This month we are delighted to catch up with award-winning producer and filmmaker, Francis Luta, hot off the successful Canada-wide cinematic release of his latest movie ‘Alone Across the Arctic’. This movie is a viewing must for anybody who appreciates the sheer beauty of Canada’s vast wilderness in some of the hardest parts of the country for most of us to visit.
Introduction and vision
Francis Luta is a Filipino-Canadian artist and filmmaker behind the award-winning adventure feature documentary ‘Alone Across the Arctic’, and Producer of the short film ‘Seeing’ for Oscar-winning lens maker Cooke Optics, Canon Canada. Producer of thriller ‘Vivid’, and a social commentary documentary called ‘Project Yellow’ and the award-winning documentary ‘The Hammer Band: Music Child’.
What’s your academic background?
George Brown College Diploma in Advertising, Graphic Design and Visual Arts, 2008
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
After shifting focus from graphic design to videography and to eventually filmmaking, it didn’t dawn on me that the path I was taking was essentially entrepreneurship.
I never set out to be one. It happened naturally because it was the only way for me to have the freedom to do what I wanted to do. What I needed to do.
But before the freedom and before any rule-breaking, I first had to know the rules, I had to work corporate jobs, freelance gigs and odd-jobs here and there in order to sustain myself and hone the skills and tools given from my time at the George Brown College, School of Design and eventually out into the real world. I had to work for other companies first before the great big venture.
What is the purpose of your business?
I created Picturehausfilms with my partner Jeremy Benning. It was a way for me to house all of my videography work which evolved into documentary work.
I believed that someone else’s company wasn’t going to invest their resources into a relatively unknown like me, especially in the film industry— and I’m too much of a keener to wait around.
While the business itself doesn’t give you automatic returns from the initial investments to get it started, the pay-off for me is to be able to tell stories with integrity and honesty. Even if it means literally going out of pocket to travel, shoot, obtain rights and agreements and feed people.
It may not be the best business advice but for me, it’s the trust of these individuals whose stories I’m acquiring to tell.
What successes have you enjoyed so far with building your company?
There are many different milestones worth quantifying as successes. I think it’s important to recognize that in order to keep the morale up. Whether it be small or big potatoes. I attribute success to the trust I’ve gained from the people whose stories I’m trying to tell.
Success is the relationships I’ve built with people I’ve worked alongside with from the different contractors I needed to collaborate with for individual skillsets; from producers, musicians, animators and distributing partners, just to name a few.
I’ve enjoyed watching my network grow because it does come in handy when you need to call on someone for something I can’t do myself, because it does take a village. It’s been humbling to receive awards for my feature documentary ‘Alone Across The Arctic’ — but that goes to show I need to keep building in order to defend that title.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
It’s tough to narrow it down to one, as there will be many learning curves, great challenges that’ll make you want to quit and heartaches along the way that one wouldn’t necessarily wish upon another.
But everyone’s path will be different. And perhaps it’s necessary to go through all of that in order to grow not just as an aspiring entrepreneur but for your own character.
The universal advice that can be applied to any industry and the one that I always try to abide by even if it’s impossible: Try to know everyone’s role in the project you’re doing.
Website and Socials
Picture Haus Films – www.picturehausfilms.com
Francis Luta Vimeo – www.vimeo.com/francisluta
Francis Luta IMBD – www.imdb.me/francisluta
Instagram – @aloneacrossthearctic