The Strategic Artist
Making filmmaking his business is the future for DUO Entertainment co-director Scott Aharoni ’16
Now more than ever, creative minds are expected to possess business savvy. Writers with large followings on social media immediately have an upper hand with publishers. Vloggers who nab YouTube subscriptions by the thousands can expect more career opportunities in the digital realm. And a filmmaker who builds his own brand impresses more than a quiet visionary.
Aharoni has valued the importance of business in his creativity from his early days at Great Neck South High School. Once he was handed his first camera, Aharoni started his upward grind — filming music videos of fellow students and establishing his own production company.
The next logical step for the aspiring director after graduation was the LHSC.
“CBS Spotlight: Breaking Into Showbiz With DUO Entertainment” • January 24, 2018 • DUO Entertainment co-directors Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos have a passion for telling stories. Scott and Dennis seek a distribution deal and they discuss their next step — embarking on a major feature film.
“I came in knowing I wanted to be a film director,” Aharoni, a summa cum laude graduate from the B.S. in TV/Film program and Hofstra Honors College, said. “My first year I saw the Hofstra Film Festival the LHSC holds every year. I said ‘that’s what I want to do, and that’s what I want to win.’ I want to win the best film, I want to win best director, I want to win best producer. And I ended up doing everything I set out to do in the process.”
Aharoni honed his craft for four years with the help of professors such as Rodney Hill, Ph.D., and Bill Jennings. He knew that in order to launch his directing career, he’d need to produce the best short film possible, and that polishing his vision wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of LHSC’s faculty and facilities.
“If you use the LHSC and professors here, use their knowledge and allow them to make you better, you’ll grow as a filmmaker and as a person,” Aharoni said. “Bill Jennings challenged me and helped me make crucial decisions in my creative process. And Rodney Hill’s ability to think outside the box and to break down films allowed me to take skill into my own work and make me a better director.”
By the conclusion of his senior year, Aharoni’s short film Bardo reached every goal he’d set out to achieve. At Hofstra’s 20th annual Film Festival, Aharoni’s film won best director, best editor, best producer, best in show and the Golden Lion award. From there the film entered the festival circuit in 2017, winning Best in Show at the Snowtown Film Festival and Best Independent Spirit at the Sedona International Film Festival. The film was featured in over 20 international film festivals, with 8 wins and 3 nominations.
The acclaim that the film received earned Aharoni and his directing partner, Dennis Latos, a distribution deal with ShortsTV — a subsidiary of AMC.
“It allowed us to set ourselves up for the next film,” Aharoni said. “Everything we learned from Bardo allowed us to take the next step, which is the Academy-qualifying film festivals.” DUO Entertainment’s second short film, The Untimely Gift, will premiere at the Bermuda International Film Festival, which is an Academy-qualifying film festival. As a finalist in the Oscars competition, Aharoni and Latos can potenially qualify for the Academy Awards.”
With two acclaimed short films under their belts, Aharoni and Latos are looking for their next project, a feature film. With the help of manager Nico Anthony, Aharoni touts the value of embracing the future of creative marketing, especially toward the ultimate goal of feature filmmaking.
“Just because you’re a genius artist doesn’t mean your work will get out there,” Aharoni said. “There is so much more involved to take a career from an artistic side to a money-making one. There’s a business side, that requires you to be very strategic. Transferring your artistic ability and understanding it is a business. All that matters is you have to get the world to see your work.”