2 filmmakers and their uplifting stories

Gerry Balasta

Two filmmakers are telling stories in different ways: Gerry Balasta through comedy and Lea Dizon via the futuristic narrative — both incorporating entertainment and a social message.

Gerry, whose first film, “The Mountain Thief,” has won honors in festivals in San Francisco and France, has a quick follow-through in “The Solar Champion,” a comedy about a light bulb invention that changes the life of a hopeful family that will not allow poverty to crush their spirit. The Solar family patriarch, a 70-year-old dreamer and a hopeless romantic, encourages his children to follow their dreams. One of their projects is the search for the next Manny Pacquiao. In the end, they find inspiration from their father and discover the persevering prizefighter within themselves.

“Although it is a comedy in a narrative format,” said the New York-based filmmaker, “it is a classic ‘social issue’ film.”

His two films share the same cast of performers, who are real-life scavengers living in the Payatas landfill community in Manila.

Lea Dizon

Lea Dizon of California is producing her first full-length film titled “Impulse Control.” The film, set to shoot in late 2012, focuses on a world where people lose the ability to control violent impulses. In it, a family struggles to make sure not to fight amongst themselves.

Lea is working on the project with University of Southern California alumni who founded Fifth Floor Balcony Pictures, an organization focused on promoting young film talent. Said Lea: “In school there is an excitement: an atmosphere of getting things done no matter what. It is easy to lose that once you are out of the school environment because it becomes so much more difficult. We hope to act as proof to our peers and the industry that the youthful spirit we all felt in film school can be powerful and profitable in Hollywood.”

The film centers on a man who has lost his job and home in the current economic crisis before being launched into a violent new world. “A lot of the rage and dissatisfaction we are seeing in protests during the Occupy movement inspired our characters,” said the co-writer of the film, Alex George Pickering.

Both Gerry and Lea enlisted the help of Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website to raise funds and also to get the word out about their films.

For more information visit “The Solar Champion” and “Impulse Control.”

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