KISSIMMEE, Florida – Filipino-American Joshua Ortiz, an aspiring filmmaker, is keeping his fingers crossed that his short film “Listen” will be among those shortlisted for this year’s Project Greenlight.
Project Greenlight is a TV series produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon about first-time filmmakers who are given the chance to direct a feature film.
“This time around, we’re looking to identify an incredibly talented first time director,” said Damon.
“The winning candidate will lead a Hollywood-vetted script from pre-production, casting, through principal photography and unto post-production,” said Affleck.
According to the producers, the winner will be mentored and guided through the process of making the film by veteran producers.
Winning this contest is everything for Ortiz, who started dabbling in filmmaking when he was 18.
Ortiz said the short film “Listen” was inspired by his own failures in the past to make it to film competitions.
“I wrote it for my brother and sister,” said Ortiz. “I just wanted to remind them that when you’re going for your dream, you have to accept failure – a reminder for them and for me to don’t give up when you fail.”
With a shoe-string budget of $30 and a cast of friends as extras, he shot his film using a Canon T3i DSLR camera in only five days – and film fanatics are starting to take notice.
His short film has gone viral and has touched the lives of netizens around the world.
“It’s very encouraging for people going through times,” said Quentari Walker, one of the cast members.
“Sana ma inspire yung mga tao na huwag matakot mag dream,” said Ortiz. “Work hard, huwag ka matakot, and if you fail – try again.”
The 200 filmmakers who make it to the next level will be announced on Tuesday.The top 20 finalists will then compete for the top 10 spots. The winners would then be flown to LA and compete on HBO’s Project Greenlight.
“I’ve done other short films, and those rejections, parang my failures I learned from them, “ said Ortiz, “Now I’m kind of just keep on learning from my failures and even if Project Greenlight we don’t get in, just keep on learning and keep going.”
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