Tempting Fate in Houston, Part 1 ~ On the Red Carpet

When I last wrote about Pedro’s Tempting Fate* premiere in Houston, we were en route to the theater.  No limousine treatment for Mr. Pedro González Arbona.  That was reserved for the cast arrival later.  I was Pedro’s chauffeur for the night, and he was stuck with me.  No chauffeur’s cap like he suggested, but I bet I was the best dressed chauffeur at the event.  (His real limousine ride will happen in due time.)

Pedro arrives at the theater for his American composing film debut.

Pedro arrives at the theater for his American composing film debut.

I had many roles for Pedro that weekend.  I was his image consultant, his photographer, his personal biographer, his publicist and his manager.  Best of all, I was his friend.  At any given moment it was hard to separate which role I was playing.  As his benefactor and producer of his first CD, I was grateful to be there for his American movie debut.  It was all in God’s timing, for sure.

At the Keyboard

We arrived at the venue for the sound check, before all of the festivities started, and in advance of the other cast and crew.  Our first introductions were to Doyin Fashakin, the event planner (Events By Doyin).  It was her smooth talking and quick maneuvering that got the keyboard at the event on such short notice.  (Muchas gracias, Doyin!)

Pedro turned on the keyboard and started to practice, but there was no sound coming out of the auxiliary sound system!  I prayed silently—no more problems in Houston.  He fiddled with the cable connections a bit and music soon wafted through the theater reception area. (Answered prayer, thank you, God!)

A musical temptation straight from Madrid, Spain.

A musical temptation straight from Madrid, Spain.

What a delight it was to watch him play some of the soundtrack songs I’d been listening to for the last several months.  At one point, he threw in a sentimental favorite, Seattle, from his first CD.  No one was the wiser except me.  I proceeded to take plenty of photos and some video of Pedro performing.

On the Red Carpet

I didn’t know what to expect at this event.  I’d seen Hollywood premieres and red carpet events publicized on TV in the past.  It always looked so glamorous.  It seemed to be reserved for the biggest stars, and the beautiful people in Hollywood.  But here we were.

This was Pedro’s opportunity to bask in the limelight and to be acknowledged for his fantastic movie soundtrack.  I wanted to make sure that I fit in with the crowd as well.  Like most Hollywood actresses, I spent hours shopping for just the right dress, jewelry, shoes and so on.  After all, it was my fairy tale moment too.

On the red carpet with Pedro at the premiere of "Tempting Fate".

On the red carpet with Pedro at the premiere of “Tempting Fate”.

At the first break in Pedro’s music, we were asked by some fans to have our picture taken with them.  Those were posted on Facebook within minutes; and that was the start of the social media frenzy that ensued for the movie.  I was too busy with my digital camera to post online that night.  However, I did get some photos back to Pedro’s family in Spain.  I was also proud to be handing out Pedro’s business cards and pointing people to his Facebook pageLike, like, like.

Then we strolled over to the red carpet area.  The red carpet was laid down on an area between a row of life-sized movie posters to the left and a row of photographers and videographers on the right.  As you exited the second floor elevators into the event reception area you would walk right onto the red carpet and right into the line of paparazzi.  There are photos all over Facebook at Tempting Fate and Simon’s Aperture.

Pedro's interview with Unsenika Usoro from Afro Centric Television Network.

Pedro’s interview with Usenika Usoro from Afro Centric Television Network.

Media Interviews

We plunged into the fun and had our photos taken together.  Sky Houston, from Majic 102.1 radio station in Houston was on the red carpet interviewing people.  She asked Pedro how he heard of the event.  When he said he was the soundtrack composer, she interviewed him on the spot.  I introduced myself as well, but let Pedro do all of the talking.  He later said he was nervous, but it didn’t show.

Pedro’s second interview was with Usenika Usoro from Afro Centric Television Network in Houston.  Again Pedro did all of the talking, as I graciously walked off camera after our initial introductions.  That gave me the opportunity to get photos of Pedro during his interview.

Cast Arrival at the Meet & Greet 

Pedro performed on and off during the ‘meet and greet’ portion of the event.  People mingled and munched on fine appetizers and drinks in advance of the movie screening.  The Houston sky turned dark and a deluge of rain, thunder and lightning swept across the region just as the limousine carrying the actors arrived at the theater.  We watched from the balcony above as they did some publicity photos in the main theater lobby.

Watching overhead as the cast and crew arrive.

Watching overhead as the cast and crew arrive.

As luck would have it, the storm caused the power to go out to some of the theaters, but it did not affect our reception area.  It was also at this opportune time that the elevator lost its power and some of the actors were stuck between floors.  “Satan really doesn’t want this movie to get out,” I thought to myself as I sent another prayer up above.

Pedro meets John J Vogel, who plays Detective Travis in the movie.

