April 04, 2012 - By Tahra Gribbin
DíAmbrosio wrote and starred in his own movie, The Violin. The movie has garnered a large amount of critical acclaim. Photo by T. Gribbin (click for larger version)
Hollywood may seem far away to many area residents, but for one promising Lake Orion man, it's only a matter of years away. Lake Orion High School senior, Jonathan D'Ambrosio has a film debuting at Carnege Hall on June 1.
"A few weeks ago, Mrs. Wilson stopped me in the hall at school and told me the news," said D'Ambrosio. "My reaction was one of those where there is just no expression on your face and your mind just stops thinking."
Although D'Ambrosio was startled by the news of his film, "The Violin," premiering at Carnege Hall, the video had already won the highest award possible at the Art and Writing Scholastics Competition. In this competition, young people from around the nation compete each year, broken into divisions.†
"Honestly, I can't believe it is all happening," D'Ambrosio said. "I still walk around with that same look on my face when I think about it."
D'Ambrosio's surprise is warranted because although American Vision Awards, which his film won, are given out at each division around the country, very few pieces are chosen for the Carnege Hall debut. For D'Ambrosio, it's a step in the right direction.
"I hope to pursue a career in directing for film," said D'Ambrosio. "I'm going to spend 4 years at the Art Institute of Chicago getting my bachelors and 2 years after that at the American Film Institute in California for my masters."
D'Ambrosio has been contacted by members of the Hollywood sphere. Recently, he received attention from the President and CEO of the American Film Institute, Bob Gazzale. Gazzale called D'Ambrosio last month after seeing "The Violin" to congratulate him and explain his interest in D'Ambrosio's talents.
"After school, it will just be movies all the time," D'Ambrosio said. "I've been making movies nearly all my life. The childhood hobby then turned into a passion."
D'Ambrosio's inspiration for turning his hobby into something more began when he heard that famous director, Steven Spielberg had created his first film at 16 years old.†
"After I heard that, I realized that I needed to step it up," said D'Ambrosio. "There are many directors that have inspired me, but more than that, I think it's just the everyday simple things in life that inspire most of my films."
D'Ambrosio found his inspiration for "The Violin" in a violin he recently received. This isn't the first inspiration he's found, however. D'Ambrosio has made around 200 films throughout his life so far.
"There was no better way to have spent my childhood," D'Ambrosio said. "I would steal my dad's video camera, and my brother and I would run around in the backyard hitting each other with sticks, filming the whole time."
D'Ambrosio has gotten attention at festivals such at the Michigan Thespian Festival which is a gathering of high school aged people who are interested and involved in theatre and film. They have a competition there each year that D'Ambrosio usually places well in. This year, they created an award specifically for him.†
D'Ambrosio maintains that he didn't stumble into this success.†
"Getting attention for films is all about who you know," said D'Ambrosio. "My advice for those looking to break into the film industry is to try and get your work out there. Enter as many film festivals as you can."
D'Ambrosio's film, "The Violin" which runs 12 minutes and 14 seconds was inspired both by a violin and D'Ambrosio's love for the 1940's and showing things in a different light.
"I love the 1940's," D'Ambrosio said. "I really wanted to show a side of World War II that is rarely seen. I wanted to take a very realistic approach on it."†
D'Ambrosio will finish out his senior year at Lake Orion High School before heading to Chicago and hoping to impress his professors at the Art Institute of Chicago.†