Four Filipino teachers are recruited to teach in some of Baltimore’s toughest schools.
In a real-life fairy tale, a singer is plucked from YouTube to front an iconic band, and must deal with the pressures of replacing a legend.
Ramona Diaz is an Asian American filmmaker best known for her compelling character-driven documentaries that have demonstrated her ability to gain intimate access to the people she films, resulting in keenly observed moments and nuanced narratives. Ramona’s credits include Spirits Rising (Student… Academy Award, Ida Lupino DGA Award, Golden Gate Award from the SFIFF, IDA Certificate of Merit); Imelda (Excellence in Cinematography Award, 2004 Sundance, IDA ABCNews Videosource Award, Independent Lens in 2005); The Learning (IDA Humanitas Award nomination, POV in 2011); Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (2012 Tribeca Film Fest, closing night of the San Francisco International FF, opening night of 2012 Silverdocs (now AFIDocs); aired on Independent Lens in 2014). Ramona has received funding from ITVS, CAAM, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Sundance, Tribeca, Catapult Film Fund, and Chicken & Egg. Ramona was awarded a Fellowship by the Bogliasco Foundation in the autumn of 2015 where she was in residence at the Bogliasco Study Center in Italy, and she received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for film and video. She is a graduate of Emerson College and holds an MA in Communication from Stanford University.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the frontman for the iconic American rock band Journey. In this Cinderella story for the ages, Arnel, having overcome a lifetime’s worth of hardships, must now navigate the immense pressures of replacing a legendary singer and leading a world-renowned band on their most extensive world tour in years.
Journey has created some of the best-known songs in rock music since the ‘70s, and continues to tour and record into the 21st century. With the band in need of a new singer, Journey guitarist Neil Schon scoured the internet to find worthy candidates. When he ran across video of a vocalist in the Philippines performing with a band called Zoo, Schon was impressed by the man’s tone, power, and ability to sing a wide variety of material — including several Journey classics. What happened next is the stuff dreams are made of, as Pineda not only becomes a celebrity to rock enthusiasts but an inspiration to proud Filipino Americans and fans in his home country.