Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 2011 The Filipino-American Story: Patricio Ginelsa

Taking a break between takes on the upcoming music video
for Native Elements "Bigger They Come"
 Filmmaker, Director, Founder of Kid Heroes Productions Patricio Ginelsa aka PG is our July 2011's The Filipino-American Story.

This month's The Filipino-American Story is worth the wait!  PG is one of those very hard working people and just don't easily give up. The saying "when the going get's tough the tough gets going" is how I imagine PG except that he also gets better!  So go ahead enjoy, be inspired but don't forget to leave your comments and shout outs!

Were you born at Daly City or in the Philippines?
I was born in San Francisco and then moved to Daly City where I grew up my entire childhood until I left for college.

Where are your parents from the Philippines?
My mom is from Cebu.  My dad was born in Hawaii but his family are all from Cebu also.

Are your parents or any of your family here in America?
My mother and brother still live in Daly City while my sister lives in Vacaville.  My dad passed away in 2003.

Do you still speak Filipino or Tagalog?
I don't speak Filipino but I can understand my family dialect Visaya

Your interest in making movies, how did it all start?
I started making movies with my dad's Video 8 camcorder when I was 12 years old. My younger brother Dar and I would shoot these short films with the neighborhood kids afterschool.  It slowly grew to feature length movies every summer which we called Kid Heroes.  We would hold a world premiere at my living room.  The kids would pass the VHS tape to other kids throughout the year.  This would attract other neighbors who wanted to participate in the next movie. After 3 straight summers, we had completed a whole trilogy that could probably rival the new Star Wars prequels in story and plot *haha*.

Learning in school in Cinema Production, did you encounter any obstacles? What were some of them and how did you manage to overcome them?
Getting into the film production program at USC was a big enough obstacle.  Only a few students each semester were accepted.  I applied twice a year starting with my senior year in high school and got rejected 6 times before I finally got accepted late junior year in college.  So by the time I had started the program, I never took my experience for granted.  The rejections probably humbled me enough not to act like a film school snob who thought he was the next Spielberg.  The whole school program is built in a way to prepare you for the Hollywood experience.  Being one of the top student directors to pitch in front of the board for the final thesis films was an all-time high.  However, my presentation skills weren't great back then and I choked during my pitch.  Not being chosen was a hard experience to swallow but an experience I really needed to learn from.

Directing and taboo of the Black Eyed Peas on the set of "Bebot"

When did Kid Heroes Production start?
It started when I completed my neighborhood reunion movie LUMPIA in 2003.  I decided to name my production company after my past neighborhood movies.  It was only fitting since my passion for filmmaking is fueled by my childhood.  I made it into an official business and LLC starting in 2004 for the DVD release.

Tell us about it?
Kid Heroes Productions is basically a full service production company that my wife and I manage.  Depending on the client's and project's needs, we hire a lot of talented freelance artists from our network.  Most of our music videos we collaborate with Xylophone Films, our post-production partner.  A lot of our clients range from independent musicians to businesses in need of a commercial.  What makes us unique is that we add a community component to all our projects, whether it's recruiting aspiring filmmakers to help out or collaborating with a community partner.  We try to provide a platform in which other can experience a real set and learn from it.   You can see our full list of projects at:  Kid Heroes or my directors website .

I learned you wrote and directed 3 music videos for Black Eyed Peas, tell us about it?  What was it like working with them?In 2004 I wrote and directed THE APL SONG music video off the Black Eyed Peas ELEPHUNK album.  The success of that video led to them hiring me once again for BEBOT in 2006, in which I wrote/directed 2 different versions for that song.  Both were 2 different experiences as I had the unique opportunity to work with the band at different stages in their career.  When we did THE APL SONG, the Peas had just added Fergie, and it all added to a family vibe on set.  Between that and BEBOT, they exploded as world-wide superstars.  On the BEBOT set, each of them had a bigger entourage and a bigger team.  It was hard to get intimate on that huge of a set with an enormous cast/crew.  But overall, it all added to my growth as a filmmaker.

With Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas during "The Apl Song" shoot 

Was Black Eyed Peas how you met Leroid David (our June The FilAm Story)?
No, I met first met LeRoid David back in 2001.  I was one of the associate producers of the film THE DEBUT.  One of my duties included recruiting volunteers for the theatre screenings.  LeRoid was one of my first volunteers for the San Francisco portion of the tour.  I just admired his undying love for the community and we both shared a common love for comic books.  I found out he was a talented illustrator and so he came onboard as the artist for my movie LUMPIA.  That naturally led to me recruiting him once again to draw for my APL SONG music video.

Who was your favorite among the Black Eyed Peas crew?If I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be their manager Polo Molina.  He was the man who plucked me from obscurity and hired me to direct the APL SONG based on a treatment I had wrote for fun.  He went outside the traditional channels and gave me my first big gig.  When the label didn't initially hire me for BEBOT, he was the one who came back and made sure I directed it.  He's also the first guy to really yell at me but in the end, the guy looked out for me.  I don't forget stuff like that.

Geeking out with comic book artist Whilce Portacio on the "Your Power" PSA shoot

You also do commercial advertisements and have done short movies, what is your favorite thing to do and why?
I always prefer to tell a good story.  Doesn't matter if the platform is a music video, commercial, or a short film.  If I'm able to tell an engaging story within all the restrictions and politics, then I consider that the best thing I've ever done.  The APL SONG music video, BAMBU "Old Man Raps" music video, PEPSI video, and DIRECTV "Digital Family" short are probably some of my favorites.

In all the projects you have done, which was the most fun and which one was the most rewarding?
The APL SONG was the most fun to make but my short film BEING REEL was the most rewarding.  BEING REEL was a short film I had created for the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival 72 Hour competition.  So I wrote, shot, and edited that all in 3 days AND I won the competition.  I was going through a rough creative slump and year long depression after finishing BEBOT and I had lost all motivation at that time.  My girlfriend (now wife) convinces me to join this contest.  All I had was excuses but I labored through it despite all the obstacles (I caught a fever, suffered through a hot summer heat wave).  Though the prize was a free HD camera, the real reward was rediscovering my creative "mojo" and my passion for filmmaking.

 Directing a USC Credit Union commercial
with the famous USC Trojan Marching Band
Is it true that you also have a "daytime" job?
Yes, my current dayjob is being a technical coordinator at a learning center/studio at the USC Marshall School of Business.  I've worked there for 8 years now after my stint with the DEBUT tour ended.  Instead of returning to the Hollywood studio, I ended back here to give me more free mental time to focus on directing.  It's worked so far with the wealth of projects I've created the past decade.  It also helps when you're surrounded by all these ambitious students with positive energy.  They help keep me going and avoid apathy.

How do you balance everything?
Staying grounded with the best friends and family i could ever ask for.  I have a network of colleagues who are not only super talented, but are genuinely good people.  My long term ambitions as a filmmaker have never stopped me from accomplishing the other important goals in my life.  I think my marriage last year to my long time girlfriend keeps me balanced and focused.  I'll always be at peace with whatever happens in the future.

On the set of "Old Man Raps" with rapper Bambu
 Going back to our roots...what is your favorite filipino food?
Chicken Adobo and Chicken Inasal

Do you know how to cook any filipino dish?
No, unless Spam, Vienna Sausage, and Corned Beef counts...

Is there anything about being a Filipino of origin that you are really proud of?
Sense of community is most important.  Having traveled around the U.S. with THE DEBUT tour introduced me to each city's community leaders.  Doesn't matter what city I'm in, there's always this common theme of wanting to help and empower our community that really inspires me and makes me proud to be Filipino.  I see a lot of community heroes who do a lot of work that goes unnoticed and yet they keep fighting.  That fight is what embodies the Filipino.

What advice do you give if any to our Filam brothers and sisters out there to be successful in their endeavor?
Simple.  Never give up.  Be the best you can be in your field and people will notice.

Finally, where can I get the movie LUMPIA? I am really curious and want to watch and own one!

All Rights Reserved,

Follow PG:
Twitter : @kidheroes
Facebook: Kidheroes
or visit the director's website at


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