A viral video featuring Journey's Filipino frontman Arnel Pineda performing for an American embassy official in his homeland inspired filmmaker Ramona Diaz to turn the rocker's rags-to-riches story into a new documentary.
Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey, which will be released later this month (Mar13), features Pineda's audition process for the band and his first two years as the rock supergroup's frontman.
And Diaz admits she started following the hopeful's amazing journey from covers band to the real thing after spotting a video of Pineda performing for the embassy official in the Philippines, who granted the singer his visa to travel to America.
The director tells Wenn, "There are always these emails that circulate in certain communities and this email became viral. It was written by the immigration officer at the American Embassy in the Philippines who gave Arnel his visa to come to the U.S. to audition for Journey.
"He was a big Journey fan, so when Arnel comes up to his window he couldn't believe it and asked him to sing Wheel In the Sky. At the bottom of this email was the very same link (Journey star) Neal (Schon) saw, which alerted him to Arnel's existence and talent. I clicked on the link and there was Arnel singing Faithfully.
"I said, 'I have got to make this film'. We filmed for a span of two years - his first summer with the Revelation tour with the band in '08, his first album with Journey and then we followed him back to the Philippines twice and also spent time with the Journey guys."
Diaz had hoped to land a rare interview with Journey's original singer Steve Perry - so she could ask him what he thought about Pineda, but she quickly realised that was not going to happen.
She explains, "We had to clear rights for the music so we had to get in touch through his (Perry's) lawyers. I had always thought at the end of the process that I was gonna interview him and then realised, being with the guys for three years, that the history with Journey was so complicated that it deserves its own film. This film is about Arnel so anything with Steve would have overshadowed that.
"I still hope he sees the film. I think he'd like it. They're all like divorced parents who share custody of their songs so they'll never really be apart or out of touch with each others' lives."