Despite its incredible influence on society, few of us actually think about what it really takes to make it in the entertainment industry. For one local actor/director/producer, the reality is all too clear, and his efforts to break into this exclusive industry are beginning to pay off.
Next month, Tony Pertesis is debuting his film Welcome to Jensen’s Part I, which was shot and filmed in his home state of Connecticut. The film, self described as a part dark comedy, part science fiction, is about a young girl that “dream visits” her mother and father in purgatory. With the help of her grandfather, a fact that both characters are unaware of, the girl navigates purgatory and meets its eccentric inhabitants while simultaneously exploring the idea of death. The film was conceived, cast, directed, shot, and edited by Pertesis himself.
Pertesis began his initial pursuit to become an actor when he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 20 in 1999. Working with his agent at the time, Alvarado Rey, Pertesis procured predominantly Latino roles in movies and commercials until he starred as the god Apollo in Little Hercules in 3D and was able to portray his true nationality. Pertesis starred alongside Richard Sandrak, Hulk Hogan, Robin Givens, Judd Nelson, and Elliot Gould, among others. While working on the movie, he was featured in an episode of the VH1 show “Hogan Knows Best” where he rustled Hulk Hogan’s feathers by flirting with his daughter Brooke. Since his move to Las Angeles, Pertesis has starred in Asylum, The Lady and the Taxi Driver, Psychotic, A Sea Apart, and many other movies, television shows and commercials.
In 2008, Pertesis moved back to Connecticut where he teaches acting classes and advises aspiring actors on how to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. It was his students, in fact that partially inspired him to shoot the film. “The thing that truly inspired me to shoot this film was the fact that I had all of the people to put in a film,” Pertesis said in an e-mail interview. “One day I was shooting some background of beautiful scenery in Connecticut. Then I thought it would be cool to have such amazing scenery and to shoot a film with my students in it so they could see how movies are made and their hard work pay off in a film that will last forever.” He continues to perform locally and host stand up comedy.
The premier of Welcome to Jensen’s Part I will take place at the Fairfield Community Theatre in Connecticut on December 1st at 7:30 pm. The cost will be $10 and there will be an after party at Bravo, next door to the theatre. Watch the trailer here: