‘Everyman’s Journey: Don’t Stop Believin” | Inquirer Entertainment
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‘Everyman’s Journey: Don’t Stop Believin”

By: - Columnist
/ 05:06 PM March 10, 2012

THE STORY of Journey’s Filipino frontman is also very much the story of the YouTube phenomenon.

LOS ANGELES – Our hectic day got even more exciting when the Tribeca Film Festival announced that Ramona Diaz’s documentary, “Everyman’s Journey: Don’t Stop Believin,’” had been chosen to premiere in its Spotlight section.

In the announcement, Tribeca described Ramona’s latest film, thus: “It sounds like a dream: A charismatic Filipino singer from the slums of Manila posts videos of his cover band on YouTube, and soon he’s fronting an iconic rock band. Sounds crazy, but it’s the real-life rock-’n’-roll fairy tale that Arnel Pineda is living as the new lead singer of Journey. The pressure’s on Pineda as this rockin’ docu follows Journey’s dizzying world tour. Can a man who has already overcome so many obstacles deal with the demands of his newfound fame?”


The docu is in good company. Other Spotlight entries include films by Morgan Spurlock, Sarah Polley, Julie Delpy, Chris Colfer, Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg.


It seems Ramona, Filipino-American filmmaker, can do no wrong. All her previous documentaries – “The Learning,” “Imelda” and “Spirits Rising” – have done well. She was also the executive producer of “Give Up Tomorrow,” Michael Collins’ docu on Paco Larrañaga, which won the audience award in Tribeca last year. This year, the New York fest runs from April 18 to 29.

Below are excerpts from our e-mail interview with Ramona, who is based in Maryland.

Making the Arnel Pineda docu was quite a journey in itself for you. What are your thoughts on the film being picked to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival?

It’s quite an honor to be selected for such a high-profile slot at the festival for the world premiere of “Everyman’s Journey.” Tribeca has been wonderful in its support of the film. They let us know pretty early that we were in. I think the first cut they saw was very long, but they saw the potential immediately.

It’s Tribeca, it’s New York, it’s Robert de Niro! You can’t get a larger market than that. Okay, maybe, just maybe Los Angeles. But we’ll be there too, hopefully.

What was Arnel Pineda and Journey’s reaction upon hearing of the docu’s Tribeca selection?


They’re all very excited. We showed the entire band and their management the film a couple of weeks ago in Nashville where they had all gathered for a benefit. It was nerve-wracking sitting in the theater with them, as you can imagine.

How will this docu resonate with the “everyman” in all of us?

I think this film will resonate with a lot of people because it shows the power of believing, of perseverance, of finding the strength inside to keep on moving against all odds. It shows the resilience of the human spirit.

What does Arnel’s ascendancy from a ’Gapo band member to the lead vocalist of a hugely popular international band mean to dreamers everywhere?

That anything is possible. The song “Don’t Stop Believin’” seems tailor-made for Arnel as corny as that sounds. Arnel’s story is also very much a story of the YouTube phenomenon. The world of possibilities really opens up with modern technology at our fingertips, so the chances for anyone to be discovered have exponentially risen. But of course, talent reigns supreme – and Arnel has that in spades. He would not be the lead singer of Journey without it, first and foremost. And his tenor voice was made to sing Journey songs.

What are some of the docu’s highlights?

You have to come see the film. But seriously, you’ll be able to witness a man rise from obscurity to rock-star status. And for Journey fans, they will see their favorite band still at the peak of its powers, performing at sold-out concerts night after night.

Which aspects of making the docu were the most challenging?

Everything about making docus, not just this one, is challenging because you are dealing with real people and real situations and as such, it’s so unpredictable. You just have to go with it. And this is a major rock band we’re talking about, so just keeping up with the members on tour was challenging.

What are your plans for the docu after its Tribeca debut?

It will be the closing night film at the San Francisco International Film Festival right after Tribeca. And then after that, we’ll see what happens.

When will the docu premiere in the Philippines?

Hopefully we will screen in theaters over there at the same time that we have the release here, which might be in the fall of 2012, sometime in October. There are no definite plans yet.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two films: One is the adaptation of Rafe Bartholomew’s “Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball” to a docu. And the other, “The Bill,” is about the controversial RH Bill in the Philippines. I’m hoping to start filming in June or July.

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E-mail the columnist at [email protected]. Follow him at https://twitter.com/nepalesruben.

TAGS: cinema, Documentary, Entertainment, Film, Movies, Ramona Diaz

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