March 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #1753
Oops…sorry guys..didn’t mean to cause any controversy…I guess I was just focusing on the “positive” in the review and wanted to share that….btw, I pre-ordered my DVD last night….cannot wait until AugustMarch 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm #1754
Thanks for the vids, Cel!!! The F words do not bother me and I think it’s a pretty good discussion – no sugar coating!!March 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm #1755
Oops…sorry guys..didn’t mean to cause any controversy…I guess I was just focusing on the “positive” in the review and wanted to share that….btw, I pre-ordered my DVD last night….cannot wait until August
What controversy are you talking about, Lala!?March 31, 2013 at 11:43 pm #1790
“What is wrong with this guy?” was the start of the conversation…..no biggie, just wanted to share his positive note.April 1, 2013 at 9:16 am #1792
Interview: Ramona Diaz on ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,’ Why It’s Not a Rock Doc and Why There’s No Interview With Steve Perry
March 7,2013 in Interviews
Director Ramona S. Diaz. Photo courtesy of Roy Cox
Following the Oscar win for Searching for Sugar Man, it’s interesting to see another “Cinderella story” music doc hit theaters so quickly. Of course, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey initially debuted around the same time, having premiered last April at the Tribeca Film Festival and chugged through the circuit alongside the more well-known doc. Anyway, in many ways I like this film better. It follows Filipino singer Arnel Pineda during his first tour as the new frontman for the hugely popular rock band Journey, a rags to riches fairy tale that continued to make me smile the whole way through.
I talked to the film’s director, Ramona Diaz, this week in order to discuss her approach to the story. Having previously directed Imelda, about the former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, and produced the Filipino justice system doc Give Up Tomorrow, it was clear she was especially interested in a particular angle and focus with this film, which she claims is a character study rather than a true rock doc. Our conversation is below.
Documentary Channel Blog: This film is definitely concerned more with Arnel Pineda joining Journey than with Journey finding a new singer. Was that your approach?
Romana Diaz: What attracted me to the story so much was Arnel. And of course the backdrop is Journey. If Arnel had been recruited to be a lounge singer in Vegas, there’s still a film there but not this film. I don’t think I would have been attracted to that story. This is big business rock ‘n’ roll, and there’s this unknown guy in the middle of the story. It’s so interesting. It’s an intersection of everything, culture, race, Internet, social media…
And how did the idea for the film come about?
I first found out about the story through an email forwarded to me that was actually written by the immigration officer at the American Embassy in the Philippines. He asked Arnel to sing for his visa, because he couldn’t believe his reasoning to go to the U.S., to audition for the band Journey. The immigration officer happened to be a very big Journey fan. The email itself was very funny. At the bottom of that was a YouTube link to Arnel singing “Faithfully.”
I never really read forwarded emails and don’t click on links on forwarded emails. I don’t why I did it that day. I read through, I laughed, I clicked on the link, and I thought, oh my god, someone has to follow this story. It’s incredible. One thing led to another and it ended up being me and my producers making the film. We approached the band, which of course has its own challenges.
When did you enter into the story and begin shooting?
We started filming when he was on his first American tour with Journey, which was in the summer of ’08. The Revelation Tour. We caught him there. He’d already recorded his first album with the band, Revelation. We were in pretty early in the process, on the ground filming.
You said it was a challenge approaching the band. How do you mean?
First of all, convincing them that they did have a story. They said they felt like maybe not this year, maybe next year. Well, next year there’s still going to be a film to be made, but it’s not going to be the same film. The more compelling story is this first year with the band. What they did was allow me to film with them for one day as they rehearsed in Northern California. I went out there and filmed, cut a ten minute trailer of footage, sent it to management and they came back within 24 hours and said, “Sure, we’re going on the road in two weeks. Come on board.”
We didn’t even have funding. We took a leap of faith, crewed up, me and my producer, Capella Fahoome, and we went on the road with them. They gave us access in their heads, but I’m not sure they knew what that really meant. Being in their space all summer. They’d never had that experience before. We have to be backstage all the time. We have to film this process tomorrow, again, we’ll be back. They were used to networks coming in for two days, doing a feature piece on them and leaving, never sticking around long enough for them to not mind. Or forget we were there. It was a challenging process.
Do you think there was also a concern that the story would not wind up so positive or successful?