Pedro meets John J Vogel, who plays Detective Travis in the movie.

When the power was restored and cast members started to have their turn at the red carpet treatment, the atmosphere turned more energetic and full of anticipation for the movie screening.  The cast had spent two weeks together filming the movie ten months earlier and now they were reunited.  They had formed a bond over the project.  They were like family, and the celebration certainly had that sort of feel to it.

Pedro on the other hand had watched the movie many times as he synchronized his music to the scenes.  He intimately knew the lines and the characters, but he never met the actors.  He was like an invisible collaborator, working remotely from Madrid.  He was very excited to meet everyone.

Kevin Nwankwor, the producer/director of Tempting Fate, is interviewed by Sky Houston, Majic 102.1 radio station.

Kevin Nwankwor, the producer/director of Tempting Fate, is interviewed by Sky Houston, Majic 102.1 radio station.

We watched from the sidelines as the actors and producers were interviewed by the media.  We had some brief opportunities to meet some of the cast.  They all knew who Pedro was and heard rave reviews of his music.  Pedro also finally met Kevin Nwankwor, his producer, face to face after almost exclusively communicating via email over the last ten months.

We were all here for the same reason.  We were eager and excited to see the VIP screening of Tempting Fate.  Stay tuned for the next post on Pedro’s musical pursuits to hear about the Tempting Fate movie.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Wondering where you can see this movie for yourself?  Tempting Fate was produced by KevStel Group, an independent production company based in Atlanta.  They are seeking distributors for release in 2015.

UPDATE 07/05/2016: Tempting Fate premiered in Lagos, Nigeria, during an all-star red carpet event in July 2015.  It ended up being one of the top 10 Nollywood movies of 2015. (Nollywood is the Nigerian movie industry, based in Lagos.)  The movie is one of the top 25 movies of all time in the Nollywood film industry. The movie is available to rent or purchase on Amazon or other streaming movie site.  Pedro’s music and other beautiful music from the movie is also available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and other music sites.

Houston We Have a Problem

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two weeks since traveling to Pedro’s Tempting Fate* movie première and my (his) so called fairy tale moment that I last wrote about. I’m back to reality in Seattle—integrating what feels like another major milestone and its emotions into my life. Pedro is back in Madrid celebrating his milestone with family and friends while preparing for the annual family holiday period on Mallorca—a place I got to experience myself last summer at this time.

However for 3.5 days in Houston I had the honor of watching the dreams of Pedro González Arbona come true—American style. Since I know friends and family are waiting to hear about the experience, I’m sharing it here without further delay. Please humor me as this is not my typical post, and is longer than usual.

Tempting Fate Cast & Crew

The cast & crew of ‘Tempting Fate’, produced by KevStel Group, at the Houston premiere, July 4, 2014.

Let me start by saying that while the evening and the weekend was a big success and we had a fantastic time, there were also many challenges that we had to face—separately and together. But like most dreams, there is a fair amount of work and determination involved to achieve them.

Destination Houston, U.S.A.

Getting Pedro to Houston was no small feat. For months we had been anticipating the Tempting Fate VIP private screening. Since Pedro was coming from such a long distance of 5,000 miles, the producer tried to get his flight sponsored by an airline. When that didn’t pan out, I lent my support by contacting people I knew in the travel industry. Unfortunately, none of that materialized into a ticket for Pedro either. He eventually got the funds on his own.

When it came time to purchase my tickets, I deliberately chose a flight that would arrive shortly before Pedro’s. I wanted to be at the gate upon his arrival and take photos as he departed the plane—to play the role of his paparazzi, an ongoing joke between us. Besides how often do you get the chance to actually meet someone at the airport gate anymore (post 9-11)?

Hurricane Arthur trackingAs I boarded my flight in Seattle, I knew Pedro was on the ground in Philadelphia waiting for his connecting flight to Houston. His flight was going to be slightly delayed. No worries, I thought—that just gives me some time to catch up on my writing.

When I landed in Houston and turned on my cell phone, my heart sank at the news that awaited me. His flight was cancelled due to hurricane Arthur; the airlines had put him up in a hotel, and he would arrive at 2 PM the next day—a mere four hours before the movie premiere. I was disappointed and deflated.

Navigating Houston on my Own

As I finally headed toward the baggage carousel at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, I was reminded of my travels from Mallorca to Barajas (Madrid) Airport last summer. I was expecting to be met by a mutual friend in Spain to help me with my luggage and checking in for the American leg of my flights home. He was a no show, and I was alone, just like I was now.

Houston mapOn this trip, I had been looking forward to Pedro’s help navigating through Houston to our hotel 40 miles away in Sugar Land, Texas. As I left the baggage claim area and walked out into the night air, I was hit with more reminders of Spain. The late night heat in Houston was thick with humidity and made my clothes stick to my skin. Then, even with the aid of a GPS, I was frustrated and lost within minutes of leaving the airport in my rental car.

