Fil-Am filmmaker advances in HBO’s Project Greenlight

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

August 27, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Filipino-American filmmaker made the cut in Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s “Project Greenlight.”

Aspiring filmmaker Joshua Ortiz is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of making it big in Hollywood.

In an e-mail he received from Project Greenlight, the team said Ortiz’s video called “Listen” received high marks and is now one of the top 200 contestants.

“It’s all about finding the best first-time film directors, so they’re giving hope to the ones that are in the industry already. It’s the perfect time,” said Ortiz.

Last August 8, using only an entry level Canon T3i DSLR, 25-year-old Ortiz submitted his short film called “Listen” to Project Greenlight.

Project Greenlight is a TV series on HBO where amateur filmmakers will compete for a chance to direct a Hollywood feature film just like how Damon and Affleck came out of nowhere and became the
big stars they are now.

“We kinda came out of nowhere for people and so that was the question we always got: can I come out of nowhere too? So really, the reason for us to get together and do this is because we are still convinced that we’ll able to find somebody out there who deserves to be working out here,” Damon said.

Ortiz said, “It inspired me na you don’t have to be rich, famous or lucky, you just have to work hard and eventually you get there”.

The San Francisco born-and-raised Fil-Am first held a camcorder when he was 18 and has been making short films for three years now.

But none of them, he said, has received the attention “Listen” is getting – now with more than 37,000 hits on YouTube.

Ortiz spent only $30 to feed his cast of friends and siblings who volunteered for free to shoot the short film for 5 days.

In order to proceed to the next round of the competition, Ortiz and the contestants are now asked to send in their funny bio video.

Ortiz has until 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, September 3 to complete this challenge, send in his entry, then sit in front of his computer and wait for that next email.

You may contact Don Tagala at

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