Absolutely. Arnel could have failed. His voice could have gone. He could have gotten cold feet and not been able to run the marathon that summer and stay the distance. But the fact that he did, that was great, but there was that worry. What if he’s a failure? That would have been a different film, still an interesting film, but a very different film. I think they thought of that constantly.
You include a number of asides in the film, like the bits about Arnel’s acceptance, and the Filipino fandom on the other end. Were these early ideas to include or did they pop up as significant aspects of his story while shooting?
I always thought I would film stuff with his personal history. That would necessarily take us back to the Philippines. He’s from that country, is very much a Filipino. The Filipino audience happened organically. We realized that more and more Filipinos are coming out to see Arnel perform. That came out of the story. And I decided to pursue it because it’s such an interesting part.
Even the band themselves were surprised. This was a whole other audience they never thought they’d attract, but here they were. Their audience grew as the summer went on. By the time they finished the tour in California — and especially in California; a lot of Filipinos live in California — it was a big percentage of them coming. Some would come and follow the band. They wouldn’t just see them once. They became real hardcore Arnel fans.
In the film, Arnel mentions the fairy tale/Cinderella aspect of his story, which brings up an obvious link to Searching for Sugar Man, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and a number of other recent rock docs. Why do you think these sorts of stories are coming around so much now?
The Cinderella story has been around forever, but this is with a modern twist. If you add in YouTube and social media, it’s very interesting, because it makes it more contemporary. It’s also a snap shot of this age, of what’s happening right now. It’s such a phenomenon. This story would not have happened at all, say, 10 years ago. YouTube came in ’05? If the band had been looking for a singer in ’04 they would never have found Arnel. And we wouldn’t have the film. It owes a lot to the Internet.
But also in Arnel’s case, the Internet gave him a lot, but also the Internet gives him a lot of vitriol, because there’s a lot of racist talk on the blogs. “He’s not even white, so why would Journey hire him? Can’t they find a singer in the U.S.?” The Internet giveth and also taketh away. I think it’s interesting how he handles it all. He just keeps his mind on the performance and doing very well. My interest was really Arnel and how he would handle the fame and how he would, as a Filipino, be able to carve his niche. I would resist calling it a rock doc, because that was never my interest to begin with.
There goes my question about whether there were any rock docs you looked at before or during the making of the film…
My interest was really how interesting he was as a character. Of course, in the process of watching you go back to all the rock docs. Especially in editing. How do you handle music? You can’t deny music, because it’s Journey. And the whole story hangs on how good his sound is and his voice. You have to show it in the film. Then you gotta go back to how music was handled in all the other rock docs. How did they do that? How did they have the balance of not being fully a concert film but a story? You go back to the reliables.
You thank Steve Perry in the credits. Did he have any help or input, or did you attempt or want to interview him for the film?
We thanked Steve Perry because he did grant us the rights to the music, which is a very big deal. The Journey catalog is one of the hardest catalogs in pop music to clear. Especially “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Faithfully.” Very difficult. And he still owns a third of all the biggest hits, and we use all the biggest hits in the film. The fact that he signed off on a film that’s about his replacement is pretty incredible. So that’s why we thanked him.
I always, in the process of making the film, thought that in the end I would attempt to interview him. But it became very apparent towards the end of filming that it couldn’t be… The presence of Steve Perry wouldn’t have really fit the film. That’s such a storied past, Steve Perry in Journey. That deserves its own film. I think this film is about Arnel and sticks to that story. I decided I wasn’t even going to attempt to interview him. I don’t think I would have used it, and then that would have been a whole other political thing if we had ended up not using it. The trouble we’d get into! That’s another film that someone else should do.
FANDANGO EXCLUSIVE Movie Clip| Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey: PRESSURE as the new frontman
Rock doc on Journey ‘s Arnel Pineda showing in GuamApril 1, 2013 at 10:56 am #1796
Fantastic find, and great interview Ramona! Thanks Seven!!April 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm #2283
Everyman’s Journey goes to Qatar. Director Ramona Diaz posted this on her fb.
“Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” Community Screening and Q&A with Director Ramona Diaz
Date: Saturday April 27, 7 PM – 9 PM
Location: Royal Plaza Cinema.
is proud to announce an exclusive community screening of acclaimed Documentary “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”.
‘Don’t Stop Believin‘’ tells the rock‘n’roll fairy tale rise of singer Arnel Pineda, who was discovered on YouTube and became the new lead vocalist of the iconic American rock band Journey.
