The Melting Pot of New York City is Truly Melting
The Melting Pot of New York City is Truly Melting
By Mr. Steve Wee
Antonio Saillant is on a mission to bring a new light to Indie films but wishes he could film in New York City. While relishing his role both behind and in front of the camera, Saillant has been busy pursuing his film career. He formed his own company "Angel Light Pictures" with the goal of developing films for a global audience. Saillant recently produced the SyFy thriller, "The Ascension" starring Corbin Bernsen and also worked on the independent film "Heterosexuals" produced by J. Robert Spencer, who starred in two outstanding Broadway musicals "Jersey Boys" and "Next to Normal".
In addition, he has been given the chance of a lifetime to shadow his mentor "Ted Kotcheff" Executive Producer and one of the Show- Runners of the NBC top running television series, "Law & Order: SVU". Kotcheff directed many U.S. films throughout the 1970's and 1980's perhaps the best-known films being Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), starring Jane Fonda and George Segal; Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978), starring Jacqueline Bisset and George Segal; North Dallas Forty (1979)--which he also wrote--starring 'Nick Nolte' (a film considered by many in the sport to be one of the best ever made about professional football); First Blood (1982), starring Sylvester Stallone--one of the biggest box-office winners of all time--Uncommon Valor (1983), starring Gene Hackman; and Weekend at Bernie's (1989). In the mid-'80s Kotcheff made a film of another Mordecai Richler novel, Joshua Then and Now (1985). This film, starring James Woods and Alan Arkin, was the official Canadian entry in the Cannes Film Festival, and together with "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz", is one of the most widely known and acclaimed Canadian films in the United States.
Saillant best known for his amazing networking abilities and charisma. His networking led him to meet and learn from high profile entertainment industry professionals as well as being able to gain trust and friendship from his mentors by simply being genuine. His list of mentors are known to be high established people in the film, television and even Broadway Musical Theater. Saillant is considered a pure example of diversity (Italian, Dominican, Greek, French and Cuban.) He was born in New York City and is known to many as the melting pot of many nationalities. Saillant even has an uncle who is a retired Army General known as Orlando Antonio Saillant Ornes of the Dominican Republic and still servicing as the Chief of the Staff of The Armed Forces Reserve.
The Latino Networking Coalition spearheaded by JPMorgan Chase Adelante – known as the firm’s Latino employee networking group – with the support of Corporate Diversity, invited Saillant at a gathering last year for their yearly event during The Hispanic Heritage Month. When I interviewed Mr. Saillant about his experience at the event, he was not pleased.
Saillant stated, I came into this event with clear eyes. I am proud that many companies are trying to achieved diversity together, but I am mindful of all that remains to be done. "I felt like I was an outsider the whole time I was there, I am not sure they understood my question I had asked. The audience was comprised of mainly JPMorgan employees and were too busy being rude and wouldn't allow me to explain what exactly I was trying to ask. I started the conversation by introducing myself to the panel of the Adelante group, but by the time I was leading up to my question, people did not want to listen to what I had to say. The group gave me an abrubt answer, "that no one on the panel was qualified to answer my question." My question was simple. The tax incentive for filming here in New York City is not very good and many filmmakers are filming out of state and out of the country in order to benefit the investors and of course us filmmakers. Hence, taking away from New York City the extra revenues needed to keep this melting pot going. Woody Allen says he began shooting movies in European cities because he could not afford to do it any more in New York. Allen also praised Spanish actors saying they were now among the best, singling out Banderas as well as Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, with whom he worked in his 2008 movie "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," set in Spain's second largest city.
In Saillant's opinion shooting else where takes away jobs for everyone. A group like Adelante, that has powerful backing can help by just stating their opinion to the Governor or the Mayor of New York. The more groups that stick together may have a better chance of success than one production company. Theses diversity groups can provide resources you may not have heard of, new insights, and, most importantly, the finances to achieve this goal.
Saillant truly believes that all financial facilities that have created diversity groups also can explore how Latino artists can advance their careers, enhance their job opportunities in both the English and Spanish-speaking media and improve their craft skills within the television and motion picture industry. I view the Latino Committee as a networking association whose goal it is to educate the industry about their talents and availability in all areas. After all, filming brings revenue which in turn brings a rise to the economy and for the banks, "More Clients."
Groups are a perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. It's no secret that exposure to alternative points of view broadens one's understanding of just about any subject. By testing out ideas on one another, you and the others in your group acquire a more complete picture of the subject matter. Of course, groups provide social interaction as well, making this option attractive on multiple levels.
