FilAm Creative’s Notable Firsts of 2017

2nd Edwin Picture for InterviewsSummary by Edwin A. Santos

Wednesday, December 27, 2018

twitter-logo-618 : @Edwin_A_Santos     |     imgres : Edwin A. Santos

An argument or debate can be made how and when did it all began?  No, I’m not talking about the birth of FilAm Creative.  I’m talking about its … rebirth.

One can argue the rebirth began at our 1st Television Writers Panel in December, 2016 where we met the event’s new volunteers recruited by our former Membership Co-Director Meriden Villanueva.

2017 Review FAC

Or, one can argue it was the newly-formed FilAm Creations Filmmakers’ Challenge headed by writer/director Craig Obligacion Wilson [LINK] (2016’s Filipino American Hall of Fame web series director) in January, 2017 that opened the floodgates for young and emerging Filipino and Filipino American talent in Southern California both in front and behind the camera.

In any case, both had brought in two demographics FilAm Creative had struggled to attract. Already representing, showcasing and spotlighting established Filipinos to all of Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole to take notice, our next goals were to represent, showcase and spotlight both female Filipino talent AND the growing Millennial Filipino talent – who have not either been taken seriously or have been completely ignored.  A majority of them are our members yet many had not been very active…until FilAm Creations.  Our other programs such as our music showcases, our speed networking events … even our panel discussion events provided both social gatherings and networking opportunities with those who are established.  And, as important as those programs are, FilAm Creations provided collaboration in film projects for our members and venues to showcase their works on the big screen to mainstream audiences who thirst to watch original contemporary stories of Filipino and Filipino American experiences to genres of fiction in either celluloid or digital form. FilAm Creations made a difference this year.

With FilAm Creations, we were seeking filmmakers to join us in creating a film festival circuit. We were programming a film program for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) in April, 2017 and in order to inspire our community, we put together a “72-hour film shoot” where we had teams shoot a short film on a weekend. And, the call for FilAms and Filipino projects to be produced. The first meetup was held at the Story Tavern in beautiful Downtown Burbank. [LINK]

In the February, 2017 at the FilAm Creations Meetup at Story Tavern, three special announcements from LAAPFF as well as from ABS-CBN and the Cinematografo Originals had contests and were made for only members of FilAm Creations can take advantage of! Plus, more filmmakers and new members showed up! [LINK]

As our FilAm Creations sub group increased, Story Tavern could not hold us so, one of our new members offered his home to our March Meetup and, 1st Potluck along with a surprise guest speaker, casting director Billy DaMota (our 2015 and inaugural FAC Actors Panel guest).  The invitation was so large that we spilled over to the backyard! [LINK]

Also in March, 2017 began FilAm Creative’s 2nd web series FilAm Creations: Behind-The-Scenes with hosts Maurus Dumalaog, Angel Qinan and Edwin Santos spotlighting the actors and filmmakers during the making of their films in 10 episodes culminating to the evening of the premiere at LAAPFF in May. [LINK]

At our April Meetup and Potluck, FilAm Creative found a home at the Pilipino Workers Center, our 1st home base for the rest of 2017 for our monthly meetups and potlucks, our monthly Board Meetings as well as some of our events.  It was a month before FilAm Creative’s premiere of the original twelve short films of the FilAm Creations Filmmakers Challenge Initiative at LAAPFF.  News related to the initiative were also announced. [LINK]

Three months later, the night arrived for the sold-out-in-one-hour event, FilAm Creations: A Filmmaker Movement premiere at ArtShare LA at LAAPFF. [LINK] and [LINK]

The euphoria may have subsided, but the drive has not as the original 12 short films (plus a 13th short film added) were screened two more times in 2017 at both (1st time at) the Regency Theaters’ Valley Plaza 6 Cinemas in North Hollywood in the end of May, 2017 [LINK] and the 2nd Annual Los Angeles Philippine International Film Festival (LAPIFF) at the Cinemark Theaters in the South Bay Pavilion Mall in late October, 2017. [LINK]

FilAm Creations 2: A Filmmaker Movement brought in a Second Wave of Filipino talent with 14 new original short films with a new challenge.  They premiered at LAPIFF’s Opening Night at the Cinemark Theaters in the South Bay Pavilion Mall [LINK] and an encore screening in North Hollywood where we also had our 1st Film Awards Presentation! [LINK]

And, remember our former Membership Co-Director Meriden Villanueva?  Well, she took up the reigns as President / Executive Director of FilAm Creative in 2017.  It was the 1st time the organization was being led and represented by a woman. [LINK]


Many members who challenged themselves more than once in the filmmakers initiative took on Leadership positions at FilAm Creative.  Most notable were filmmakers Angela Paviera (Finding Ronwe) [LINK], Kaitlyn Fae (Madeira) [LINK] and Mara De La Rosa (I Don’t Love You) [LINK]. They brought their drive and their passion from FilAm Creations to help run and operate FilAm Creative in 2017.  So, the 2017 Leadership continued producing and promoting FAC events in between film projects at FilAm Creations.  Double duty, triple really to the point we had three events in one month!

