By Ken Liebeskind
It only took a 60-second video for Pedro Bermudez’s film production company to claim top honors at the Advertising Club of Connecticut’s 59th annual awards show last month. Bermudez, who grew up in Hartford, is hoping the Gold award for his minute-long commercial is only one of the first of many awards for his company, which he recently began running from Hartford. He is also setting his sights on even bigger projects and revolutionizing his industry.
His company, Revisionist, has called Hartford home since he made the cross-country move from Los Angeles in January, and has focused mainly on producing commercials.
“I’m excited about making a home for Revisionist here in Connecticut,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with ad agencies in the area to provide clients with high quality services locally rather than having them hire companies out of New York or Boston.”
Bermudez said he plans to expand into producing documentaries and other long form content. Despite direct competition from other production companies, he believes his team is ahead of the curve.
“Their business models are outdated, they have too much overhead and aren’t passing along savings built into the new technology,” he said. “We saw the opportunity to come in and work with regional ad agencies and give them the best quality at a better price.”
The high quality comes from using cutting edge digital cameras, editorial equipment and editing software that allows agencies and clients to see the work immediately. “Now we can shoot a scene and give the digital file to the editor who has a laptop or mobile work station and can piece together scenes for pre-edit,” he said. “The ad agency sees the shots while they’re happening so they’re assured of the highest quality.”
Early success and future aspirations
In the beginning, Bermudez’s budding film career was a family affair.
His first short films, which he produced as a teenager, put the spotlight not on seasoned actors, but his sisters. He also owes his mother a debt of gratitude; she acted in the short film that gained him admission into the prestigious American Film Institute.
“I’ve been blessed with an incredibly supportive family,” he said. “They’ve helped me every step of the way.”
Bermudez, now 28, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Film from the University of Hartford, then headed to the American Film Institute in Los Angeles to pursue a Master’s degree in Film Directing.
While on the West Coast, he founded Revisionist, which now has connections in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York, with two fellow film school students. Along with Luca Del Puppo and Walker Zavareei, the trio got their start shooting a public service spot in Nepal for Build On, a charitable organization in Stamford that builds schools around the world for impoverished people. Bermudez directed the spot and also traveled to Haiti to shoot a feature film after the earthquake, which is still in development.
Then in January of this year, he decided to return home and put down company roots in Hartford.
“The stories I want to tell are very specific to my upbringing and some are specific to Hartford,” he said.
Currently, he is developing a documentary project focusing on a Bhutanese refugee community living in Hartfortd, which he hopes to begin production on next year.
Even though Bhutan is a small, landlocked state in South Asia, Bermudez found common ground with the community. “Aspects of their struggle were familiar to the struggle of the Puerto Ricans who arrived in this city and were caught between the home they left and their new home.”
After attending a Bhutanese wedding a few weeks ago, he is even more excited about the project.
“It was amazing to see the conditions they were living in and how closely knit they are,” he said.
Ever the multitasker, Bermudez is also developing a short film focusing on the underground cock fighting circuit in Hartford and Puerto Rico. He plans to begin shooting this winter.
“That film will also focus on themes familiar to the plight of immigrants and how upon arriving to the U.S. we cling to the most unlikely bits of our culture,” Bermudez explained.
Overall, he said Revisionist is currently working on five proposals, which range in scope from documentary and short films to commercials.
Going for gold
Revisionist’s Gold award-winning commercial was shot around New Haven for United Illuminating with Cashman & Katz, a Glastonbury agency, and was touted for it innovative display of electricity in action in homes and businesses.
The commercial highlighted how many people have to work behind the scenes to provide electricity and how easy it is to take the service for granted.
“It was shot in October and November before the hurricane, so it’s interesting to see the development,” Bermudez said. “It was filmed in their footprint to see where they are operating.”
Bermudez’s concept of a glowing ball of electricity traveling around the city evidently caught the judges’ eyes.
Sandra Brangiero, executive director and president of the ad club, said it was a great spot and very worthy. “I was very excited because I’d seen the spot on TV before it was entered and really liked it,” she said.