Sunday, October 7, 2012

DC APA Film Fest 2012 - Day 3 Late Show - Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey; The Problem of Gravity


Movie: Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

This next film I saw at the festival was pretty amazing.  It’s a documentary from director Ramona S. Diaz about Arnel Pineda, the new Filipino lead singer for the band Journey.  I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock or something, but I had absolutely no idea that this had happened.  First of all, I hadn’t realized that Journey was still touring, but then I also didn’t know that they snagged themselves a new, youthful front man.  And, to make the story even more interesting, the band found Pineda on Youtube after he had posted several videos of himself singing with this cover band in Manila.  This is such a remarkable story.  Pineda started life as a street child, loitering around funerals for handouts of food, and literally singing for his supper.  This led to his eking out a living once he got a little older by singing for various cover bands in many of the seedy bars in Manila and Hong Kong.  Then to be rocketed to fame and stardom a few years later because Neal Schon happened to stumble across his Youtube video!  You couldn’t make up a crazier or more inspirational story.  And, this film really captures all the emotional highs and lows of that kind of roller coaster ride.
This whole new career was possible because Arnel Pineda has one of the truly most amazing voices I’ve ever heard.  I got a chill every time he’d belt out each new song in this film.  And, it’s amazing to hear that huge voice come out of such a petite man!  The band chose him because he was able to perfectly mimic the legacy sound of the singing from the band’s heyday in the 70s and 80s.  But, Pineda’s true talent comes from the fact that he can be so consistent, and continue delivering night after night on a long road tour.  That’s an insanely difficult physical feat, but Pineda is up to the task.  And, he’s so humble and professional about the whole thing!  Pineda’s charm really shines through in all the interviews he gives in the documentary.   This is the kind of true story that’ll just make you really happy.  I was grinning throughout the whole screening.  I can’t recommend this documentary highly enough.  You really have to see this movie for yourself.  You can check out the film’s schedule over at Diaz’s website.
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Movie: The Problem of Gravity

The feature film was preceded by a short film about another little boy with big dreams.  Director Trevor Zhou brings us this largely silent film about a little boy who is obsessed with Superman and dreams about being able to fly, himself.  This is an enterprising little guy, and he’s got a couple of ideas about how he’s going to put these big plans into action.  It’s a sweet, little story, and it perfectly punctuated the themes of hopes and dreams that were presented in the film that followed.  An excellent program.

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