Article by CarlosHernandez
Indie Filmmaker Frank Aragon’s 1211 Entertainment Succeeds with “Down for Life” theatrical premiere – Entertainment
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Produced by Boyle Heights native Frank Aragon, the Alan Jacobs’ gang drama DOWN FOR LIFE is up for its theatrical world premiere in the Rio Grande Valley. The film was shot on location in South-Central Los Angeles and stars local youths in the lead roles.It is based on a true story,starring Danny Glover, Snoop Dogg, Kate Del Castillo, Elizabeth Pena and introducing sixteen year old Jessica Romero from the streets of Wilmington, California.
Frank Aragon’s past films include MY FATHER’S LOVE, BOYLE HEIGHTS, HOLLYWOOD FAMILIA and AND SO THEY DIE.All are part of 1211 Entertainment’s emerging library of films.Aragon’s company has been concentrating on the American-Latino audience for the last ten years.Frank is a Mexican-American (Chicano) whose passion is telling positive Latino stories.In 2001, Aragon was the recipient of the Golden Eagle Award as an outstanding independent filmmaker from Nosotros. This is Aragon’s first major film festival debut.
Frank tells us:
“I was born and raised in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles,eventually moving to the San Gabriel Valley so we could live a little better life away from gangs and drugs.I was raised in a single parent household; my mother and father split up when I was six. My mother was always supportive of me.She just didn’t have time to nurture me the way she wanted to.It was always just me and my sister because Mom worked a lot.
Mom always told me that I was a good storyteller.I believed her. If you tell a two year old kid that they’re good at something,they believe it and things start to happen.I wanted more grown-up things early on, like a career in the movie business. When my family found out about my dreams,and knew that I was serious, they encouraged me. They patted me on the back and said, “You can do it, mijo!” My friends knew that vision was what was driving me. They fully supported me and are still expecting to have leads in future movies I make.
My sister and I grew up with television, especially FANTASY ISLAND. One film changed my life and that film was ROCKY.I knew then that an underdog could win or, at least in the effort, he was a winner.
I consider myself an actor who is also a producer/director.That is my love, my passion.I’m told I’m a gifted director.After I wrote, produced, directed and starred in my first film MY FATHER’S LOVE,I realized that I have an unshakable confidence which cannot be broken by anyone. My ultimate goal is to someday win an Oscar.
The reason I got into acting was that in the eighth grade I had a crush on my drama teacher.I was student body president and discovered that I loved the drama class so much!Reading plays aloud and then doing them on stage was the best escape for me.I owe Miss Enloe; she started it all.
My first success came from an audition.I took a bus to Hollywood and walked into a dark theater to audition for a play. I was eighteen and they cast me. We took that play to New York City and performed Off-Broadway at Harold Clurman Theatre.I had been auditioning for two years already for things in Hollywood. I even got cast as a dead body in a morgue scene in DEATH WISH IV with Charles Bronson.When I came back from New York at the age of nineteen I got cast in my first film ANGELTOWN with Teresa Saldaa. Bob Morones cast me; I used to drop pictures and resumes off at his door at least once every week.
My biggest supporters have always been my daughter and certainly my family, who celebrate every success and encourage me to keep going.The biggest challenge in starting out was being able to keep pursuing my dream and still eat and live like any normal human being,I was a young man with responsibilities. My high school sweetheart and I had a daughter from all of our love for each other.I was only seventeen when she was born so I was a very young dad. My son was born four years later.Destiny and Frankie are my two children.
My first professional gig was the play I did in New York City Off-Broadway, performing next to a theater in which Melissa Gilbert and Phoebe Cates acted. I knew I was a real actor like them. I eventually ran into them at the deli on the corner and invited them to my play. They came and it was encouraging, (I loved Phoebe Cates, but I didn’t get to make out with her.) Working with young professionals on that level, I knew I could make it then.
Originally I started out as an actor but had an accident after returning from Minnesota where I had worked on a film. I asked the director and producer if I could learn to be a PA, a production assistant, as well. They asked me, “Why? You are an actor.” I told them that one day I want to direct and produce so I want to learn everything I can. I wanted to be by the camera at all times.That film was Severo Perez’s PBS film “And The Earth Did Not Swallow Him” based on the novel by Tom