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Meet Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello of Female Filmmakers Fuse in Sherman Oaks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello.

We’ll start from the beginning of when Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello first met. It was approximately nineteen to twenty some odd years ago. Pabello was attending California State University Long Beach, Polar had returned from a brief stint with the United States Army Reserve. It was at a family wedding, when Pabello noticed Polar enjoyed salsa music.

The two became friends, attending various salsa and hip hop nightclubs. When Pabello went through a bad break-up with her then boyfriend; Polar was at the time planning a solo trip to Machu Picchu, Peru. Polar welcomed Pabello along the journey to help her get over her break-up. It was during that journey that the friendship bond grew closer, as if becoming sisters. They shared what they each hoped for in life and their artistic talents.

Pabello graduated and became a teacher, while Polar went on to become a paralegal. Individually, the artistic desire remained strong. Polar from time to time would write for articles, film, television and poetry. Pabello had an eye for lensing the camera. Both having the talents since early childhood. It was their friendship, encouragement and support for each other; that transpired to where and who they are today.

Feeling the need to fulfill their philanthropic goals, In 2005, Pabello and Polar started their own production company. Pabello named it Butterfly Angel Entertainment. During their first year of inception of Butterfly Angel Entertainment, they focused solely on providing production services for nonprofits and other charitable organizations. This combined their artistic talents and philanthropic desires.

Life took both Pabello and Polar on a rollercoaster of a ride. Ups and downs, with mixers of tragedies and celebrations. They placed Butterfly Angel Entertainment on hold for nearly a year. In 2012, Pabello and Polar decided to truly support each others craft and take their talents seriously by reigniting Butterfly Angel Entertainment and solely focusing on the originality of their works. Their first leap into independent filmmaking was with their award-winning documentary short entitled “America Foreclosed”. The second was with their more ambitious project, an award-winning short musical film, and proof of concept entitled “Speakeasy to Me”. Both films were Written and Directed by Alexa Polar, with Robin Pabello providing her skills as the Director of Photography. Both films can be found on Amazon Prime. It was at this point in 2016, that their new friend and Producer, Kathy Dang joined Butterfly Angel Entertainment.

Pabello and Polar began their transition on to feature films, with their first thriller “The Blackstone”, currently in production phase, and “R Culture”, in its pre-production phase. Polar wrote both and is Directing The Blackstone and is set to Direct R Culture, with Pabello providing her talents again as the Director of Photography. Kathy Dang provides her Producing role in both projects.

It was in 2017, during a moment where Polar felt a standstill in her career and her role within the production company they formed. She wanted more and missing the philanthropic side of her being. Reverting back to the troubling issues both Pabello and Polar faced a few years ago, she wanted to develop a new business that was more focused on the charity work they can provide for other female filmmakers like themselves. Polar created Female Filmmakers Fuse the organization that would soon become a nonprofit, and recruited Pabello to further assist her with this passion; since they both share the same ideologies. The concept was to form a nonprofit organization to provide grants, scholarships, and mentorships in a platform for female filmmakers in this cumbersome industry. It was during a moment of inaction that Polar conceptualize the formation of Female Filmmakers Fuse.

In 2017, Female Filmmakers Fuse hosted their first annual film festival in Pasadena, California. In 2018, on their way to their second annual film festival, Polar and Pabello began gaining momentum and recognition for Female Filmmakers Fuse. A few corporations were interested in sponsoring their efforts; unfortunately the official 501(3)c was not granted until later that same year. It was a missed opportunity, but the festival was still a hit.

Polar and Pabello discussed how to further grow Female Filmmakers Fuse, in doing some research, they found what is truly needed is promoting and advertising. This does not come easy, nor cheap. Thus the Female Filmmakers Fuse Podcast was born. It became an essential and much-needed tool for other independent and established filmmakers, artists, and actresses in the industry. A place each are welcome to self-promote or promote a project. May 20, 2018, Female Filmmakers Fuse Podcast hosted by Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello first went live via LA Talk Radio. The first live airing brought in over 400 listeners. As the podcast continued, so did the listenership with now over a thousand tuning in live and downloading their weekly show globally.

The podcast is a weekly masterful beast of its own. Filmmakers and other creatives from both behind and in front of the camera contact both Pabello and Polar, asking to be a guest on their show. Seeking the opportunity to share their personal experience, while providing advice for listeners and promoting whatever it is they wish to promote. The podcast generally is booked months in advance and is always opened to inviting new guest. Pabello would ideally like to showcase different artistic key beings from various areas of filmmaking. It can be a costume designer, production or set designer, an editor, a make-up artist, a gaffer, a grip, etc. It’s a great way and occasion to expand our insight as to what each role plays. Since it’s title is Female Filmmakers Fuse, we do want to provide that for females in the industry. However, we are always welcoming men as well, and have had them on the show! As long as they support and hire female filmmakers; that’s what matters to us. We represent the goal for a more diverse industry and equal on all levels including pay.

