling for me to create my own film festival.
My business partner in IFFM is award winning director Gerry Balasta. He brings in his experience as a filmmaker in attending more than 20 film festival around the world for his film “Mountain Thief.”
Regarding similar events I have produced, I also have been a co programmer for a short film fest in Brooklyn in 2011 with programmers: Frances Lozada (Cinema Nights) and Aaron Ingram (Act Now Foundation). I also co-produce the Queens Asian Fest.
AMS: What are some of the greatest achievement that you’ve had?
Luis: The greatest achievement I have is surviving in NYC. But of course, that’s through God’s help. He has made me find my purpose in life and that is to support the community through promoting artistic endeavors. God gave me opportunities to do important projects within the fields of entertainment and film – in all aspects including PR/Publicity/Producing/Programming.
AMS: Who are/were your motivators?
Luis: God has guided me in a lot of things I have done in life. He keeps me grounded and motivated. I am inspired by: Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life.” I am blessed to have a supportive family especially my parents Louie and Flor Pedron. They have advised me with everything I do.
AMS: If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful (in general) in life- what are they?
Luis: In filmmaking, I always remind everyone, filmmaking is 10% filmmaking and 90% marketing. It’s the same thing in all businesses. The 3 tips I have for everyone are:
1) Have the Attitude of Gratitude: Be thankful to everyone who has helped you. Say thank you immediately, both through email and through greeting cards. Thank God for all your blessings. Always say Thank you to your family, friends, business partners and customers. They also are the reason why you are successful.
2) Social Networking: Be sure you have a list: start building your Facebook friends and twitter following. Do not wait until you have a big project. Start now so when you are promoting your project, you will already have a captive audience.
3) No Man in an Island. Attend offline networking events, conferences, conventions, churches, clubs (ex Toastmaster, Lions, Rotary), organization parties, school reunions, film festivals, street fair, etc. Having a network online is not enough. You have to meet people live as well. Remember in finding collaborators, you need to check out their likeability factor. You only see this to meeting your prospects in person.
AMS: What are your next goals for yourself?
Luis: After IFFM NY in Nov 2012, we will be doing IFFM goes to Manila in early 2013. Gerry Balasta and I (with our other collaborators) will be finishing our film “The Solar Champion” http://www.facebook.com/#!/solarchampion. Our group (same as the IFFM) by the way had a successful Kickstarter campaign for our finishing funds werein we raised $15,000 online. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1071073173/the-solar-champion-search-for-pacquiao-and-the-sol. (Historically, in Kickstarter only 41% gets funded)
AMS: What is your definition of success?
Luis: Success does not equal only money. Success is when you have reached a point in your life wherein everything you do is what you were dreaming of when you were little. Success is when you can say you are happy with what you are doing. Success is when you can say you have a purpose in life.
My special quotable quote:
“Enjoy the Process.”
About the Author: Alpha Miguel-Sanford, is the founder and editor of Aspire.Motivate.Succeed. She is also the author of the book “The Best Inspirational Storie I Ever Read: Guide to a Purposeful Life”.You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow and like her on Facebook Page AMSDaily and be friends with her on Twitter @identitysolved.