In pursuit of filmmaking
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