Recently, Female Filmmakers Fuse began a docu-series, where Pabello and Polar have recruited Ash Warren to join the team. Warren serves as an integral role for the organization and is our on-camera host. They began filming “The Elevator Pitch”, where we had a short script contest and selected the top six to come in and provide an actual elevator pitch of their short film idea. The pitches went out to public voting, after tallying the votes, we invited the top three to come back and do a more formal pitch to an actual producer. The top three pitches will go back out for public voting, we will tally the votes and announce the winner on our Podcast on June 2, 2019. The winning script will be produced, while we capture the entire process from pitch to post. This is just one of the programs Female Filmmakers Fuse offers. We have ideas for more as we grow, and having Warren involved, is proving to be essential.

It was a heck of a journey for Pabello and Polar to get to where they are now, and this is only the beginning. Female Filmmakers Fuse is proving to be an organization both are proud of and are continually striving for its success. When we succeed, others succeed with us. Fundamentally, that was Pabello and Polar’s goal from the start, ever since meeting back in early 2000. They have conquered any obstacles that have attempted to impede them, both individually and their friendship or business partnership as a whole. The sheer positivity and determination is what they continue to hold and spread via Female Filmmakers Fuse.

Has it been a smooth road?
With any company that starts up, especially being one of an artistic nature, there will be some challenges. Female Filmmakers Fuse is successfully struggling. We hope to be able to continue forth and make it to our goal of five years. Once we hit the five-year mark, we know we hit a milestone and will be around for many years more. Being on our third year, this year in particular has been it’s toughest. Being an official 501(3)c nonprofit organization, we hope to spread the word and gain corporate sponsorships and private donors. The only way we can continue this would be with those sponsors and donors. The podcast is one example of what we provide for other filmmakers out there that find it difficult to promote and advertise with little to no money. It’s partially a platform for that, and to provide a place to utilize your voice. What message do you want to get across and reach out of your social media circle. Within our first year on the air, we had many women share their stories, their struggles, their Me Too moments. Providing messages and advice for any listener that needs to hear it.

In short, the main obstacle and challenge is to keep on going. Sponsors and donors are what keep this going. Once we have a steady flow and it’s consistent, we can finally start offering grants and scholarships to filmmakers. That is the goal. A nonprofit withstanding on its own through assistance and support by corporate and private sponsors and donors.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
Female Filmmakers Fuse is a 501(3)c nonprofit organization that was founded by Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello to empower women while providing them with a platform to network, accentuate and build a collaborative group of humans to tell compelling stories.

Forging together to help both emerging and established female filmmakers in accomplishing their goals in this tough industry. That’s our motto.

Female Filmmakers Fuse takes the traditional approach of who you know, with the updated approach on opening the doors to talented females striving to maintain their footing in this industry. We all know and have heard the stories on how this world is a “man’s world”. Times are changing and ladies are taking the lead!

We host yearly film festivals in beautiful Pasadena, California, where the event takes place on November. We showcase feature films, short films, web series and student films from talented filmmakers from around the world. Tickets can be purchased via EventBrite or on our site.

We host a weekly podcast via LA Talk Radio, which is located in Sherman Oaks, California. Our podcast can be heard live via the LA Talk Radio website or their app which is free to download, we go live every Sunday at 12:00pm – 1:00pm (PST). The show is later streamed on all major podcast streaming services, including iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and can also be found on our YouTube Channel under Female Filmmakers Fuse.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a phenomenal location to have a business like ours. It’s rich in diversity and hosts a plethora of cultural mixtures that benefits us all. If anyone plans to open a business here, planning is always key and budgeting is a must. Knowing your area and what works for what you’re attempting to do. Research! Research! Research!

The reason it worked great for Pabello and Polar, they know the area and have enriched themselves with their surroundings. Alexa Polar was born in Lima, Peru; she migrated to Long Beach, California when she was only seven months old; when her parents Roberto and Carmen Polar made the move with their, at the time five children. Polar is the only daughter out of six children. She was raised in Long Beach, although she moved to Orange County when she was 14, she moved back to where she feels most at home. Robin Pabello was born and raised in Inglewood, California to Ricardo and Johzen Pabello. Pabello is the eldest out of two, the only daughter. Pabello’s family briefly uprooted and moved to Orange County as well, prior to moving back to Los Angeles. Both Pabello and Polar breath and live Los Angeles County and know the cities within. It is the passion and knowledge of Los Angeles that brought them to have both Butterfly Angel Entertainment and Female Filmmakers Fuse live here. They are deep-rooted and cultivated in the culture and lifestyle. The artistic flare is partially embodied by the city they love and they share it there. It is because of this love that they will always recommend, but highly suggest that research is always done prior to beginning any venture.


Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Most photos by Julia Zambianco-Polar (the main one of Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello, the solo photos of each Robin Pabello and Alexa Polar). The selfie like photo of Alexa Polar, Kathy Dang and Robin Pabello was taken by Robin Pabello. The photo of Alexa Polar and Robin Pabello on set of Speakeasy to Me (an award winning musical short film), was taken by David Vega. Finally, the podcast thumbnail was added and the poster for The Elevator Pitch which features Ash Warren, the photos on the poster were all taken by Julia Zambianco-Polar

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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