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In His Role as Jeff Bezos, Miamian Armando Gutierrez Is the Star and Co-producer of a New Movie Tracing Amazon’s Genesis

“The goal was just to inspire people to be entrepreneurial,” explains Gutierrez, regarding the film’s raison d'être. “It's about hope. It's about dreaming for something bigger.”

Before he was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, took a trip to space, was publicly outed for adultery and—most notably—before Forbes magazine included him in on its 1999 World’s Billionaires list for amassing a fortune then valued at more than $10 billion dollars, Jeff Bezos was just a guy with a brilliant idea.

Sure, he had a degree from Princeton (he headed north after attending Miami Palmetto Senior High School), above-average intelligence and a super-supportive spouse to boot, but his drive was the X factor that never was sufficiently excavated, until now. Bezos: The Beginning, starring and co-produced by Miamian Armando Gutierrez, zeroes in on what it took for Amazon’s founder to launch one of the world’s most valuable and influential brands; the narrative ends just as a customer places the first order.

“The goal was just to inspire people to be entrepreneurial,” explains Gutierrez, regarding the film’s raison d’être. “It’s about hope. It’s about dreaming for something bigger.”

Born in Miami, Gutierrez earned a graduate degree in management by attending a Harvard University extension program. He has already produced, and occasionally starred in, a number of films, including Walt Before Mickey (2015), The Mad Hatter (2021), Anastasia: Once Upon a Time (2020), and A New York Christmas Wedding (2020), currently streaming on Netflix. As a producer he has been tasked with everything from hiring people and scouting locations, to finding distributors, attracting key actors and employees, and raising money from investors who buy into his vision. In some ways, the steps required to make a film are similar to what Bezos endured when he started Amazon.

In the film, Gutierrez walks the audience through the universal business lessons Bezos learns along his path as he struggles with work/life balance, faces those who feel threatened or baffled by his aspirations, and evolves from working for a boss to becoming one. The film also portrays the former Amazon CEO bumbling at times, at one point lacking the ability to properly valuate his company and periodically coming up with puerile company names that never resonated.

Also sprinkled throughout are flashbacks to when young Bezos receives nuggets of wisdom from his grandfather, and Gutierrez says there is an unspoken undercurrent of knowledge gleaned from his Cuban stepfather, Miguel “Mike” Bezos, played by Emilio Estefan: “The work ethic: Be kind in everything you do.”

Since Amazon’s founding in 1995, the public has become more familiar about Bezos’ ideologies, some of which are highlighted in the film. These include his insistence on Amazon being customer-centric (which he refers to as “customer obsession”) and his thoughts on living with a “regret-minimization framework,” the latter looming large on screen. “I think that’s the fundamental thing that he looks into before he decides whether he wants to take on a project and if he’s got what it takes to lead it,” Gutierrez explains.

Though the star has never met Bezos, he shares his appreciation for the titan who now enjoys a reported net worth of more than $125 billion. “He definitely, you know, can be charming. He can be strong. He can be a genius. I mean, the keys to get to that level of success, you got to be able to balance everything,” Gutierrez says. “I respect what he did. I think [audiences will] respect what he did even more. When they see what he had to get through they will understand.”

Audiences also can expect to see Gutierrez’s name in rolling credits again and again, as he is currently exploring numerous projects. After winning the award for best actor at the Chandler Film Festival in Arizona and watching Bezos hit theaters in limited release, Gutierrez says he has been properly motivated: “It’s given give me a lot of fire.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.