Diaz, an award-winning Filipino American documentary filmmaker, also directed ‘Spirits Rising’ (1996), ‘Imelda’ (2003) and ‘Give Up Tomorrow’ (2011).
This event will be attended by the film’s Director Ramona Diaz.
Seating at this event is limited & available on a first come first serve basis. Click here to register.
Ticket requests close on Thursday April 25th.
You will be notified by 25 April via email if your request is successful.
This event is open to participants 18 years of age and older.
*registration is now closed.
April 28, 2013 at 8:47 am #2288
and Northwestern University Qatar are proud to announce an exclusive Screening, Q&A and Masterclass of acclaimed documentary “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”.
This event will be attended by the film’s Director Ramona Diaz, who will also host a Masterclass on documentary production on day 2 of this event.
Dates and times:
Screening and Director’s Q&A: Sunday 28th April, 7pm – 9.30pm
Documentary Masterclass: Monday 29th April, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Seats are limited to this event. To apply, please register. Please specify if you are interested in (a) Screening (April 28th), (b) Masterclass (April 29th), or c) both.
Location: Education City, Qatar FoundationMay 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm #2702
“Don’t Stop Believin’/Everyman’s Journey” DVD/Blu-ray(Japanese subtitled, Region code 2) will be released on Aug.7th here in JPN!
–a tweet from official Japanese distributor–
<p>【BD＆DVD発売情報】アメリカを代表するロックバンド”ジャーニー”の新ボーカリスト、アーネル・ピネダを描いたドキュメンタリー『ジャーニー／ドント・ストップ・ビリーヴィン』8/7（水）発売！！名曲のオンパレード！そして、まるで映画のような信じられない実話に勇気と希望が湧いてくる！</p>— キングレコード映像制作部さん (@KING_VIDEO) 2013年5月31日
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
June 1, 2013 at 2:13 am #2715
- This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Sachiko_K.
how do we get a copy here? wish it would be shown here soon. We’re so AP and Journey deprived. :ap_sigh:June 9, 2013 at 2:06 am #2853
betsy jane @betsyjane25 11h
@jackryan4DA OT, but have you evr seen the documentary
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey? It’s GREAT. Arnel Pineda’s story.
Jackryan4DA @jackryan4DA 10h
@betsyjane25 OhMyGoodness! I love that documentary! I mean come on, it is a Cinderella story though & through. Hats off to Arnel 🙂
betsy jane @betsyjane25 10h
@jackryan4DA He is SUCH a good singer, and a really likable guy. I saw it at a filmfest and the director was there. I still think abt it.August 9, 2013 at 4:42 am #3334
A Japanese fan felt happy to get his “DSB:EJ” Blu-ray disk with some parks.
So he made this video. Thanks to toru0305.
FYI:Those parks are limited available only in Japan at a particular on-line shop.August 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm #3336
SATURDAY, AUG. 10-THURSDAY, AUG. 15
Documentaries dive into old and new rock
Are you ready to rock? Then bop on down to the Honolulu Museum of Art this week, where three acclaimed rockumentaries will be presented at the Doris Duke Theatre.
Fans of Journey will treasure “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” which tells the tale of Arnel Pineda, pictured, who went from crooning in Filipino clubs to frontman for the legendary band after he was seen singing on YouTube. The film was a hit at last year’s Hawai’i International Film Festival and at the Palm Springs Film Festival. It shows at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
“Searching for Sugar Man” tells the story of Sixto Rodriguez, an obscure Detroit singer-songwriter who became a phenomenon in South Africa during the apartheid era. The film follows two South African men who set out to track down Rodriguez, starting with little more than the lyrics of his songs. The film won the Academy Award for documentary feature, in addition to the audience award and jury prize at Sundance. It screens at 1 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“Sound City” is about a recording studio in Southern California that turned out some of the most famous recordings in history. It had a huge analog console allowing for complicated yet fine mixing, a process now simplified — but not necessarily improved, in this reporter’s opinion — by digitization. Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Metallica and Nirvana all recorded there. The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl narrates. Screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 1 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St.
– Steven MarkAugust 11, 2013 at 11:39 am #3343
This interview was interesting (specially the part about Filipino audiences), but the comments, more so. Sorry if this has been posted before elsewhere here.August 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm #3345
PVっす @satsumametal 8 Aug
今日届いた『Don’t stop believin Everymans JOURNEY』を見てるとこ♪ pic.twitter.com/5l1s0dj95R
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