Our executive leadership team oversees all of the LAPIFF efforts. The committee meets regularly to ensure that all of our teams perform efficiently and to facilitate cross-functional connections.
Founder | Chairman of the Board
Abe Pagtama, started taking acting classes, in the early 1970’s after he served in the U.S. Air Force, using his GI Bill, he Attended Theater Of Arts, and Strasberg Acting Academy in LA. After that, he started doing Small Theater, in LA, during that time, he also started doing atmosphere work, during the Black Exploitation Movies. He even worked in Roger Corman Movies. After that he went back to the Service, this time the U.S. Army.
He did not get back into acting until early 1980’s this time again doing extra work, with Central Casting, he was a regular extra, in General Hospital, Cagney and Lacy, Hunter and also was a casted and finally able to join AFTRA and SAG, when he was on the The Gary Shandling Show where he was sent a script, to be a principal in a TV show.
Again he quit acting for 10 years, until he was casted in a feature movie called, “The Flip Side” Directed by Rod Pulido,1999, the 1st Filipino American movie that was accepted in to theSundance Film Festival. He was also cast in the movie “Debut”, directed by Gene Cajayon. Since then he stayed in the acting business, doing mostly commercials, he was cast in a Super Bowl Pepsi commercial in 2006, upstaged by Janet Jackson’s braziers malfunction.
Lately he has been acting regularly in commercials and feature movies in Hollywood and in the Philippines, he also has started producing movies.
In 2016, he was casted in the commercial entitled “Tech Teddy”, on Spectrum Cable TV, working along side Saturday Night Live star, Kevin Nealon. He has also just finish shooting a feature length movie called “Stateside” and “Unlovable”
As well as a member of FilAm Creative.
Founder | Board Member | President
Founder | Board Member
Founder | Board Member
Gabe Pagtama was born in Shape, Belgium and grew up in Los Angeles, California. He attended Saint Monica’s Catholic high school in Santa Monica, California and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Loyola Marymount University where he had an emphasis in Information Systems and Quantitative Management. His initial fascination with film came at a very early age realizing that stories could be told on camera. In addition his friends and family were in the entertainment industry. Two of the major influences were his father (a lifelong actor that has been on the Conan O’Brien Show and has worked with Actor’s such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves, Kim Basinger and the list goes on) and his sister who has been a career producer (her two latest projects were both Emmy Nominated “Project Runway” and “Top Chef”).
Gabe Pagtama has worked in front of the camera as well as behind the camera. He has worked as an actor, writer, producer, director, and editor, which have offered multiple perspectives of the industry. His career started off at the tender age of 7 working with renowned Actor, Producer, and Director Kevin Costner in the motion picture “No Way Out”. Immediately following that he was featured on a number of television series from “Highway to Heaven,” “Max Headroom,” “Crossing Jordan”, “Monk”, NBC Series “Las Vegas”, CBS Series “How I Met Your Mother”, and the ABC Series “Castle”. He has also been on the “Conan O’Brien Show” as well as acted in numerous independent films. Amongst his many projects, he is also an Alumni of Visual Communications Armed With a Camera Fellowship for his documentary movie (Hooptown International 2006).
Gabe Pagtama’s experience behind the camera started at the age of 8 where at which time he was using a VHS camera and was taught how to clip and edit the footage from his dad. Following that he continued to learn from his father about film all the way up until high school. In high school, with saved money from his first job, he purchased a HI-8 3 CHIP camera and enrolled in various editing classes and workshops and was able to produced his first documentary film on landlord tenant laws for business law class.
Gabe Pagtama has marketed some of the worlds top major brands and once was fortunate to be on the promotion teams for the top radio stations in Southern California like KKBT 92.3 The Beat and 102.7 KIIS FM, he is an entrepreneur, author and filmmaker.
Since then he has further continued his education, skills and experience having hundreds of projects under his belt. Throughout the evolution of our ever-changing technology Mr. Pagtama has upgraded his camera equipment and softwares. Throughout his career he has received numerous acknowledgements and awards. The most recent being the “Golden Halo Award” for Directing, New Digital Media & Social Media Marketing presented to him by the Film Advisor Board and the Southern California Motion Picture Council, established in 1936. The same award given in the past to the great John Wayne.
