- Name: Dennis Latos
- DOB: March 11, 1992
- Hometown: Flushing, New York
Dennis Latos has made his name known in the film industry at an early age. The 19 year-old, second-generation Greek-American, continues to thrive as he pursues his American dream of becoming a successful film director. From his current achievements in the industry, he’s well on his way. Latos has already been featured in local and national publications including the National Herald, the Queens Gazette, and NEO Magazine. After finishing his most recent work, a short tribute film on the Greek neon artist Stephen Antonakos, he participated in a film competition for the 2011 Gabby Awards. Latos was one of the three finalists out of 24 competitors in the country. He was then invited to attend the Gabby Awards on Ellis Island on June 4, 2011, and announced winner for the best short film on the famous Greek artist. Latos is currently pursuing a degree in Film Studies and Production at Hofstra University, but intends to transfer to NYU or USC to complete his studies.
“I knew this was what I wanted, I could feel it in my blood.” – D. Latos
Exclusive Q&A with the next Michael Bay
1.) When did your interest in the Filmmaking business begin?
“I was around eight years old and I was always fascinated with movies. I would go to the movies with my father and brother all the time and pepper my dad with questions about how things were done, how these effects would be applied and what type of camera was being used. My dad would answer what he could, but he only knew so much. When I was nine I began making shorts on my first cell phone. Then eventually got a handy cam. Now I’m shooting on massive cameras and changing lenses. As my talent has progressed, so has the professionalism of my projects.”
2.) Which projects have you been involved with and what are you currently working on?
“I worked on many digital shorts when I was younger. I’ve made a few music videos, commercials and a few short films. I entered my first film competition for the New York Greek Film festival, a nationwide competition. I was one of the top three finalists and invited to have my film screened. This is how I met Greg Pappas, founder of the Greek America foundation. These opportunities helped me create valuable connections. I was also introduced to Jim Gianopulos, currently the CEO of FOX Filmed Entertainment in Los Angeles, Academy Award Actress Olympia Dukakis, and Kary Antholis who is the President of HBO Miniseries.”
3.) Where do you plan to be in the next 5 years?
“I plan on living in Los Angeles and working hard to become a successful action film director.”
4.) What steps have you taken to prepare yourself in the flim industry? And are you considering graduate school?
“I applied to New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, one of the world’s most prestigious film schools to take summer classes for college credit. I was admitted to the NYU program in Dublin, Ireland for an intensive course, producing six projects. The following summer of my senior year I applied to the New York Film Academy and took an advanced four-week course in filmmaking. I do plan on going to graduate school. I want my MFA degree from USC, NYU, or UCLA.”
5.) Who has been a role model in your life and why?
“My father. He has shown me what it means to be driven and that hard work pays off. He has always told me to never listen to what anyone says and to follow my dreams to make them come true. He believes in me and that anything you set your mind to is possible. There’s nothing in this world that’s impossible. He taught me to never give up and to follow my heart to become a film director.”
6.) Where in Greece is your family from?
“My mom was born in Constantinople,Turkey and my father is from the island of Kefalonia.”
7.) Which film director has influenced your work and why?
“My favorite film director is Michael Bay. He’s the best at making action films. He made some of the most successful action films in Hollywood and all of his films have grossed over $1 billion worldwide. I have pictures of him shooting in my room, on my phone and on my computer. Some may call it obsessive. I call it looking up to someone you want to be like. He’s the man I want to be, but I will make a name for myself: Dennis Latos. He’s tenacious, he’s motivated, and he’s currently the highest paid film director in Hollywood. He was rejected from the nation’s top film school USC, which is the school I was rejected from but he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dreams. He has been a big influence in all my films because I like his style of shooting and he uses effective editing methods. He found his voice. Now I need to find mine.”
8.) If you could give some advice to young Greek-Americans who want to accomplish their dreams, what would it be?
“Simply do what your heart tells you. Everyone drives his or her own car in life. You control where you end up. No one else does. You need to be aggressive in anything you do. You have to want it. You need to be a hustler and go out and give 110-percent. You can’t let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your goals. Believe in yourself and be persistent. Never ever give up because one day we will all get to where we want to be. I set goals for myself every week and I make sure those goals are reached.”