Sometimes the best way to make lasting connections is through everyday situations. When friendships and relationships develop naturally among the people within your surroundings--say, in businesses, the bonds are rooted as much in compatibility as they are in common interests. Business discussions provide fertile ground for deepening your understanding of subject material as well as meeting like-minded people. So speak up. Whether you share a question or an opinion, getting involved makes your business experience a lot more meaningful.
A great example of a successful group was created by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) known as The Latino Committee of the Guild. Created as a networking group to advance career and job opportunities for Latino DGA members by improving craft skills, networking, and making Latinos better known to the Hollywood creative community. Latinos comprise approximately 23 million people in the United States, and in Los Angeles, the center of film production, make up 40% of the population. Nonetheless, we are often overlooked when it comes to hiring for industry-related jobs.
A Directory of Latino Members of the Guild was created to aid industry executives, producers and others in identifying qualified Latinos for employment in the motion picture and TV industry as directors, assistant directors, stage managers, unit production managers, and other categories of the Directors Guild of America. The committee meets monthly, and schedules two to three special events throughout the year.
The primary purpose of the Committee is to explore how Latino artists can advance their careers, enhance their job opportunities in both the English and Spanish-speaking media and improve their craft skills within the television and motion picture industry. Members view the Latino Committee as a networking association whose goal it is to educate the industry about their talents and availability. There's something about overcoming obstacles which demand courage, fortitude, and physical exertion that brings people together.
Saillant who has a story that can be made into a feature film of its own. He was a former baseball player in the minor leagues. More than 400 Dominican born players have made it to the Majors in the United States. The difference is Antonio was an American playing in a foreign country. The Dominican Republic Winter League has 6 teams that play a 50 game schedule from October through December, culminating in a playoffs with the winner moving on to the Caribbean Series against the winners in other Latin countries. Almost every Major League Baseball team sponsors a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic where young prospects eat, sleep, and play baseball in its Summer League. New signees, as young as 16 years old, get at most two or three years to show they warrant a promotion to the U.S. minor leagues before getting cut loose.
Almost reaching the Major Leagues in the late 1980's with the New York Mets. Flew to New York from the Dominican Republic to meet his brother Angel, who announced his engagement to his girlfriend. A few days later on the way to Jones Beach the car lost control and turned over which resulted in the death of his older brother. Traumatized by his brother dying in his arms, he left baseball and decided to enroll in The Farmingdale State University of New York where he studied Aerospace Technology. Never to pick up a bat again. Years later, the family was suffering again with his sister, by means that is too graphic to mention. The experience, according to Antonio, was a turning point in his life that played a large part in shaping him into the accomplished entrepreneur he is today.
Antonio's realization of painful family struggles and personal confusion, led him to embrace the entertainment industry. He evolved through the varied characters he portrayed, which helped him to develop a more fulfilling and emotionally healthy life for himself. He found passion in the entertainment industry which led him away from engineering and carried him into motion pictures.
Saillant is true to his beliefs as he remains humble and continues to receive much praise for his works.
Leave a comment
Music, Film / Theater / TV, Fashion, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Writing, Representation, Venues, General
- Green filmmaker Antonio Saillant to speak at SU Showcase April 18
- Kevin Spacey attends First Shot Film premiere in New York’s Meatpacking District
- Interview by Filmmaker Antonio Saillant: Kevin Spacey on premiere of First Shot film ‘The Ventriloquist’
- Meeting a Green Movie Director
- Being Green in New York
- STUDENTS AND ALUMNI ENERGIZED IN THE MAKING OF LANDMARK FILM
- Dream Destinations: The Ted Kotcheff Documentary
- A Spotlight on Legendary Hollywood Director Ted Kotcheff
- Oldenburg Film Festival honors Canadian filmmaker and producer Ted Kotcheff with a retrospective
- Angel Light's Dream Destinations
- How Much is Negativity Costing You? How you speak to yourself can impact your success.
- A note from Antonio Saillant from Angel Light Pictures Entertainment Group
- Wake in Fright accepted at The 2011 Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival
- Great News! Wake in Fright Directed by Ted Kotcheff
- Director Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright honored at MOMA
- Antonio Saillant and Chris Meloni Co-Hosted a Celebration in honor of Director Ted Kotcheff at MOMA
- The Melting Pot of New York City is Truly Melting
- Indie Producer invited on set of 'Law & Order: SVU' 12th season