Sweeney Mae Montinola
Board Member | Vice President of Marketing
Marc Anthony Nicolas
Marc Anthony Nicolas is ranked #1 in the list of the “75 Most Influential Filipino-Americans of 2016.” He is an Emmy award-winning producer on “The Talk” on CBS. He began his career as a booking producer on “The Tyra Banks Show” and a casting producer for “MTV Network.” He was recently named “TV Producer of the Year” by the Filipino Press Club of California.
Atty. Abraham Lim
Dr. Lora Bofill
A native of West Virginia, Lora’s foray into acting started in theatre. From her first role as a tree at the age of 6, she went on to do summer stock, college, community, and professional theatre. Settling into Washington DC, she booked her first on-camera role on a national commercial for AOL. Numerous other commercials, industrial videos, voiceover, independent film, and TV roles soon followed.
She was a film critic and television co-host for the local DC cable TV entertainment show “Eclipse Magazine,” and she continued to work in theatre, performing with Woolly Mammoth Theatre/Young Playwright’s Theatre, Education and Entertainment Foundation in DC, Asian Stories In America Theatre and QBD Ink Theatre, along with other theaters in the Midwest, including Gallery Players in Columbus, Ohio.
Lora decided to move to Los Angeles to focus on film and television. In 2012, she was selected as a best performer for the online web site StarCast Auditions which seeks up and coming talent in Hollywood. She continues to perform as a company member of the Ruskin Theatre Group in Santa Monica, CA, where she has both acted and directed. She has also reunited with Eclipse Magazine as their LA correspondent where she interviews producers, show runners, directors, and celebrities for the online version of Eclipse Magazine.
Aside from acting, she has recently crossed over into producing. Using her experience as a film critic and filmmaking classes at the New York Film Academy in LA, CA, she makes her producer debut on the comedic short film “Game Of Scones”.
Dr. Tita Pambid
TITA PAMBID has more than 25 years of theater, television and film experience. She started her acting career in the Philippines when she trained under the Philippine Educational Theater Association-Central Institute of Theater Arts in Southeast Asia in 1972. In 1991-1992, she took a year-long full-time program in theater arts at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in Los Angeles.
From 1979-1989, she did various roles for the yearly season and national tours of Bulwagang Gantimpala (Hall of Winners), theater arm of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Her productions include: I Want a Wife (1990) First Sino-American International Women’s Conference, Beijing, China; Bakwet (Evacuation) (1991), Los Angeles Children’s Museum, Ramona Reyes of Forbes Park (1991) Asian Pacific Museum, Pasadena, California. Mainstay in Roberta, a daily soap opera, and To Each His Own, a weekly TV sitcom in the Philippines; Co-Writer, director, actor, “Voices of Immigrant Workers.” MIWON VIGIL (Multi-Ethnic Immigrant Working Organizing Network) (2002); actor, “Flipzoids,” (2005) at the Marilyn Monroe Performance Space, Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, LA. Her work in film includes Ianfu, a 15-minute feature film on Filipino comfort women during World War II, as actor, associate director, researcher, co-writer. It won first prize in the 1993 CCP Award for Alternative Film and Video and a Special Jury Award for Short Narrative at the 37th San Francisco International Film Festival (1994). Her other awards and recognition include the following: nominated in the 1983 Aliw Awards (Entertainment) for best supporting performer for stage for her role in Sandaang Panaginip (A Hundred Dreams), CCP’s entry to the Asian Theatre Festival and Conference in Manila; Best Director, Virgo Awards 1997 for‑”Grandma’s Diary,” Manila Actors Studio and the City of Carson, Cal State Dominguez Hills (1996), Best Director, Virgo Awards 1998 for “Gabi ng mga Bayani” (Night of Heroes), Puro Arte Gallery & Performance Space, Los Angeles (1997); 2013 PAA Royal Morales Community Achievement Award from the Pilipino Alumni Association (PAA) of UCLA; Community Arts Award given by Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture (FilAm ARTS) (2014).
She teaches Filipino language and culture at UCLA. She also gives drama and art-therapy workshops for battered and sexually-abused women for healing and empowerment during summers in the Philippines sponsored by University of the Philippines, Gender Office.
Grace Borrero Moss
Grace Moss is the Director of Talent Development & Inclusion for NBC Entertainment. In this role, she oversees multiple programs that focus on discovering, cultivating and showcasing talented writers and directors of diverse backgrounds, with the objective of getting them staffed on NBC’s scripted programs. Grace also manages nationwide outreach efforts and develops relationships with community partners, such as the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Coalition of Asian Pacific’s in Entertainment and East West Players. Before coming to NBC, Grace a Development Executive at the Style Network, where she oversaw new series in production, from initial pitch to delivery. Prior to her stint at the Style Network, Grace worked as a Producer and Director on a plethora of unscripted shows on a variety of networks, including MTV, VH1, TLC and NBC.
