Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

BRONX (WABC) — Growing up in the Bronx, Shamir Arzeno always had a passion for storytelling and dreamt of becoming a filmmaker, but the need to make money led to a career in corporate America.

However, the desire to make his mark in show business never left him and now he has.

Arzeno has worked for companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

He was successful by any measure but still felt the need to write and reflect on his Dominican-American heritage. That has led him to make a film that he financed himself.

If variety is the spice of life then perseverance must be the magic ingredient, says the writer/director of a short movie called “Bronx Riviera.”

“(It is) a call to action for our audiences to reflect on their own lives,” Arzeno said.

When he’s not making films, Arzeno is an executive at Amazon, a job that came after a career on Wall Street.

“I think it’s important for kids out there that may be watching understand that you can take an alternative path and still get to that destination, and by working a job doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on your dreams,” he said.

Arzeno was raised by a single mom and grew up with a brother and a sister in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx.

“Seeing my mom struggle was a motivator for me to get ahead in life, and it’s something I really wanted to express through these characters in ‘Bronx Riviera,’” he said.

Two old friends, one successful, the other still trying to find herself, get reacquainted on a summer day.

It’s a simple story Arzeno uses to throw a spotlight on the mental health issues facing his community.

“In many Latin X cultures, mental health is stigmatized, and growing up here in the Bronx as a first-generation Dominican-American, it was something that wasn’t really prioritized. So getting help is kind of taboo because it’s often seen as a symbol of weakness, right? So, this film was an avenue to show and illustrate that it’s important for us to discuss and unpack these issues within our community so we can truly heal,” Arzeno said.

“Bronx Riviera” is set on the sands of Orchard Beach and was the toast of The Big Apple Film Festival back in May, and Arzeno is hoping to make a streaming deal shortly.

As it stands now, this short movie is a terrific introduction to his talents, and I predict he will be using other people’s money to make his next film.

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