Grounded Planes, But Spirits High

That night my sleep was interrupted multiple times with ‘pings’ from international text messages by Pedro’s parents and eventually from Pedro as well. When I went to bed the night before, I was ignorant to the havoc that hurricane Arthur was making along the East Coast.

I didn’t realize that the entire Philadelphia airport was closed down!

Within minutes of communicating with Pedro that morning, my adrenaline kicked into overdrive and I got out of bed to start researching flight activity at Philadelphia International Airport.

“What if they cancel my flight again and I’m too late for the premiere?” he asked me. “Pray everything is solved.”

“Of course,” I said trying to reassure him and calm his nerves. I was already multi-tasking in my mind, praying while texting him, and looking online for flight updates.

Flights were back on schedule at Philadelphia International Airport.

Flights were back on schedule at Philadelphia International Airport.

“Thank you, Lord for your mercy and your ways. Help us to lean on you and see you in the midst of our challenges. Give us peace. Clear the skies, literally, part the weather, and bring Pedro to Houston safely.”

“Amen,” he texted back.

Surprise Me God!

As soon as Pedro ended the chat, I was on my knees praying. “Surprise me God” has been a recurring prayer request lately as I let go of my expectations and give God greater freedom to work His ways and His will in my life. In the midst of the challenges we were facing, God managed to surprise us over and over again.

prayerTap, tap, tap was the noise I heard on the door, interrupting my prayers. It was Pedro’s producer. Wouldn’t you know it that for our first meeting I was in the hotel hallway in my robe and pajamas! Ok, that was a funny surprise God! But work was to be done.

For months Pedro and I waited for confirmation on whether he’d be able to perform at the premiere. His producer explained that the event planner was still trying to secure a keyboard for the event. That was another God-sized surprise, but no expectations on my part. After all, it was the 4th of July! How were they going to rent a keyboard on a holiday?

“Surprise me God! And Lord, while you’re at it, just get Pedro here safely and on time for the premiere.”

Our Airport Reunion

Saying that Texas is BIG is an understatement—likewise for the Houston airport. As luck would have it, I got lost at the airport trying to pick Pedro up. Although he didn’t check any luggage, we were to meet at the baggage claim area for his flight. What I didn’t know is that Houston has a baggage claim area for each terminal.

No broken bones, just a bruised ego.

No broken bones, just a bruised ego.

Under normal circumstances it would’ve been comical, but not when time was so limited. I rushed through the airport tram system between terminals to find Pedro, falling and twisting my foot in the process. In pain, and almost in tears, all I could think and selfishly pray was “please let me be able to walk the red carpet with Pedro and wear my new high-heeled shoes tonight!”

Meeting Pedro at the airport was a surreal moment for me. It had been almost a year since we last saw each other—saying farewell at the Palma Airport on Mallorca. And now through a twist of fate and the Lord’s favor, here we both were in a distant location thousands of miles from home. I almost didn’t recognize him. But when I heard him call my name, I followed the sound of his voice to catch a glimpse of him smiling near the baggage carousel.

After the standard European cheek kiss, now my routine greeting with my American friends as well, we rushed through the airport, tram system and all, (I hobbled), labored over finding the car in the parking garage labyrinth, and collapsed in the car. But before we drove away, we pulled his suit out of his luggage so the creases could fall out. There was no hope for his shirt though—ironing that would be my first job back at the hotel.

Arriving Houston

The composer and his paparazzi, I mean manager, finally reunited on American soil.

No More Problems in Houston

As we settled into our familiar conversations about life and our travels, Pedro texted his producer that he arrived and we were on our way to the hotel. His reply was the icing on the cake of God’s surprises for the day.  The keyboard was en route to the theater.  We just had to be there early for a sound check and for Pedro to get acquainted with the keyboard.

It would be a tight schedule for us, but none of that mattered. We’d be there; we’d be on time; and Pedro would perform—one of his greatest desires for the event.

Pedro toiled on the Tempting Fate soundtrack for nine months. We both faced many challenges in getting to the Houston premiere. Over the last few months, the famous line uttered by Astronaut Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 (portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie), “Houston we have a problem,” seemed to be a recurring and somewhat comical theme; but no more.

As I rushed to dress for this Cinderella event, I marveled how we overcame each obstacle to get to this point in Pedro’s musical career. I was not going to let any more problems in Houston dampen his night. Even the pain and swelling in my foot was going to have to take a backseat to the joy in my heart. God was faithful and surprised us at each step along the way. We persevered!

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4, NIV)

Stay tuned for my next post about Pedro’s musical pursuits to hear about the Tempting Fate red carpet event, the movie screening, and Pedro’s performance.

