1994 grad’s film takes on poverty, gang life

January 25, 2016

Arturo1Today is a big day for actor and film producer Arturo Muyshondt ’94. His new film “The Pastor” debuts at 400 theaters nationwide, including two in Fort Worth — Ridgmar 13 and Hulen Movie Tavern — and four in Dallas.

The film is billed as “a gritty, strong-messaged, gang thriller,” and it has personal meaning for Muyshondt, who grew up amid a violent civil war in El Salvador. He also conducted much of his research for the film in United States cities with gang activity and jails in the U.S. and Central America.

The movie draws from his own life. Muyshondt plays the title character who is a former gang leader in Brooklyn who survives a knife attack in prison and then discovers his faith in God while in solitary confinement. Upon his release, he becomes a pastor, finding his true purpose, and seeks to serve underprivileged youth of the community to steer them away from the gang life he once led.

Turf wars ignite between two prominent gangs, and the new-found pastor finds himself and his growing community targets. Will he maintain his faith or turn back to the cold-blooded killer he once was.

“The film and my character have taken a life of its own as they relate to my personal story,” said Muyshondt, who also wrote and produced the film.

He’s also a global spokesman. Earlier this month, the United Nations invited him to speak at its conference on Poverty, Inequality and Social Violence. Afterward, he showed the film to audiences in his native El Salvador.

Muyshondt’s interest in acting and filmmaking dates back as far as 12 years old, when he created short films in El Salvador.

But it wasn’t until 2003 when he really tried his hand at acting after a successful but tiring career as an investment banker in Miami, where he worked for Dresdner Bank AG, a German financial conglomerate. After advising governments, banks and corporations in Latin America and structuring investment products for wealthy clients, he wanted something new and began acting training at Coconut Grove Playhouse.

By 2007, he launched his own production company WolfGang Cinema and went to Los Angeles to intensify his new career at The Joanne Baron Studio. His goal: Establish himself as a leading Hispanic producer in Hollywood.

Today, Muyshondt has turned WGC into a cross-cultural enterprise, producing films that focus on a multicultural audience.