- Tony Ballejos
Growing up in the shadows of the community center in Carson, a skinny little kid by the name of Tony Ballejos had fantasies about being one of the comic book superheroes he sketched so diligently. An artistic and passionate boy, he searched for subjects and endeavors that would fuel his desires. Urged on by his Father, he started boxing. Initially at the old Wilmington Teen Post, on Anaheim St in Wilmington, then at the legendary Fabela Chavez Boxing Center in Carson.
After realizing that he was not going to light the pugilistic world on fire, Tony decided to shift focus to a more capitalistic, and less painful enterprise; real estate. Using learned and self-taught basic leveraging principles, as well as creative financing techniques, he began acquiring houses. Then it was multi-units. Soon he was building and dabbling in development. By his thirtieth birthday, he was just a hair shy of millionaire status, and was living what he thought was 'the good life.' He owned a huge four level custom home in Hermosa Beach, had acquired a beautiful young model for a wife, as well as two Porsches, and two Harley Davidson’s. The American Dream, why didn’t, it feel right? Very slowly, something happened... He increasingly grew bored with his comfortable yet passionless existence. He longed to re-ignite the fires that burned so fervently in his younger days as a scrappy welterweight. Always a film brat, he happened to catch a film in 1989 that would change his life. It was Sex, Lies, & Video Tape, written and directed by Stephen Soderberg. ‘This film really hit me hard' Tony said 'it was the first film where I thought...I can do that.’
Tony immediately enrolled at UCLA’s extension film program, studying under renowned instructor Larry Kostroff. Although he had never written seriously before, he started writing scripts and was immediately recognized by Kostroff as one of the most talented students in the program. With the momentum set, Tony quickly secured financing for his feature short directorial debut, the award winning, hilarious and controversial, Met-Rx @ Tiffany's. This film was shot on 16mm black and white, with flashbacks and the shocking conclusion contrasting in color (for symbolic reasons). Reaping (across the board) critical praise for this gritty debut, Tony then began to concentrate on writing, art directing assignments, painting, and independently getting projects into development.
It was about this time that Tony co-founded the now-defunct Hermosa Beach Film Festival, (now Sandance) with what he called 'a couple of attorney types.' Still beaming from the local success of Met-Rx @ Tiffany’s, it was time to secure financing for his much anticipated follow up; the sexy, soapy and biting, GateKeeper. This splashy, multiple award-winning tale tells of sexual power and betrayal amongst the Manhattan Beach Elite. With the film completed Tony found time to start The Sandance Film festival, a beach based vehicle for exhibition, distribution and more importantly, to prospect for South Bay cinematic talent.
In 2004 Tony made his successful MTV directorial debut with the internationally shown music video for the heavy metal band Fear Factory, with the hit single Bite The Hand That Bleeds You for the soundtrack of Lions Gate’s Se7enesq horror feature Saw. Tony Ballejos indeed has arrived! Other projects in the different stages of fruition include Brittany’s Angel (a new age ghost story), Masters and Muses, The Blake Storm Franchise and Hell Hole the feature to name a few.
Always passionate, imaginative, gutsy and talented, the future in film, art and new media seems wide open for this scrappy homeboy from the South Bay.