*Wondering where you can see this movie for yourself?  Tempting Fate was produced by KevStel Group, an independent production company based in Atlanta.  They are seeking distributors for release in 2015.

Update 2/12/2015: The Tempting Fate soundtrack has been released and the movie premieres across Nigeria and Ghana in July 2015.

Lights, Camera, Action, Part 3 ~ Creating a Movie Soundtrack

Here I sit late night typing away on my laptop rushing to write a post of great significance with the current goings-on in my life.  I am listening to some beautiful music to help put me in the mood to write.  I know it will because in one month, this music will be larger than life on the big screen.  And that is what this post is about…

I’ve dreamed of that day for the last several years, ever since I took my Spanish son into a recording studio and produced his first CD.  July 4, 2014 is the day when the music of Pedro González Arbona, the musical protégé whose career I help manage, will fill the theater as it accompanies his first full-feature American film, Tempting Fate.   I feel blessed beyond words to join Pedro in Houston, Texas for the private VIP screening of the movie.

Tempting Fate VIP Screening FB Cover

The Early Stages

Pedro signed the contract with KevStel Group, an Atlanta-based production company, for Tempting Fate while I was staying with his family last summer in Spain.  Within days we were on holiday on Mallorca, an island off the southern coast of Spain, without access to a piano.

We both read the script while on holiday.  I sat poolside one day and read the page-turning script in one sitting.  Tears welled up at the corner of my eyes as I read through the last scene.  I could already see the music that Pedro would create for the poignant movie finale.  It was perfect for him and his music.

That script was all Pedro needed to start composing in his head and making notes in the margins on what kind of music to add to a scene.  And he was on his way to scoring the soundtrack.

Pedro at work in his studio.

Pedro at work in his studio.

The Music Comes to Life

Over the next several months, Pedro worked remotely composing and orchestrating the soundtrack from his studio while the filming was done in Hollywood.  After the film was done, he worked his magic to synchronize the music to the scenes—editing, revising, and composing on the fly to make the music work in tandem with the movie.

One of the most exciting parts of the process for Pedro was to be in the studio with the musicians who were hired to record the music—a pianist, violinist, percussionist, and guitarist.  An American soprano was hired to sing as well.

Throughout the filming and post-production stages, Pedro’s music started to trickle out onto the internet.  KevStel used his music for various promotional videos, as background music on their website (with the soprano), and finally, on the Tempting Fate movie trailer, released March 28, 2014.  I waited and watched in eager anticipation all along the way.

 

Post-Production Plans

When the conversations turned to the release of the movie a few months ago, we both had much anticipation for how or if we would be able to attend the pre-release screenings.  He was of course invited, but travel from Madrid would be costly.  After much back and forth planning and juggling, we both committed, and a few days ago finally secured our travel to Houston.

Tempting Fate Movie PosterAs the countdown calendar on the right sidebar of my site turns from months to days, we have turned our attention to rolling out a new website, registering a new domain name, and creating other promotional materials to coincide with the release of the film.  The Tempting Fate soundtrack CD will be available in the coming months—and you’ll be able to enjoy it like I have as I wrote this piece.

Finally, the main purpose of the screening is for media exposure and to line up distributors for the film.  You can help with that by creating a positive buzz about the movie and the music through your regular social media channels.  So please ‘like’ the Tempting Fate Facebook page (over 10,000 likes already) and share the movie trailer (almost 20,000 views so far) with your friends (or share this post).

Let the Fireworks Begin

Over the course of this movie project, my role was very minimal.  Pedro would occasionally send me a song and gave me updates on the film’s progress.  I learned a great deal from him about the process.  I basically served as an encourager and #1 American fan of his music—as I have from the start.  I think my biggest contribution was to pray for him, his music, and the success of the movie.

It is definitely an exciting time for Pedro and his music career.  I’m incredibly grateful that I get a front row seat (maybe literally) to watch all of this unfold.  I know there is no place else I’d rather be on July 4, 2014, than alongside Pedro as his music hits the big American screen.

IMG_8399

While everyone else in America is outside watching the fireworks, we’ll be inside this Houston theater experiencing our own private fireworks display across the screen.  I think this day will be an Independence Day celebration we will never forget!

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays and Missional Women/Faith Filled Friday.

Lights, Camera, Action, Part 2 ~ Always Together Film Premiere

It’s been a few months since I last wrote about the budding music career of my protégé, Pedro González Arbona.  That last post, Lights, Camera, Action,  Part 1 ~ Making Music in Spain, was about my music collaboration with Pedro while in Spain last summer.  Part 2 of this series highlights Pedro’s experience at his first short film premiere, for Always Together, last December.

Pedro's first short film collaboration with Chani.

Pedro’s first short film collaboration
with Chani Bas.

