Not only is Andrew Acedo the Outreach Director of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) and a Script Reader for the International Screenwriters’ Association (ISA), he is a beautiful, kind, and vulnerable soul who craves human connection. He is a passionate filmmaker and he can’t think of a better way to live life than to spend it screenwriting his heart away. He is also fully committed to making everyone around him laugh and to helping create a better, more equitable world for all.
So how did you get into this whole business?
I think it has always been in my blood to work in the film industry because my parents actually met working in the entertainment industry in the Philippines. As a result, I consider myself, as a 1st Generation Filipino, lucky to have parents who support my artistic ambitions. But it was not until two moments that I was truly catapulted into this world: 1) I realized that at a certain age, I wasn’t going to grow in height anymore and the NBA was just a bit too far-fetched of a dream for me, and 2) I saw a little film called Up in the Air in theatres, which caused me to think, as I walked out of the theatre, “wow, I really want to make people feel the way I feel right now through an equally beautiful combination of words, visuals, music and performances.”
You work with New Filmmakers LA; what got you started there and what do you do with the organization?
When I was a student at UCLA, I was a student activist. I tried my best to stand up for Pilipinx rights in both education and the community. I even got to a point where I taught a class on Pilipinx community conditions my senior year. And with my now long-lasting romantic relationship with film, my wokeness combined to help me recognize film as a powerful source of influence that people of color or people in oppressed groups can definitely use for their justified agency.
When I was desperately job hunting shortly following my graduation, I stumbled upon NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) and read about what they were all about. I saw NFMLA as a great way to bridge my two passions and give me a real sense of purpose right after college.
You can find more information at www.NFMLA.org
As the Outreach Director for NFMLA, I am in charge of promoting the organization to pertinent film organizations, companies, universities, film festivals, etc., coordinating all of our monthly film festivals and annual events, corresponding with all of the filmmakers from initial consideration to day of the event, speaking with potential Community Partners every month that are willing to promote our events, selling tickets, managing memberships, outreaching for film submissions from all around the world and tracking them, hiring/supervising office interns, overseeing volunteers during events…and more! It’s a lot! Welcome to the non-profit world.
You’re also a filmmaker on the side – How do you balance both?
As someone truly passionate about being a creative, I don’t find it that difficult to balance simply because when I am not working, all I want to do (most of the time) is be creative. So when I am not doing anything work-related, I see each time interval as nothing but an opportunity for me to be creative. If I wasn’t at least somewhat involved in a project and was solely doing work-related things in my life, I think insanity would ensue.
What’s your next project about and what inspired it?
Truth (?) is an experimental dramedy short film about a screenwriter whose writer’s block is so tragic, it affects his relationship, causes an addiction and disrupts his overall life functionalities.
I am the writer and producer.
More info for the film can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7278520/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
There’s been a lot of talk about diversity lately. Being a member of Samahang Pilipino in college, how do you feel Filipinos are represented in mainstream media and film?
As a Filipino-American who was a member of Samahang Pilipino and a board member of the Pilipino Transfer Student Partnership as well as someone who wants to make a career out of filmmaking, it’s no secret to me that Filipinos are underrepresented in mainstream media and film. Very rarely do I find Filipino/a talents in front and behind the camera, but even rarer are narratives centered around the Filipino/a experience in America or otherwise.
If I am ever lucky enough to achieve a mainstream level of success, I will make sure to use my voice to speak out against the injustices that occur far too often in an industry where discrimination simply doesn’t make sense. There’s just too much talent out there that isn’t being discovered for the wrong reasons.
What’s your worst finding a location horror story?
For a short film I made in late 2014 entitled Unrequited Love, we needed to shoot scenes in an elaborate garden. We had a pretty famous place in mind but, as we probably should’ve expected, they stopped us when they caught us shooting and setting up tripods without having their permission. Secondly, on our 2nd attempt to film there (we crafted a very strategic way to guerilla filmmake), our main lead forgot the clothes we wanted him to wear! Wow! Safe to say, I was pissed.
So finally, in our 3rd weekend and 3rd and final attempt at shooting at this garden, we made sure to ONLY shoot whenever there weren’t any staff keeping a lookout. As independent filmmakers, you have to fight for what you want. The world isn’t going to give you anything.
Besides that, every time I shoot a short, I always find myself wanting AT LEAST 8 hours added onto the time we have allotted at a particular location. Oh well!