THE BRONX – Luis 'Macho' Miranda has had a creative mind since the very beginning of his life.
"As a kid I was always writing stories," Miranda said. "When I was a kid I had my class believing I was dying of West Nile virus."
But even at the age of six, Macho as he's more commonly known, knew it wasn't enough.
So he took his storytelling to the next level. This time, bringing it to life on camera.
"I used to make up scenes with my toys," he recalled. "I used to borrow my mom's camera and make little movies."
Macho has made dozens of short films. Ask him which one's he's most proud of, and he'll likely reply with "That One Day."
The two-minute short film focuses on domestic violence.
It's been entered in nine New York film festivals, including Long Beach.
"There's nothing like siting in a theater that's dark with a crowd of people that you don't know, and they're reacting to something that you put together," he said. "And they're reacting the way that you thought they would react. There's nothing like that."
The Long Beach International Film Festival launched four years ago.
Since then, it's given up-and-coming artists like Macho, a fighting chance.
Not only is it cheaper to enter than the bigger festivals but you don't need to know someone who knows someone to get noticed.
The festival features more than 80 films about a dozen from the tri-state.
- To see the full list of Long Beach International Film Festival's movies, click here.
When asked if he ever felt discouraged in pursuing his dream, Macho gave an earnest response: "Everyday!"
"I think that's part of it," he said. "That's part of the whole process. But you just have to push through that."
It's a life lesson Macho is reminded everyday and one he tries to pass down.
Just last year – he helped a group of high schoolers make their film-making dreams come true in a zombie short film.
"They handled that really, really well," he said. "They took in the moment and were like 'ahh.' They were really good!"
Macho Miranda is a Puerto Rican, independent film director, born in the Bronx, and raised in the South Bronx, Highbridge area, by his single parent mother, Nydia Perez.
He is active within the civil rights community, and has begun after school film programs in the Bronx and Brooklyn in an effort to support the youth in his community by encouraging a passion for the arts.
He is currently finishing a documentary on the late, great, Joe Cuba, the Father of the Boogaloo, and the man responsible for introducing English lyrics to Latin Music in America, breaking cultural barriers.
Macho Miranda prides himself in being able to direct powerful, thought provoking films and produce engaging film projects on shoe string budgets.