Joshua Ortiz is a Filipino-American filmmaker. He was born in the San Francisco Bay Area but currently resides in Orlando, Florida. He first fell in love with film at 18 years old, and has been making films since 2012. His short motivational film, Listen, won in Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Greenie Awards from Project Greenlight in Hollywood, USA.
His film bested over 20,000 entries. It bagged the Most Unique Short Film award. The USD 30 film (approximately Php 1,290) , which he made originally for his siblings, was inspired by his past struggles and failures in filmmaking. His family and friends appeared on the film for free. He filmed in 5 days using a Canon T3i DSLR. He almost felt like giving up on the film when on the day before the deadline, his external hard drive and laptop crashed. He lost 60% of the footage. But, by hearing the powerful voice-over in the film, he said that he couldn't just give up. He saved what's left and shot the missing parts that same day. He spent the next 16 hours editing the film.
The film continues to inspire thousands of people around the world. He said that it feels good “to see people quoting words from the film and talking about how it inspired them or helped them get through a bad day.”
He made the film for his two siblings who struggle and sometimes fail in their chosen pursuits. His sister Monica is a golfer and a beauty pageant contestant and his brother Joel is a figure skater. He wants to remind them that “no matter what people say and what failures come their way, you can’t give up,” Ortiz said.
His siblings loved it. They decided to submit it to a contest. Out of thousands of entries across the nation, the film won the Most Unique Short Film in Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's Project Greenlight on HBO. The film also had the most views among all the contestants. It was also played at several high school assemblies to inspire the youth to achieve their dreams.
Project Greenlight is a television series where first-time filmmakers compete for a chance to direct a Hollywood feature film. Contestants are coached and trained on the ins and outs of filmmaking, from pre-production to post-production. Categories are Best Comedy, Best Drama, Best Horror, Best Action, and Most WTF.
Viewers vote by “liking” their favorite videos in the respective categories in Project Greenlight's YouTube channel. The videos with the highest number of likes win.
Listen also won the Best Cinematic Short Film award at the Orlando Urban Film and Music Festival in 2014.
Ortiz started a new company, Trip Cinema. He and his crew will capture a family's dream vacation on film. He will also produce a documentary at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. His subject would be Bob Beamon, the 1968 Olympic world record holder in the long jump competition.
On his free time, Ortiz documents the lives of homeless families. He shares the films online to show that a simple act of kindness can change someone's life.
- “Fil-Am’s short film wins award in US”.Philippine Canadian Inquirer.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).
- Tagala, Don.“How Fil-Am made award-winning short film with just $30”.ABSCBNnews.com.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).
- “Filipino Director Joshua Ortiz nabs major awards in Matt Damon-Ben Affleck produced show”.CHISMS.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).
- Yanoria, Luigene.“Aspiring US-based Pinoy filmmaker inspires thousands”.Yahoo! Philippines Celebrity.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).
- Tagala, Don.“Fil-Am Enters Inspirational Short Film into HBO’s “Project Greenlight”.Balitang America.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).
- Tagala, Don.“Fil-Am Filmmaker Advances in HBO’s Project Greenlight”.Balitang America.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).
- Guillermo, Emil.“This Film Made for His Family Won A Project Greenlight Prize”.NBC News.(Accessed on 20 April 2015).