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A well-rounded director, producer and businessman
DIRECTOR Lester Pimentel Ong started as a stuntman then became a stunt and action director. This comes as a surprise as he majored in Philosophy and was a track and field athlete at La Salle.
He later got into wushu and became part of our national theme, winning gold in the South East Asian Games. It’s his background in martial arts that led him to directing fight scenes for movies and TV series. He became the action choreographer for Jericho Rosales in “Ang Panday” on ABS-CBN, and would later do action directing for other shows like “Luna Sangre” and “Bagani”.
He now directs Ian Veneracion in “One Good Day”, a 6-part action-drama series to start streaming on Prime Video starting November 17. So how is it working with Ian?
“First time ko to work with him. Napanood ko lang siya sa dramas he did with sa ABS and I wasn’t familiar na years ago, action star pala siya. Noong una, medyo kabado ako kung makakaya niya as he’s in his late 40s. We had an action workshop muna, part ng training before the shoot. We were all surprised kasi he’s still very agile and has the moves of an action star. Sa action scenes, he’d later do it all himself at ayaw niyang magpa-double.”
“One Good Day” is produced by Studio Three Sixty, a content creating company Lester himself organized with people he used to work with at ABS-CBN. Their mission is to give a 360 degree access to other markets.
“We want to attract foreign audiences and our first targets are Thailand and Indonesia which is quite a big market. ‘One Good Day’ is shot on location in Iloilo and I want to thank the people there and the local government as they really cooperated with us. Ginastusan namin ang production values ng show kasi para maiba naman sa usual slums and poverty setting shown in other local films.”
They have quite a big-budget for “One Good Day”. “Kasi we’d like to make something na pang-Hollywood ang dating. At pati ang action scenes namin, hindi pahuhuli sa style ng action films sa Hollywood ngayon. Ang kagandahan nito, we’re showing it in a streaming platform like Prime Video na available worldwide. Sa sinehan, you have to pay, but with this platform, the audience is just one click away. We want to thank GMA-7 kasi they lent us easily Andrea Torres and Rabiya Mateo as the leading ladies of Ian.”
In the story, Ian plays Dale, a former hitman of Joel Torre’s crime organization who has retired. But when Joel’s rivals, Menchu Lauchengco and Aljur Abrenica, try to put Joel out of business, he tried to convince Dale to work with him again. At first, Dale won’t agree, but when his wife gets killed, he wants revenge and goes back to his life of crime for one final mission.
Lester Pimentel Ong is not only a producer-director but is also in the food business. He and his wife Rosette put up a food cart business, Rice in a Box, that clicked and they now have 200 branches in the country. He’s also a business associate in the Binondo Food Group that operates Wangfu Chinese Cafe. Kyukyu Ramen, and the latest is Dean & Deluca. They were affected by the pandemic but they went into the food delivery system to help sustain them. It also helped that SM and Puregold, where they have branches, were kind enough to excuse them from paying their monthly rental fees. Now, business is going back to normal and he’s also investing into film producing.