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.”

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    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.

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