Arlyn Dela Pena rounds out the women in leadership roles for FilAm Creative. [LINK]

Aside from FilAm Creations, we hosted our 3rd FilAm Creative Actors Panel & Networking at the Clubhouse where for the 1st time, the panel consisted of all Filipino actors in television today (Vincent Rodriguez III of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Angela Relucio of Code Black, SIX, Manny Jacinto of The Good Place and Aina Dumlao of MacGyver, Ballers)! [LINK] Created and produced by Edwin Santos [LINK] with a new moderator in FAC:BTS cohost and Leadership member, Maurus Dumalaog. [LINK]

We also hosted our 1st Filipino Americans in Comics and Animation Panel with Whilce Portacio of X-Men, Bishop, Leo Partible and Van Partible of Johnny Bravo, and for the 1st time at the Long Beach Comic Con! Created, produced and moderated by our Tech Guy and Leadership member, Rodney Cajudo. [LINK]

And, lastly we hosted our 2nd Annual Television Writers Panel and for the 1st time, welcomed a female writer, Kelli Breslin (LifeTime staff writer) to the panel. [LINK]. Rounding out the panel were Adam Higgs of Orphan Black, Scorpion, Dennis Saldua of Atypical, Deception and Philip Buiser of Bates Motel, Preacher. Created and produced by Walter Talens and moderated by 2016 Television Writers Panel guest Michael Golamco of Grimm, Please Stand By.

We sponsored the 1st Filipino improv show, Asian AF’s Filipino AF created by FAC member Joy Regullano with Allyn Pintal and Erich Tamola at the Upright Citizens Brigade Sunset’s Inner Sanctum during Filipino American History Month in mid-October, 2017. Liason producer: Edwin Santos. [LINK]

And, for the 1st time, we had an exclusive session with NBCUniversal reps and their introduction of its Talent Infusion Programs (TIPS) thanks to the Manager of Entertainment Diversity Initiatives for NBC Entertainment Grace Borrero Moss (a former participant and guest panelist for FilAm Creative).  The group that showed up inside the Comcast Universal conference room were from FilAm Creations.  Plus other members outside the FilAm Creations Filmmakers Challenge.  We completely filled out the conference room. [LINK]

We continue to grow our membership with our Monthly meetups and potluck networking events now under the new name of the FAC Talent Network composed not just the original members of the FilAm Creations Filmmakers Challenge, but everyone of Filipino descent in entertainment and media or anyone who believes in our mission statement (below):

FilAm Creative is the premiere Filipino American creative organization that promotes a more culturally integrated and diverse entertainment industry.  By providing educational and community-oriented programming and resources, FAC aims to encourage and create leaders who share our vision.

FilAm Creative’s 4 Core Values in everything we do:

What shall 2018 bring us?  FilAm Creative owes a lot to the FilAm Creations Filmmakers Challenge.  With over 20 short films completed in its inaugural year, having them screened at TWO film festivals and many hitting other film festivals outside Los Angeles such as Pacific Arts Movement’s San Diego Asian Film Festival and FACINE’s 24th Annual Filipino International Cine Festival, what shall the new year bring?

Will FilAm Creations challenge members to submit a television pilot with hopes of getting it read by the powers-that-be in Hollywood, greenlight it for series production and view it weekly inside our living rooms while collecting various category awards and syndication?  Will FilAm Creations challenge members to produce a feature length film in hopes that it earns legit film festival recognition and see it acquired by a leading film distributor to be released in movie theaters, video-on-demand and digital streaming?

FilAm Creations also challenged our current programs as well as giving birth to new ones (such as our “Yes, and…” Improv Practice Group) and reviving previous ones (such as the Writers Group).

The sky’s the limit… But, it takes you to make that happen!

Only you – our members, our volunteers and anyone interested — can help determine what FilAm Creative can offer!  What ideas do you have?  What can you bring to the table?  We’re listening.  Let us know!  If interested, contact us at and let’s continue to uplift Filipino talent into the New Year!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s