Grace has been actively involved with numerous organizations, including Asian Pacific Americans @NBCUniversal, where she serves as a Hub Leader, and Filipino Hollywood Mafia, where she acts as the Co-Chair. She was a selected participant for Comcast’s Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP), Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Rising Leaders Program, the National Association of Multiethnicities in Communications (NAMIC) Leadership Seminar and, most recently, the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute Corporate Athlete Training Program. She also received Comcast’s Ingenuity Award in 2008 for her contributions to the Style Network.
Grace graduated from UCLA with a BA in English and Minor in Asian American Studies.
Born in the Philippines and raised in Los Angeles, Marissa Castro-Salvati is currently a Government Relations Manager with Southern California Edison’s Local Public Affairs. She formerly served as the Director of the Office of Asian & Pacific Affairs for then Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. She has extensive political staff experience with major campaigns, such Presidential candidates U.S. Senator Paul Simon, Governor Michael Dukakis and former President Bill Clinton. Marissa was Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointee previously to the Board of Civil Service Commission and the Board of Taxi Cab Commission.
Marissa is influential in a number of programs and groups being started in the community. In the late 80s, she and a handful of API community activists saw the need to establish the Asian Pacific Community Fund, a United Way-like agency to serve the needs of the API community based organizations. In the summer of 1993, Marissa and a close colleague founded and launched the first internship program of its kind in the Pilipino American community (statewide and nationwide) – Summer Program for Empowerment and Leadership (SPEL). She is a proud Co-Founder of the first domestic violence transitional housing in the Asian Pacific community for women and their families – Asian Pacific Women’s Center (APWC), as well as Asian Pacific American Legislative Staffers (APALS).
She currently serves on non-profit Boards of Asian Youth Center and East Los Angeles College Foundation. She served on the Board of a number of community-based organizations such as: Koreatown Youth and Community Center, Chinatown Service Center, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (Past President), Asian Pacific Community Fund (Founding Member & Past President), International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (Former Chair and Past President), Asian Pacific Women’s Center (Founding Member) and Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles (Past Vice President, former Chair of Public Affairs Committee), as well as business/chambers of commerce Boards like, Asian Business League (Former Chair and Past President), Central City Assn., Valley Industry and Chamber Assn., and Alhambra (Past President), Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos (Vice Pres.), Lakewood (Past President), Montebello, & Rosemead Chambers of Commerce.
Marissa has been awarded numerous achievements for what she has accomplished and to name a few: Selected as one of the 2014 Business Life Magazine Women Achievers, one of the inaugural “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the Nation” in 2007 by a national organization (Filipina Women’s Network), 2005 Community Service Awardee for Search to Involve Pilipino Americans; 2005 Public Advocate Awardee for Filipino American Chamber of Commerce – Orange County; 1999 The American Council of Young Political Leaders Delegate; 1992 "Women For:" Achievement Awardee along with other prominent women such as Linda Bloodworth-Thomason; Honoree for the 1994 Asian Pacific Family Center, etc.
Marissa lends her voice to public service announcements, commercials and commentaries. She has hosted special shows produced by KSCI-TV and International Channel Network (i.e. Mt. Pinatubo Telethon, Special Philippine Elections, etc.), and has been a guest on radio and television talk shows. She also has been one of the selected spokespersons for past SCE television public service commercials.
While attending UCLA, Marissa was actively involved in Samahang Pilipino throughout her years in UCLA at which she was one of the founders of the Pilipino Cultural Night. Marissa was also involved in the campus student government, Forensics (Oratorical) team, Bruin Belles, International Advisor to exchange students, and a one-year stint with the marching band.
Lolita Frialde Bandong
Lolita is a long-time active community leader. Currently, she’s a member of the board of Kalayaan Incorporated (KI), Jose P. Rizal Monument project and also a gold donor of both, and Philippine Disaster Relief Organization (PeDRO). She was Ginang Kalayaan of KI in 2014. Lolita served several terms as president of Philippine Arts Council at the then-Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, was past president of L.A. Maharlika Lions Club and San Jacinto Association of California. She’s very active as lector and choir member at her parish, Christ the King Church. She loves the arts, opera and watching Roger Federer, her favorite tennis champion.