In 1994, Bunim/Murray Productions made the groundbreaking decision to cast openly gay, HIV-positive Cuban-American Pedro Zamora as part of MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco. Zamora’s time in the Real World house on Lombard Street brought a face to the AIDS crisis, and U.S. President Bill Clinton credited Zamora with personalizing and humanizing those with the disease.
In BMP Films’ first scripted project, PEDRO celebrates the extraordinary life of Pedro Zamora, a young man who when he found out he was HIV positive at 17, made the courageous decision to dedicate the rest of his life to speaking out about his condition in an attempt to raise awareness about the disease in his community, even testifying before the United States Congress to argue for more explicit HIV/AIDS educational programs aimed at the youth of color before auditioning for The Real World in 1993. His appearance on The Real World brought his story and his message to MTV’s youthful audience and beyond, and when Zamora’s health began to deteriorate in late 1994 (after he left the show), it became front-page news nationwide, and his death at age 22 provoked a worldwide outpouring of grief.
PEDRO is a film by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (“Quinceanera”) and was directed by Nick Oceano and written by Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) with a story by Dustin Lance Black and Paris Barclay. PEDRO stars Alex Loynaz as Pedro, Justina Machado (“Six Feet Under”) as Pedro’s sister Miley, and Hale Appleman (“Teeth”) as Pedro’s roommate from The Real World, Judd.
About the Filmmakers
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.
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.
Dustin Lance Black, Writer
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.
Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, Producers
Glatzer and Westmoreland’s recent film Quinceanera made Sundance history in 2006 when it won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. It went on to win numerous other prizes, including the Humanitas screenwriting Award and the John Cassavettes Spirit Award. After earning a Ph.D. in English literature, Richard Glatzer left academia to establish himself as an American indie filmmaker. Glatzer’s first feature film Grief (1994) broke new ground…
Jonathan Murray, Executive Producer
Widely credited with inventing the modern reality television genre, Jonathan Murray continues to inspire, influence, and entertain television audiences worldwide. Since the 1992 launch of “The Real World” (MTV), Murray has created and executive produced more than 60 seasons and close to 2000 hours of the industry’s most innovative unscripted entertainment television, as well as its first unscripted feature film.
Gil Goldschein, Executive Producer
Having negotiated unprecedented development and production deals, Gil Goldschein serves as Chief Operating Officer of Bunim/Murray Productions. In his role, he oversees the daily management and growth of the company. Additionally, Goldschein spearheads corporate initiatives as the company has recently begun to segue into the documentary, scripted television, and film marketplaces, as well as focusing on international distribution of its television and film products, original content production for new media outlets including the web, and its music management division.
Scott Freeman, Executive Producer
Freeman serves as Executive Vice President, Current Programming & Development for Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP). Currently, he shepherds such projects as “The Bad Girls Club” for Oxygen, “Living Lohan” for E! Entertainment, “Ski Patrol” for truTV, “Supreme Court of Comedy” for Direct TV, and the “What’s in the Box?” game show pilot for TV Land. Freeman heads up BMP’s development team with a busy slate of original and acquired projects continuously being developed, pitched, and sold to broadcast and cable networks, new media outlets, and international buyers.
Paris Barclay, Executive Producer
Barclay received two Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for his work on NYPD Blue. He also took home the DGA Award for the same series (for Jimmy Smits’ final episode) and was Emmy® nominated for directing an episode of The West Wing. He also received an NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series as co-creator, writer, and director of the groundbreaking drama City of Angels, and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Direction…
Anne Clements, Producer
In 2006, Clements produced the feature film QUINCEAÑERA which went on to win numerous awards including the Sundance Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize, Humanitas Prize, and the John Cassavetes Award for Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film was released by Sony Pictures Classics. Last year Anne executive produced the award-winning feature SHELTER by Jonah Markowitz and produced the comedy feature PING PONG PLAYA…
Chris Panizzon, Producer
Panizzon has recently risen in the independent film business since transitioning just a few years ago from his position as an Investment Banker at JP Morgan. He produced PEDRO along with Ms. Anne Clements. Previously, Mr. Panizzon produced three other independent features: GANGSTA RAP (ThinkFilm, 2007), THE WEEKEND (Warner Brothers, 2007), and SHELTER (Regent Releasing, 2008). SHELTER was a #1 Selling Independently Distributed Drama on Amazon.com in the Spring of 2008. In addition, Mr. Panizzon is a partner in Siren Studios, the West Coast’s fastest-growing fashion and advertising photography studio.
Mark Putnam, Director of Photography
Throughout the past seventeen years, Mark has served as both director of photography and camera operator on over twenty-five narrative short films and eighteen independent feature films
The films that Mark has photographed have played in film festivals all over the world. Twice he had had his work represented at the Sundance Film Festival, with “Valerie Flake” in 1999, and “I Love You, Don’t Touch Me!”, an audience favorite in 1997, which had a theatrical release in 1998.
