(San Francisco, CA) — Independent Lens gets off to a hard-driving start with the premiere of award-winning filmmaker Ramona Diaz’s delightful Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, the real life rock and roll fairy tale of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the frontman for the iconic American rock band Journey. The film premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, September 30, 2013, 10 to 11:30pm ET as part of the first PBS Indies Showcase (check local listings).
For Arnel Pineda, who had been performing in small clubs in Manila, the past five years have been the stuff that dreams are made of. In 2007, a friend of Arnel’s began uploading videos of him covering classic rock songs to YouTube. Halfway around the world, Neal Schon, guitarist for Journey, stumbled upon them as he was combing the internet, looking for a singer with the vocal chops to lead the band on its next tour. Blown away by Pineda’s talent and uncanny vocal similarity to former Journey frontman Steve Perry, Schon flew Pineda from Manila to San Francisco to audition for the band.
But Pineda’s personal journey had just begun. With no formal music training, Arnel was anything but prepared for the grueling physical and emotional strains that come from fronting a beloved rock band on a high-stakes whirlwind world tour. Don’t Stop Believin’ follows Pineda as he faces the demands of newfound fame, overcomes hostility and skepticism from fans, and ultimately triumphs through his extraordinary vocal ability.
“This is a quintessentially modern rags-to-riches story, one that could only have happened in this self-referential age of social media,” filmmaker Ramona Diaz says. “And no matter how cliché it seems, it really is a story of never giving up.”
Visit the Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey companion website http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/dont-stop-believin/), which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film and more.
About the Filmmakers
Ramona Diaz (Director/Writer/Producer) is an award-wining Asian-American filmmaker best known for her compelling character-driven documentaries that combine a profound appreciation for cinematic aesthetics and potent storytelling. Ramona’s films have demonstrated her ability to gain intimate access to the people she films - be they rock stars, first ladies, dissidents, or teachers – resulting in keenly observed moments and nuanced narratives that are unforgettable. She has received funding from major agencies such as ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, MacArthur Foundation, Tribeca Institute, CAAM, and CPB. Aside from Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, her credits include Spirits Rising (Student Academy Award, Director's Guild of America Award), Imelda (Excellence in Cinematography Award, 2004 Sundance Film Festival, IDA Award, Independent Lens, Film Forum) and The Learning (POV, IDA nomination). Diaz is currently in production on The Bill (working title), a hybrid documentary film about reproductive justice funded by ITVS, Sundance, and Chicken & Egg.
Prior to pursuing a career as an independent filmmaker, Diaz was an associate producer for Cadillac Desert, a PBS documentary series about the quest for water in the American West. In 2005, Diaz broadened her repertoire to include television commercial directing and producing. Her production company, CineDiaz (www.cinediaz.com), currently has a slate of feature documentaries and feature films at various stages of production and development. Diaz is a graduate of Emerson College and holds an MA in Communication from Stanford University.
Capella Fahoome (Producer) founded Defining Entertainment in 1996 with the mission of creating meaningful programming that documents powerful stories of the human spirit. Defining Entertainment has done just that, with an impressive portfolio of multiple narrative and documentary feature films, television series, national television commercials, PSAs, and short films. Capella continues to produce projects that reward the audience for their investment with stories that inspire, excite, teach, compel, ignite emotion and showcase the experiences that connect us all together as human beings. www.DefiningEntertainment.com
Josh Green (Executive Producer) is a partner at New York based film company Game 7 Films. He has extensive experience across multiple areas of the film business including producing, representing, marketing, distributing, and exhibiting feature films. In total he has worked on more than 60 films. His recent production credits in addition to Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey include documentaries Kassim the Dream (IFC Films/ESPN Classic), about a child soldier turned champion boxer, and I Want My Name Back (Image/RLJ Entertainment), on rap pioneers and original Sugarhill Gang members Wonder Mike and Master Gee.
Director: Ramona S. Diaz
Producers: Ramona S. Diaz & Capella Fahoome Brogden
Executive Producers: Capella Fahoome Brogden, John Baruck & Josh Green
Cinematographers: Julia Dengle, Vicente Franco
Editor: Leah Marino
Writer: Ramona S. Diaz
Sound Editors: Elizabeth Fausak & Randy Matuszewski
Supervising Sound Editor: Christopher Koch
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Join Independent Lens on Facebook at www.facebook.com/independentlens.
About PBS Indies Showcase
As part of its commitment to provide viewers with year-round access to the creative work of independent filmmakers, the PBS Indies Showcase is scheduled during the weeks between the seasons of the award-winning series POV and Independent Lens and will feature films from both. While PBS features the work of independent filmmakers throughout the year, the Showcase is designed to spotlight their work and increase audience visibility for this important genre.