Pedro’s First Film Contacts

It was in February 2013 when I got the fortuitous email from Pedro announcing that a famous Spanish film producer was interested in hiring him to compose for a movie.  Although Pedro was not hired for that particular project, the producer was interested in his work.  That first interview aligned Pedro with other contacts in the Spanish film industry and launched his film composing career.

Pedro’s first short film, A Thirst for Love, premiered in Madrid while I was in Spain last summer.  Unfortunately we were on holiday in Southern Spain at the time and couldn’t attend.

Pedro's second short film collation with Chani Bas.

Pedro’s second short film collaboration
with Chani Bas.

Pre-Premiere Planning

So last December there was much anticipation and excitement for attending Pedro’s first movie premiere.  Of course, I could not attend as I was back home in the States.  That didn’t stop me from spreading the word though.

While I was living in Spain last summer, I met Pedro’s director and friend, Chani Bas.  I continued my contact with Chani after leaving Spain, and in lieu of my own attendance at the premiere, asked him for invitations for some of my personal Spanish contacts.  But there was one catch—it was to be a surprise for Pedro.

I invited friends that I met at the Protestant church I attended one day in Madrid.  I also invited a few Spanish bloggers I met online since my return to the States.  The bloggers couldn’t make it, but thankfully my Spanish friends could.

Pedro and his family at the Always Together premiere.

Pedro and his family at the Always Together premiere.

The Premiere

Although I wasn’t at the premiere, I had a virtual front row seat as I heard about it firsthand from Pedro, through Whatsapp (international messaging) on the day of the event, Skype calls afterward with Chani and Pedro, and emails from my other friends.  I so appreciate their including me in the event from 5,300 miles away.  This allows me to share it with my friends, family, and readers as well.

When I awoke on the morning of the premiere that Saturday in December, Pedro was just getting ready for the evening event at the Artistic Metropol Theater in Madrid.  (Madrid is nine hours ahead of PST.)  When Pedro and his family arrived, there was a long line of guests outside waiting to get in.  Inside the excitement was building with a standing room only crowd of several hundred people.

Chani Bas, director of Always Together, who is also a talented magician, performed a short magic act, with two other magicians to commence the event.  Chani made some initial comments about the film and then invited Pedro to speak about the soundtrack composing process.  The theater burst into applause for almost two minutes, in appreciation and validation of Pedro’s previous collaboration with Chani on Thirst for Love.  Pedro was naturally nervous, so much so that he forgot his speech at home.  Luckily he was able to quickly gather his thoughts while waiting to speak.

Minutes after this photo was taken, Pedro takes the stage to address the audience.

Minutes after this photo was taken, Pedro takes the stage to address the audience.

Pedro Addresses the Audience

“I would like to thank Chani Bas for giving me the opportunity to work in this area that I love. He asked me to make this speech about how I make the music for his short films.  We have a good relationship.  After the end of Thirst for Love, Chani asked me to create the soundtrack for Always Together.

I was inspired to write the music by reading the screenplay.  I read the screenplay, figuring out where the music should go and what kind of music was needed.  I tried new sounds because I like to create new music.  The soundtrack was completed in July, and the shooting was in August.  So Chani knew the themes as he shot the film.  He planned the scenes with the music in mind.  It was a great collaboration.”

Pedro with his director, Chani Bas.

Pedro with his director, Chani Bas.

The Short Film—Always Together

Chani returned to the stage and introduced the film.  Always Together tells the story of a family separated by divorce, where Andres, a selfish teenager, doesn´t care about his young brother, Felipe. When Felipe disappears, Andres has to face the pain and uncertainty of his brother’s fate.  After the film was over guests had an opportunity to meet and have photos taken with Chani, Pedro and the movie’s actors.

Please take a few minutes to watch the short film, Always Together, below.

Even though there are no English subtitles, the acting (and music) are so good that the language does not cause a barrier to understanding the message and meaning of the film.  The film is now circulating through international film festivals.  It has been nominated for Best Foreign Short Film in several countries.

Best Foreign Short Film nomination in Mexico.

Best Foreign Short Film nomination in Mexico.

With More to Come

In the months since the premiere of Always Together, Pedro has continued to expand his musical influence in the film industry.  He will join Chani on his next short film project, I Dedicate my Dream.  Pedro is hard at work on his first professional full-feature American film, Tempting Fate, the contract he signed last summer during my visit to Spain.  It is an amazing soundtrack.  The CD and movie will be released this summer.

There is much more in the works and some surprises in store as well, but I’ll keep you in suspense until my next post in this series on Pedro’s musical pursuits. In the meantime, check out the Tempting Fate site for more information.  Below is a video teaser for the  movie with some of Pedro’s music.  (See the right sidebar on my site for a countdown to the VIP private screening of the movie in Houston, TX on July 4th.)

