Carlos M. Leon
From Havana to Hollywood
Carlos Manuel Leon, founder of the CML Media and Entertainment Group, was born in Havana, Cuba, in the summer of 1983. His family left the island, ruled by an oppressive regime and emigrated to the United States in 1985. ...The Leon's came to the United States in pursuit of freedom and a dream, a dream that would never escape the young Carlos.
From a very young age, Carlos showed an interest for the camera, electronic media and the arts. He started by filming several family events, schools functions and other events with the family's 8mm film camera. During his formative years, the young Carlos excelled in several leadership positions in school. At the age of 14 he was named the editor in chief of the school newspaper at his Junior High School. His peers elected him as the "Most Likely to Succeed." An ominous declaration in the school's yearbook, that would serve as a foretelling of greater things to come. His classmates and teachers would soon learn that this young man was destined to fulfill a bigger and greater dream than any of them could have imagined.
At the onset of the Internet age, Carlos, by this time fifteen years of age, founded a Cuban-American website that garnered the attention of several Spanish-language publications in Los Angeles and Miami including the nationally acclaimed "Miami Herald" and several Southern California newspapers. Soon thereafter, he went on to launch a Spanish online news site called "Oye! Gente" that would cover several ground-breaking news stories and was featured in several periodicals, radio stations and websites around the United States and the Spanish-speaking world!
Not quite out of his teens, Carlos packed his bags, took out a loan and without a vehicle or any acquaintances in the area moved across country to attend Full Sail University; one of the United States' top multimedia institutions located in Orlando, Florida. This experience exposed Carlos to a new panoply of industry friends and contacts, fun memories and projects as the genesis of his childhood dreams where coalescing into the mature young media entrepenuer he was destined to become.
in 2003, he graduated with a degree in Film and Video and almost immediately began a production company from scratch. Without any resources or outside funding, he began making websites and videos from the corner of a room in his parent's modest mobile home. He placed his company's first advertisements on a local directory and with this small leap of faith, he began to acquire his first local clients, including a multi-national firm. It was also during this time that the first local television commercials were produced and aired. This was the beginning of CML Productions.
With his first clients, he diversified and expanded operations to include event planning and organization. Soon he branched out to include partners as he started to organize street fairs, concerts and other public venues in his hometown. It was also at this time that Carlos would use his talents as a video and multimedia specialist to open up his first commercial production facility. In a very short time hereafter, the ambitious young man, just shy of his 23rd birthday, then opened his full-service video and photography studio in Hollywood, California: CML Studios.
In 2006, Carlos Leon also launched a Spanish online entertainment channel from Universal City-Walk in Hollywood, California called "Gentevision". The online channel pioneered and covered some of the biggest Latin celebrities and events from Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico including the Oscars and the Billboard Awards.
In 2009 and 2010, CML Studios became an official media sponsor of the Billboard Awards and covered the event side by side with other major media companies from around the United States and Latin America.
In a very short time, the first CML Studios grew from an empty warehouse with a couple of lights and a desk, into a full production company producing a range of multimedia projects with high-profile clients such as Sony, VH1, Fox Sports, Discovery Channel and NBC. Other national and international clients would soon hail from as far as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Dubai. Some celebrity clients working with CML Studios have included Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins, rap legend Too Short, DJ Quick, Benji Madden, Taking Back Sunday, Hot Hot Heat and many others.
In 2008, Carlos Leon, the Entrepreneur, Studio Owner and Producer was named one of "America's Best Entrepreneurs under 25" by BusinessWeek Magazine and suggested that he would be a important media developer by calling him a "media mogul in the making." He was published in countless publications around the world.
(BusinessWeek, founded in 1929, is one of the oldest and most respected financial publications. In it’s fourth year, the "America"s Best Entrepreneurs under 25" list profiles young successful entrepreneurs 25 years and younger. The list was narrowed down from hundreds of submittions by various successful businessmen including Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson and their staff.)
Carlos Leon's childhood dream is quickly becoming a reality.
In recent years he has forged an important media conglomerate with various companies involved in the production of several film, television, and music projects. Others have included modeling and artist's management services. Each day, Carlos pursues his dreams, with admirable drive, tremendous hard work, commendable dedication and relentless perseverance.
As Carlos continues to climb in the world of entertainment he established for himself a goal last year:
After divesting himself of his first production studio, Leon would sell it and use the proceeds and new capital to open a new studio and production center. He would establish for himself a deadline that would culminate in opening his new facilities on October the tenth, two thousand ten! 10 - 10 -10.
An immigrant success story, a dream realized and the beginning of a force in the entertainment industry.