In pur­suit of film­mak­ing

Sun.Star Cebu - - LIVE! - BY JOANNA CUENCO

The abil­ity to con­jure up a com­pelling story re­quires cre­ativ­ity. See­ing it come to life on a screen and shar­ing it with oth­ers re­quires ded­i­ca­tion. This ded­i­ca­tion brought An­gelo Agojo, who has never en­ter­tained the thought of do­ing any­thing else, from Cebu to Los An­ge­les to pur­sue his film­mak­ing am­bi­tions.

“Since I was young, I al­ways wanted to be in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, in any ca­pac­ity,” said An­gelo of his life­long pas­sion, born out of a fas­ci­na­tion for TV shows and movies while grow­ing up. “You’re ba­si­cally work­ing on some­thing out of your mind, and then be­ing able to see it in­flu­ence oth­ers in a hope­fully pos­i­tive way.”

Since he fin­ished his dig­i­tal film­mak­ing course at Big­foot in 2008, An­gelo hasn’t stopped do­ing pro­duc­tion work. In Cebu, he did pro­mo­tional videos and TV com­mer­cials for Metro Ayala, Park­lane Ho­tel and Is­land Paints.

He part­nered with Peter Man­cao to sub­mit short films for the Sin­u­log Film Fes­ti­val, and the duo won Best Pic­ture for The Por­trait in 2009 and Best Screen­play for Biyahe in 2011. An­gelo got his first feel­ing of ac­com­plish­ment when a woman made it a point to ap­proach him af­ter a screen­ing for Biyahe in SM City Cebu and told him the movie re­ally cap­tured how it feels to leave loved ones. Here, “I felt I was on the right track, be­ing able to in­flu­ence and in­spire oth­ers,” said An­gelo. “Get­ting rec­og­nized for it was just an added bonus.”

The 28-year-old film­maker con­tin­ues to pur­sue his dream of di­rect­ing or pro­duc­ing TV shows and movies. Although be­ing a pro­ducer is per­haps more work than writ­ing or di­rect­ing, An­gelo en­joys it the most. “The pro­ducer is there from the be­gin­ning to the end [of a pro­ject], from cast­ing and bud­get­ing to co­or­di­na­tion be­hind the scenes,” An­gelo said. “If some­thing goes wrong, the pro­ducer has to have a quick so­lu­tion.”

Last month, An­gelo earned his Film Di­rect­ing cer­tifi­cate with dis­tinc­tion from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les (UCLA). In the year and a half that he has been in L.A., a short movie that he wrote, di­rected and pro­duced, An Open­ing to Clo­sure, re­ceived a spe­cial ci­ta­tion at the 2014 Los An­ge­les LiftOff in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­val. The 13-minute movie also got screened at the Asians on Film, Hol­lyshorts and Las Ve­gas LiftOff film fes­ti­vals, all within this year.

Si­t­u­at­ing him­self near Hol­ly­wood has given An­gelo op­por­tu­ni­ties like meet­ing the lead ac­tor Miles Teller and di­rec­tor Damien Chazelle of one of his fa­vorite movies, Whiplash, dur­ing the screen­ing. He also got the chance to meet other big names in show busi­ness, in­clud­ing Reese Wither­spoon, Cameron Diaz, Jason Se­gal, Tom Fel­ton and Gone Girl di­rec­tor David Fincher.

He’s cur­rently do­ing post-pro­duc­tion work on his UCLA the­sis film and first L.A. pro­ject, The Lis­ten­ing Room, and writ­ing a new film that he hopes to start shoot­ing in Au­gust, while ap­ply­ing to in­tern­ships.

“One thing I re­al­ized with film­mak­ing through the years: Never be dis­cour­aged by any­one who says your idea is ei­ther too sim­ple or too am­bi­tious. I say go with your gut feel,” An­gelo said of pur­su­ing film­mak­ing. “There’s not a lot of things in this world that’s more mag­i­cal than see­ing what was once just part of your imag­i­na­tion come to life on the screen.”

Film­maker An­gelo Agojo (right­most) be­hind the scenes of his short film, ‘The

Lis­ten­ing Room’

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