If this is your first time hearing about the music of Pedro González Arbona, check out his website at pgarbona.com or “The Music” page on my site for more information about how his music was discovered.  You can support his music career by liking his Facebook page, Pedro Gonzalez Arbona, Composer.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Updated 5/26/2014:  The Tempting Fate movie trailer was released on 3/28/2014.  It already has nearly 18,000 views.  There is also a Tempting Fate Facebook page you can like for updates.  Below is the trailer with Pedro’s soundtrack music. 38 days until it hits the big screen!

 

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays.

Lights, Camera, Action, Part 1 ~ Making Music in Spain

Those three simple words, “lights, camera, action” are universally associated with filmmaking. Until last summer, my only role remotely associated with the theater was a bit part I was required to play in the annual musical back in junior high school.

For Pedro, the young Spanish man whose music career I help manage, those words have been part of his vocabulary and part of his dreams since he was very young.  Now, at 20 years of age, he is living his dreams.

Pedro González Arbona, professional musician and composer (Madrid, July 2013)

Pedro González Arbona, professional musician and composer (Madrid, July 2013)

Pedro’s First Short Film

When I headed to Madrid nearly six months ago, Pedro was up to his ears putting the finishing touches on the soundtrack for his first professional short film, Sed de Amor (Thirst for Love).  The premiere was held two weeks after my arrival.  Unfortunately, Pedro’s family and I were vacationing in southern Spain and couldn’t attend.  (The soundtrack is at the bottom of this post.)

Sandwiched in between sightseeing excursions and writing, my time in Madrid was spent collaborating with Pedro on his music and promotional projects to prepare for the premiere and beyond.  Together we launched his website (pgarbona.com), developed a site for his music sales, had publicity photo shoots, and worked on a Facebook marketing campaign to build interest in the film and his music.

Launching Pedro's new website.

Launching Pedro’s new website.

The Premiere

Since Pedro couldn’t attend the Thirst for Love premiere, the director, Chani Bas, asked him to create a video to introduce himself and explain his composing and music synchronization process for the film.  “Take 1.  Take 2.  Take 3,” I said as we made light of the multiple takes he had to do to get a flawless video.

Then since I couldn’t attend the premiere, Pedro gave me my own private showing of Thirst for Love.  Knowing the story, but not understanding the actors’ Spanish dialogue made it difficult to get the full movie viewer’s experience.  That didn’t stop the tears from flowing at the end of the movie though.  My tears were perfectly timed with the closing song “The Last Tear.”   Pedro’s parents joined us for the final minutes of the film, making my joy, and my tears complete.

Celebrating the Thirst for Love premiere while on vacation in Seville.

Celebrating the Thirst for Love premiere while on vacation in Seville.

More Music Collaboration

After our return from vacation, there was still much more music work to do.  Chani had enlisted Pedro to score the soundtrack for his next short film, Always Together.  Those songs filled the family home throughout my remaining days in Madrid as Pedro composed every free moment he got.  We also worked on reviewing and cataloguing Pedro’s ever growing list of compositions—about 120 at the time.

On one of our last days in Madrid, I met Chani, Pedro’s director, face to face at a local Starbucks.  It was a great opportunity to learn a bit more about the film industry, hear firsthand about the Thirst for Love premiere, and get to know each other.  Chani was already preparing for the next film project as well.  (Always Together premiered a few days ago.)

Chani Bas, Ardis A. Nelson and Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

Chani Bas, Ardis A. Nelson and Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

First American Film Project

The biggest music news of the summer though was the contract Pedro negotiated with the KevStel Group, an American production company, for his first full-feature film, Tempting Fate.  Days before we headed off to the island of Mallorca, international calls and email negotiations were flying through cyberspace.  We were rushed to complete it because once we arrived on Mallorca, internet access was extremely limited.

On Mallorca we settled into vacation mode for the remaining 2 ½ weeks of my trip surrounded by Pedro’s family and friends.  But one day while in siesta mode, I sat poolside and read the script of Tempting Fate.  I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read through lines that had a spiritual message of unconditional love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption.

I believe it was not a coincidence that this production company or this script landed in Pedro’s lap.  Like the prayer that moved mountains and connected Rosa and I, my prayers for Pedro’s music were again answered in heavenly ways.

Projected release date, July 2014

Projected release date, July 2014

Two Years in the Making

At this season of my life, I am often in awe of all the perfectly timed coincidences that have fallen into place between my Spanish family and me: the timing of the passing of Rosa’s and my mothers, how my trip to Spain came to fruition and its timing, and now, most assuredly, the recognition of Pedro’s musical talent beyond our friends and families.

