About - Pedro, a real world story about Pedro Zamora

Nick Oceano, Director Oceano is a Los Angeles based director originally from San Antonio, Texas and a soon-to-be graduate of the MFA program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Nick has directed several shorts, most notably Dog Tags, a Best of Fest selection at the 2006 Palm Springs International ShortsFest and El Primo, a coming-of-age story set in Laredo, Texas. El Primo is currently making the festival circuit and has been embraced by festival programmers at Outfest, NewFest, Frameline, Los Angeles International ShortFest, Palm Springs Shortfest and the New York and Los Angeles International Latino Film Festivals. PEDRO is Nick’s feature directorial debut. His next project is the feature, The Cousin, a drama about two cousins making a road trip through Mexico to a relative’s wedding. Nick's Vision My vision for PEDRO was to celebrate the life of Pedro Zamora, to tell his story with the same level of passion and honesty in which he lived his life, and to carry his message of HIV prevention and tolerance to new generations. Close [–] I first became aware of Pedro Zamora from MTV's “The Real World” in 1994, the summer before I began college. And like the rest of the country, I was mesmerized by his story: that of a young, intelligent, HIV-positive, Cuban-American man who fought tirelessly to promote AIDS awareness and inspired tolerance toward the LGBT community. Like many, I had many prejudices about people with HIV and who were gay, long-standing beliefs shaped by society and the media. Pedro Zamora stood in stark contrast to those stereotypes. With his star charisma, good looks, and deep soulfulness, Pedro was instantly likeable, like a long-time family friend. For me, Pedro provided a human face for people living with HIV, and even today, fourteen years after his passing, his impact is still felt by many. For such a relatively short life, Pedro lived an epic one. The film spans from his birth in Cuba as the youngest of eight children, to his immigration to the U.S., to the loss of his mother to cancer, to his transformation into an AIDS activist, to finally when he entered the nation’s collective consciousness as a roommate on MTV’s “The Real World.” In taking the script from page to screen, my mission was not only to show how committed Pedro was to his cause, risking his health to appear on the show, but also to highlight how much he valued his family and friends. What becomes clear in the film is that Pedro was not only a man of action, but also one of great heart and soul, as shown by his deep relationships with his fellow roommates, his partner Sean, and his close-knit family. In November 2007, my mentors, filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland brought the project to my attention. Much of the same team that produced their award-winning film, QUINCEAÑERA was on board to make PEDRO. I immediately sensed that the project was something very special and I knew I had to be a part of it. Principal photography began on PEDRO on May 9, 2008, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, spanning eighteen days, with two additional days in San Francisco. As a first time director, I was very fortunate to have producers Anne Clements and Chris Panizzon pull together an exceptional production team and casting director Jason Wood assemble a stellar group of actors, led by the talented Alex Loynaz and Justina Machado. I also had the great fortune to work closely with Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland as my mentors on set, and who also served as producers on the film. I know that I speak for the filmmaking team when I say that we are very proud of PEDRO, and my hope is that the film will carry on Pedro’s legacy to many new generations. At a time when HIV infections are on the rise and homophobia is still prevalent in our society, Pedro’s message is as timely as ever. -- Nick Oceano Dustin Lance Black is a multi-talented writer, producer and director, having won the 2008 Academy Award® and Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for MILK, the Gus Van Sant-directed biopic of the late gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Close [–] Recently, Black began pre-production on his feature directorial debut WHAT’S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA, a drama with stars Liam Neeson and Jennifer Connelly currently attached. In addition, Black and Van Sant will re-team for ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, an adaptation of the celebrated Tom Wolfe novel set up at Fox Searchlight. An honors graduate of UCLA’s School of Film and Television, Black began his professional career as an art director on commercials, and quickly transitioned to directing documentaries, television series, commercials and music videos. Black’s first two documentaries ON THE BUS (2001) and MY LIFE WITH COUNT DRACULA (2003) both debuted to acclaim and subsequent festival success. ON THE BUS, originally commissioned as a half-hour internet program about a group of young men traveling to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, was re-edited into an independent feature by Black, and later developed a cult following amongst the festival’s diverse fan base. MY LIFE WITH COUNT DRACULA, an in-depth look at the final days of Dr. Donald A. Reed, creator of the Count Dracula Society-turned-Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2003. The success of these two projects, coupled with Black’s narrative short film SOMETHING CLOSE TO HEAVEN (which was named one of the ten best shorts of 2001 and earned Black a spot on AMC’s “Five Filmmakers to Watch” special), lead to a successful stint producing, directing and writing TLC’s hit program FAKING IT, based upon the famous BBC series about ordinary citizens spending time in a field far removed from their normal lives. The program received notices for its unflinching sociological commentaries. In 2004, Black signed on to draw on his devout Mormon childhood experiences in San Antonio, Texas as a writer on HBO’s Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated polygamist drama BIG LOVE. Black recently wrapped the third season of the series, in which he also served as co-producer. During his work on the series, Black often traveled to San Francisco, where he spent many years as a teenager, to research the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to a major public office. Milk’s message of hope lead Black to pen his screenplay for MILK, which stars Academy Award® winner Sean Penn, Academy Award® Nominee Josh Brolin, James Franco, and Emile Hirsch. The film was released by Focus Features in November 2008 to unanimous praise, later receiving 8 Oscar® Nominations including Best Picture of the Year. Prior to MILK, Black penned the story and screenplay for PEDRO, the first scripted project from Bunim-Murray Productions about the life and legacy of famed REAL WORLD cast member Pedro Zamora. The film premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and debuts on MTV this spring. Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Producers

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