Jonathan Alberts, Editor
Alberts was born and raised in Canada and completed his undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montréal. He graduated from the American Film Institute in editing in 2001 and has since worked extensively in both narrative and documentary features. Some of his past projects include Wristcutters: A Love Story, which premiered at Sundance and was recently released by Autonomous Films/Lionsgate, Malachance, Happiness Runs, and Out of the Shadow, a documentary about schizophrenia that was nationally broadcast on PBS. He attended the 2007 Sundance Directing Lab.
Denise Hudson, Production Designer
Hudson attended UC Berkeley and spent the next few years traveling the world studying fashion and theater design. Hudson completed a Masters’s Degree in design at the Yale School of Drama and then began a film career on the west coast. As an art director, she worked on such films as AUSTIN POWERS, BLUE CRUSH, and HBO’s 61*. She began her work as a production designer with QUINCEAÑERA, the much acclaimed indie film, and winner of the Sundance Audience and Jury Award 2006. Since then she has production designed the independent features SHELTER, THE PERFECT GAME, PING PONG PLAYA, and RAIN. RAIN will also be making its world premiere at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Denise is currently designing the next installment of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G characters titled BRUNO.
Shawn Young, Music Supervisor
Young started his career writing entertainment and music pieces for several nationally published magazines. He then moved on to do Acquisitions, Marketing, and Publicity for the new media company QuickBand Networks. In 2000, he began his feature film work on CAST AWAY and went on to work on such projects as SPIDER-MAN, HULK, CAT IN THE HAT, SPANGLISH, BEWITCHED, WORLD TRADE CENTER, and LIONS FOR LAMBS. In 2005 Shaun music supervised the Sundance award-winning feature QUINCEAÑERA. Since then, he has music supervised and consulted several pilots and independent features including PING PONG PLAYA which will be theatrically released by IFC in September 2008.
Barbara Cohen, Composer
Cohen is a gifted composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. Her intricate body of work embraces a variety of musical genres from folk, roots rock, trip-hop, electronica, and world music. This former Virgin Records recording artist has credits that include co-founding the trip-hop band Brother Sun, Sister Moon, collaborating with England’s rave luminaries Orbital on their big beat-techno classic Middle of Nowhere as well as being a featured vocalist for France’s experimental duo Air.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida by Cuban and Spanish parents, Alex began his thespian career after taking an acting class in college as an elective. Having found his love for acting, Alex moved to New York to study at the New York Film Academy where he completed one semester before moving to Los Angeles. Once he arrived in LA, Alex began appearing in commercials and won a role in an episode of “Campus Ladies,” where he impressed the producers for his ability to improvise on the spot. Recently, Alex appeared in several episodes of ABC Family’s “Greek.” PEDRO marks Alex’s first leading film role.
Loynaz resides in Los Angeles.
Justina Machado (Lily)
Born and raised in Chicago as the eldest of five children in a family of Puerto Rican descent, Justina Machado started her thespian career upon graduating from high school. Her stellar performances on stage at the Latino Chicago Theater paved the way for her now burgeoning career.
After moving to New York shortly after high school she was almost immediately offered her first professional role in Los Angeles. Since moving to L.A., she has amassed a diverse resume encompassing feature films, television roles, and theater.
Currently, the talented actress is on the TV show “Kath and Kim” opposite Selma Blaire and Molly Shannon which is scheduled for the NBC fall lineup. She will soon be seen in “The Accidental Husband” opposite Uma Thurman in which she plays Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s fiancé. We will also be able to see her in renowned French director, Bernard Tavenier’s feature movie “In the Electric Mist with Confederate Soldiers” as Tommy Lee Jones’ law enforcement partner. In PEDRO, Machado plays Pedro Zamora’s sister Miley.
This past year has been busy as Machado also managed to star opposite Marc Feuerstein in Neil Labutte’s “Some Girls” at the Geffen Theater. Her other stage credits include “Blade to the Heat” at the renowned Mark Taper Forum, as well as a production of “Black Butterfly”. Most recently she appeared at the Golden gate theater in San Francisco in “Mambo Kings” opposite Esai Morales, where she was able to show her incredible dancing and singing abilities.
Justina Machado is best remembered by her fans as ‘Vanessa Diaz in HBO’s critically acclaimed, award-winning series, “Six Feet Under”. Machado has also appeared in numerous memorable television appearances such as Grey’s Anatomy, as well as features which include Soderbergh’s groundbreaking “Full Frontal” and “Torque” opposite Ice Cube. Her first feature credit was “She’s so Lovely” starring Sean Penn which was directed by Nick Cassavetes.