It was two years ago this week that Pedro’s CD of original compositions, Introducing Pedro González Arbona, first went online at CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.  What started on a whim and a nudge from God launched Pedro into a professional music and film career, and stepped him into his dreams.  It’s hard to watch these music milestones from 5,300 miles across the globe, but I am very blessed to know that God has done more than I could ever have imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

~ To read about the exciting premiere of ‘Always Together’ recently held in Madrid, check out Part 2 of this series..  To experience his music for yourself, click any of the links below to hear an original composition from the ‘Thirst for Love’ soundtrack, ©2013 Pedro González Arbona, or check out Pedro’s video page of this site.

If this is your first time hearing about the music of Pedro González Arbona, check out his website at pgarbona.com, or “The Music” page on my site for more information about how his music was discovered.  You can support his music career by liking his Facebook page, Pedro Gonzalez Arbona, Composer.

Updated 2/12/2015: The Tempting Fate soundtrack with Pedro’s music released today and is available on Amazon and iTunes. The movie will be released across Nigeria on July 17, 2015.

The Road to Spain, Update 6 ~ The Music

The last time I physically saw Pedro González Arbona we were waving each other goodbye at the security checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport two years ago.  He arrived that summer as an aspiring composer.  He left America that day with 50 professionally recorded CDs of his original compositions, eager to share his music with friends and family in Spain.

Managing Pedro’s Music

Our relationship changed that summer, not intentionally, but it went from one of family connection (as a result of a short term exchange program, Education First) to a music partnership.  When I offered to take Pedro into the recording studio in July 2011, he started to affectionately and jokingly call me his manager.  As I caught his dream of composing movie scores, I came to take that responsibility more seriously, as did he.

Since that time, his music found a home with CD Baby, an independent music distributor, giving him an online presence on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other retail music sites, and giving him worldwide exposure.  As fantastic as this may sound, online access doesn’t automatically equate to fame and fortune—although I was naturally concerned it might.

Introducing Pedro at his debut American performance, June 2011

Introducing Pedro at his debut American performance, June 2011

Carrying on our relationship across 5,300 miles has not been easy.  But like the online translator has helped bridge the distance between his mother Rosa and me, Pedro’s music has helped to connect us as well.  When Pedro left in July 2011, he had a repertoire of 18 songs; 13 of them were recorded on his CD, Introducing Pedro González Arbona.

Since then he has become quite prolific with his music, growing from simple piano melodies to fully orchestrated pieces.  Last month, he reached a major milestone by composing his 100th piece, sending each song to me via email along the way.

And Then it Happened . . .

One day out of the blue several months ago, Pedro emailed me an incredibly beautiful composition that seemed to stretch his music to a new level.  I made a mental note on that day of this shift, prayed about it, released it to God, and even wrote in my journal how it felt like his music was truly ready for the big screen.  The very next day, I received an email from Pedro that he got noticed by a Spanish film production company who was interested in hiring him to compose for a full feature film.  This was incredible news!

Pedro informed the company that I was his manager and the international communications began with the producer.  Things progressed very rapidly after that.  Pedro was offered the chance to compose for a short film to test his talent—which he passed with flying colors.  He was then offered the job to compose for the full feature film next year.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of musical commitments for Pedro and a steep learning curve for me.  I have been blown away by his beautifully orchestrated compositions for the short film.  Throughout the production process, he has demonstrated his maturity and creative genius in working with the producer and the director.  It has all paid off well for him as the trailer for the short film, “Sed de Amor” (Thirst for Love), below, was released last week.  (By the way, the song I mentioned above was the basis for the song featured in this trailer.  It really was meant for the big screen and answered prayer!)

It’s a Small World

What is so interesting to me in all of this is how the connections for this film came to fruition.  It wasn’t because the film company stumbled upon Pedro’s music.  It was through a high school friend, Chani Bas, who is the director and screenwriter for the short film.  He heard of Pedro’s musical pursuits and shared Pedro’s music site with the producers.  Pedro’s music spoke for itself.

Putting Pedro’s music online was never rooted in financial motives.  It was all about sharing Pedro’s music and getting him exposure.  We just had to be patient for the right circumstances to materialize and God’s timing.

6 DaysReunion on Spanish Soil

When I arrive in Spain in one week, I will be reunited with Pedro—no longer an aspiring composer, but a professional one, with the score of his first professional film under his belt.  The timing couldn’t be better, as we will be able to partner for his music promotion, the release of the soundtrack on July 1, and the premiere of the movie.  I’m also anxious to watch him perform the dozens of songs he sent me over the past two years.

I couldn’t be happier for Pedro.  His dreams are becoming a reality.  I fertilized the seed that was planted in my home when we met three years ago (when he first played the piano for us).  The hard work has paid off.  Now it’s time to enjoy the fruit of our labor, and thank God for the abundant blessings He has bestowed on us.

