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Jonathan Rola

Jonathan Rola (born June 22, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an Independent, Luso-American (Portuguese American) Filmmaker.

"Filmmaking, the way I see it: When one begins the journey that is filmmaking they have no preconceived notion of the kinds of problems and pitfalls that will materialize along the way. This brings to mind the term guerrilla filmmaking, which is a term I’m very familiar with. It’s also used to describe a group of rebel filmmakers who will do whatever it takes to tell their story. Some, like me, begin with a short film and gain experience – learning along the way. I truly hope that people will feel and appreciate my work. It is, after all, our responsibility as filmmakers to provide quality films that will move and inspire others.

I hope my films will demonstrate that life has real meaning and purpose. That despite all the conflict and pain, it's not a mistake."

Jonathan Rola is a Luso-American Writer and Director born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. Shortly after a brief stint in Film School, Jonathan decided to rebel and take a risk, and in 2000 co-founded Lola Productions with childhood best-friend and filmmaker Michael Leary.  

Through the production company, Jonathan directed and edited various music videos, some of which were televised on MTV and Urban Expressions; an experience no classroom could offer. In 2002 he won the Philadelphia Best Hip Hop Video Award.  

Early the following year Jonathan sat down to write his first short film, “Safe As Milk” which was an official selection at the New York Independent Film Festival.  

Then during the summer of 2005 Jonathan was sought after to direct Sunstar Productions feature film, “Sons of Italy” which starred Sean Kanan, the film was shot entirely in Roma and Napoli, Italia.

While in the beginning stages of developing his own production company, Jonathan sat down to write his first feature film and in 2007 released “The Matter with Clark”, which was yet again an official selection at the New York Independent Film Festival.   

With a number of projects under his wing Jonathan has been able piece together the fundamentals that
make filmmaking such a personal process and journey with Rola Cinema. A Non-Profit Motion Picture Production Group that is a community and collaborative effort for and by independent filmmakers who are dedicated to an innovative and minimalist approach to filmmaking. For Jonathan this has always been a passion of his and has always been possible even without the budget and backing of a Hollywood Studio.

Jonathan has gathered as few as six and as many as nineteen filmmakers who currently produce various other films and solo projects in and around Philadelphia, Rola Cinema provides a place where filmmakers can network, discuss and bring their projects to fruition.  

Jonathan currently continues to direct music videos and commercials and is in the process of co-writing his second feature film, “Delicate Passengers” with writer Samuel Cooper. 

The Philadelphia Portuguese Heritage Commission is proud to shine the spotlight on this very talented writer and director of Luso-American Heritage from Philadelphia.
Jonathan Rola and  Michael Leary co-founders of Lola Productions

"The Matter with Clark" Premiere at the New York Independent Film Festival Left to right; Michael Leary (Cinematographer, Co-Producer), Timothy Weinert (Actor), Jonathan Rola (Writer/Director/Co-Producer) and Jamie Layden (Actor). 

Jonathan Rola and his father Domingos Rola. Jonathan was presented with an award by the Portuguese American Professional Business Association of Philadelphia for all of his accomplishments.

Short Film "A Walk with Harry" A Rola Cinema Production. Left to Right; Michael J. Warner (Actor), Samuel Cooper (Production Assistant) and Jonathan Rola (Writer/Director)

The Matter with Clark 2006 Slate - Michael Leary (Cinematographer, Co-Producer) and Jonathan Rola (Writer/Director/Co-Producer) for Iano Films.