We had the good fortune of connecting with Jorge Ameer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jorge, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued a creative career in film because I’m an artists at heart and in my core, first and foremost – and as an artist I have a lot to say so film is my medium to disseminate my message. A creative career is the best way to contribute your talents to the world while sharing your message. My messages in my work/art/films have always been a consistent one. One of bringing people together through a universal message that hopefully can resonate past our cultures, backgrounds and hang ups – there is always more that connect us than separate us – universal themes such as hope, love, empathy, understanding, passion, heartbreak unite us in this short experience/journey called life and how by the time we blink, it’s over. These are traits we share as humans no matter what our social, economic, cultural background. We can all relate to these common denominators that unite us. I like to make movies that get people to think out of their box – out of their world to experience someone else’s plight. When the audience connects to the plight of the work you’ve created, that’s when you know you are doing something right. This connection translates in the success and longevity of your work. As an artist/filmmaker you want your work to connect with the viewer and if at all leave an impact that would trigger thought and hopefully that will create a lasting impression on your audience. As I evolve as an artist, my work gets better, deeper and more involved with the message(s) i want to share. All of my films have an underlying theme of love, understanding and tolerance. However, every film has its own themes as well. For example my latest film “The Family Tree” is about Nostalgia, “Oasis” is about the consequences of “what others will say”, “D’Agostino” is about “how we treat each other and cause and effects”, The Dark Side of Love” is about forgiveness and how sometime we need to give ourselves permission to forgive so we can move on -Sabor Tropical is about – be careful what you wish for and respecting the plight of others. The House of Adam is how our past misdeeds will come back to haunt us. “Contadora is for Lovers” is about how only we can break the chains that keep us repeating our same mistakes with new relationships and “The Singing Forest” is a unorthodox fairy tale of how love transcends time and space wether we are physically here or cease to exist. All of these films are now available on streaming sites, DVD & D’Agostino is available on BluRay as well as the soundtrack on LP.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is a reflection of how I see the world. What sets me apart is my voice. I like to think we all have something to say/offer to The world. For me, my art focuses on unique, high end, fresh storylines for the thinking and intellectual mind. My movies are not pop corn films. I like to make people think and come to their own conclusions while encouraging a hopeful world where we can love and understand each other. I hope to create understanding where social, economic injustices and inequalities are eradicated through unorthodox storytelling experiences that will hopefully enhance the human condition.
My path in the film industry has been hardly an easy one, but I try to stay positive and focused on my achievements because they fuel me to want to continue. Perseverance and longevity is the name of the game. Staying relevant and true to my art.
However, my biggest accomplishment was creating Latin America’s first high school film program at my high school in Panamá- The Pan American Institute (IPA). This is one of the oldest and most reputable educational institution in Panamá. With the General Director of the institution, we created a University Fil Program at the high school level so students will have the same experiences filmmakers are required to know for a successful career in film. Everything from raising funds to writing to production, post production to the creation of their own student film festivals, these students where offered the overall experience. At the end of the program, they graduated with a Diploma in Cinema and Communication. This program is my legacy and I’m very proud of it because knowledge is power and priceless. My hope is these graduates will be able to go to any film school in the world and be able to compete and develop their unique vision as artists while also being aware of the business demands of the industry. So this achievement is a big part of my story. The first class graduated in 2017 and if all goes well and on schedule, the first class should be graduating from their college education in 2021.
As far as my beginnings, my entry into film was a happy accident. I went to Texas Tech University and. a recruiter for the Walt Disney College Program was lost. I helped him by showing him to the office of career placement. The entire time we spoke about movies. I did not know who he was. As we got closer to the career placement office I noticed a long line of graduating seniors in suits waiting to be interviewed. He requested my information as I walked him to his office. The rest was history. I got invited to the program that summer. A program for graduating Seniors. I was a freshman. It all started there for me.
Nothing is easy in the entertainment business. You constantly have to re-invent yourself to remain relevant. So you never stop working. Perseverance is key and never let anyone defuse or distract you from your goals and dreams. Keep focus and tune out the noise is the secret to my success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
That’s an easy question because I constantly have friends visiting. I would first take them to a long dinner at my favorite restaurant Pink Pepper in Hollywood. The next day we would go to Disneyland. The following day Universal Studios. The next day we would to go the beach – Santa Monica – go skating, then play Volleyball then watch the sunset between Malibu and Zuma Beach – Then we would eat at my favorite burger joint – In and Out Burger – then we would go to my favorite movie palace TCL Chinese Theatre to see whatever is showing there. The next day, we’d go to El Capitan Theatre because it’s a MUST experience for everyone visiting then around sunset we’d go hiking at Runyon Canyon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout has and will always go to my mother Mrs. Sybil B. Ameer who passed away on January 28, 2017. She was always the constant presence that encourage me to find my voice as an artist and as a person – and to persevere. I find inspiration in her teachings and as a result my views of the world. There are several short form documentaries currently available online I created about her. Also, I’m working on a feature length documentary called “A Toast to Sybil” – a more I depth look on her life and her influence on my work as an artist. I come from a family that was not in any way connected to the entertainment industry so this is a story of beginings to where I am today. I’m part of a hybrid generation that has endured many changes over the decades. I grew up w black and white Television to color- to drive in and single screen movie theatres to Mega Plexes – using movie timeline from Betamax, VHS, DVD, to streaming and all of these facets that have influence my existence as a Generation Xer all within the realm of my entertainment career. It’s been an international journey for me from growing up in Panamá to having had two films compete for Oscars in 2018 and 2021. My film “Oasis” was amongst the 341 eligible films for Best Picture Oscar in 2018. Oasis also represented Panama at the 2018 Golden Globes. My latest film “The Family Tree” that was also amongst the 366 films eligible for Best Picture Oscar 2021 and was released during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This is a story of perseverance and how a cancelled premiere scheduled at the Marche Du Film at the Cannes Film Festival lead to “The Family Tree” winning 33 film award globally. So, this documentary in itself is a special shout out to her in a nutshell. It’s also a thank you note to her in retrospect.
Other: AMAZON – Jorge Ameer films https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Jorge+Ameer&ref=nb_sb_noss
Courtesy of Hollywood Independents/A.J. Productions