Update 12/18/2013:  To read about my music related adventures in Spain, check out “Lights, Camera, Action, Part 1.”

A Year To Remember, Part 2

While God was transforming and healing me with my mother’s passing in 2011, He was also giving me a connection with a family in Spain.  Our families met the year before through a short term summer exchange program when their son, Pedro, stayed with us.  Pedro’s grandmother was also diagnosed with a terminal illness and only had a few months to live.  So Rosa, Pedro’s mother, and I ministered to each other through the painful process of preparing for our mother’s passing.

Neither Rosa nor I spoke each other’s native language, but we used an online translator to send emails to each other.  Occasionally, Pedro would fill in the gaps or translate on a Skype call.  Our letters back and forth were beautiful gestures from the heart and proof that with God there are no barriers that cannot be overcome.  Each time I gave to Rosa, I also received from her and vice versa.  It was very comforting and healing.

Rosa, Pedro's mother

Rosa, Pedro’s mother

Early on in this relationship with Rosa, Pedro also took steps to deepen the connection between our families.  In January 2011, Pedro sent us a link to a YouTube video of ‘Seattle’ a song he composed and dedicated to our family.  It was an amazing gift of kindness and gratitude.  Over the next few months, Pedro sent more original piano compositions.  We were astonished by this young man’s talent and oblivious to the fact that he had played several of his compositions in our home the previous summer. 
The more Pedro sent his songs to us, the more I toyed with the idea of recording his music.  And so for Pedro’s 18th birthday, when he was in Seattle, I took him into a recording studio to produce his first CD.  That day was very memorable.  I did a photo shoot of Pedro in the studio for his CD cover, artist photos, etc.  I video recorded several of his songs as he performed in the studio.  Those videos are on youtube.com.  Then we spent several hours with the music engineer editing the songs.  We left the studio with a fantastic master recording of 13 songs from his prepared playlist.  As soon as we got in the car, we popped the master into the CD player.  Pedro was in disbelief—smiling ear to ear—as he listened in sheer delight to his music kiss the speakers and fill the car.
In the days that followed we created all the CD content, labels, burned disks, etc. and mass produced 50 CDs for friends and family in Spain.  The first printing of the Spanish CD was titled, ‘Compositions of Pedro González Arbona’.  An English version of the CD soon followed with the title ‘Introducing Pedro González Arbona’.  After all, I’m betting this won’t be this young man’s only album.  Pedro’s music is mostly inspired by cinema and soundtrack composers like Hans Zimmer and John Williams.  He dreams of scoring a motion picture soundtrack someday.
Introducing Pedro González Arbona, Pedro's debut CD

Introducing Pedro González Arbona, Pedro’s debut CD

After Pedro returned to Spain, I pursued having his music set up for online sales and digital downloads.  Months earlier, Pedro had affectionately started calling me his ‘manager’, but now it is a role I take more seriously.  I used my love for writing to create Pedro’s website copy and worked with Pedro on edits and Spanish translations as well.  By Christmas 2011, Pedro’s music was available on itunes,Amazon, Zuneand various other music sites.  He now has a Facebook artist page and his music can be purchased through his Facebook store as well.  Physical copies of his CD are available on CDbaby.com.

So 2011 really was a year to remember for me.  Although it started with the passing of my mother, it ended with the expansion of my family and some radical ‘career’ changes that I never would’ve anticipated. 
After some of my first published devotionals, one of my friends told me I found my calling.  Those were precious words to me.  I hope and pray that is true, because now that I’ve been writing this past year, I can’t imagine not doing it.  I cannot not write.
In the case of Pedro’s music, I ‘manage’ his American music endeavors out of love for him and his music.  Pedro is like a son to me and his mother is like a sister (which probably makes me more like an aunt).  I am Pedro’s #1 American fan so it is only natural that I would do this for him.  Someday the proceeds will be enough to buy the long-awaited ticket to Spain to meet Rosa face to face.  That trip will be the trip of a lifetime for me as I plan to write about their amazing country and more of the story that has brought our families together. 
That will be a year to remember too.  Will it be 2012?  Only God knows.  I’m waiting for His answer.
4/26/2012 Update: God provided a way for me to get to Spain in 2013.  Here’s the related story. Expanding My Spanish Circle of Friendship 
1/23/2013 Update: Tickets purchased. I will finally meet Rosa face to face on June 24, 2013.
6/24/2013 Update: Read about meeting Rosa and my travels to Spain starting with España Update 1: The Longest Day.
  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

  • Returning to Spain

    Arrival on Spanish SoilApril 29th, 2018
    Vamos a España!
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 371 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Ardis A Nelson ~ Writer ~ Speaker

  • Most Popular Topics

  • Journeys to Mother Love

  • What I Write About

  • Songs Composed by Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

  • Copyright Notice

    © Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: