Film director and scriptwriter Franc. Reyes was the recipient of the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2002 ALMA Awards. He made his auspicious debut with the hit “Empire” (2002), which starred John Leguizamo. His second film, “Illegal Tender” (2007), brought stars Rick Gonzalez and Wanda De Jesus nominations at the 2008 Imagen Awards. Reyes again cast Leguizamo for his third film, “The Ministers” (2009). Prior to entering the cinematic industry, the Bronx raised Reyes was a dancer and choreographer in New York City and enjoyed significant success as a songwriter in the early 1990s with the hits “Together Forever,” “A Day In My Life Without You” (both sung by Lisette Melendez) and “Temptation” (sung by Corina).
Childhood and Family:
Franc. Reyes was raised in the South Bronx in New York City. He is of Puerto Rican lineage.
Franc. Reyes first entered the entertainment business as a dancer and choreographer and became a top choreographer in New York. In 1990, Reyes broke into the music industry as a songwriter. Within two years, he had produced hit singles for singer Lisette Melendez called “Together Forever” and “A Day In My Life Without You” (both 1991) and a dance hit for Corina, a singer from Manhattan, New York, called “Temptation” (also 1991), which peaked at No 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. He subsequently set up King Reyes Music and signed a publishing contract with E.M.I Publishing.
1993 saw Reyes contribute to Brian DePalma's thriller “Carlito's Way” where he was asked to stage the club sequences of the movie. Shortly after, he focused his attention on screenwriting and produced a string of screenplays, including “In The Deep South” (1996), which was about political corruption in the South Bronx. In addition to writing the script, Reyes also directed the short movie, which starred Jon Seda and Lauren Velez.
Eventually, Reyes emerged as a motion picture writer and director with “Empire,” a thriller starring John Leguizamo, Peter Sarsgaard, Delilah Cotto, Denise Richards and Isabella Rossellini. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2002, the film became the highest grossing film at the festival and landed Reyes a deal with Universal Pictures in 2003. When asked what inspired him to make this film, Reyes replied, “I knew a few of friends who I was losing rapidly to the crack situation and I don’t think these types of stories weren’t being told. Some may like it that these guys in the film are perceived to be likeable. I know when my boys died and I was over the casket. I was crying. So those guys were likeable to me. They have to likeable for you in order for me to explain the story the way I want to.”
Reyes resurfaced in 2005 with scripts for the Pepper Negron directed short “Beauty,” which starred Megan Corry, Lauren Martin and Joseph Melendez. Two years later, he put on the director's and writer's hat for the flashback sequence “Illegal Tender” (2007), a drama starring Rick Gonzalez as a young Latino who flees his home with his mother (played by Wanda De Jesus) after gangsters who killed his father come looking for him. Under Reyes’ direction, Gonzalez and De Jesus received Imagen nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress. He also helped Tego Calderon net an Imagen nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Film.
Recently, Reyes was reunited with John Leguizamo for his crime film “The Ministers” (2009). The film also starred Florencia Lozano, Diane Venora and Harvey Keitel. He also wrote the script and served as a producer for the movie.
“I just did a deal with Universal to do another two pictures and I’m actually preparing one now called ‘Ceramic Life.’ I’m in the middle of finishing the screenplay. That story is about an aging pop female superstar who becomes fatally obsessed with a fan.”
ALMA: Emerging Filmmaker Award, 2002