Latinos In The Industry

Guillermo del Toro Launches Mirada - Production Co. 'for Storytellers'

By Jeff Sneider, The Wrap

Guillermo del Toro has teamed with director Mathew Cullen, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro and executive producer Javier Jimenez to form Mirada, a full-scale production company designed for storytellers.

Del Toro and Navarro have collaborated for decades, while Cullen and Jimenez co-founded the commercial design and production company Motion Theory, which will continue to operate as an independent sister company to Mirada.

The four co-founders will guide the new company's creative agenda.

Del Toro co-founded Mirada to help facilitate his projects and offer the same experience to other filmmakers. He describes Mirada as "a storytelling engine in the form of a company. We see a different model that looks beyond what the market is doing right now to where it will be in ten years."

Del Toro went on to explain that "we are, by moving forward, actually returning to our roots as storytellers."

Del Toro and Navarro have long wanted to start a company like Mirada, and the duo were drawn to the resourcefulness of Motion Theory, having found they shared similar creative philosophies with Cullen and Jimenez.

The quartet agreed to launch Mirada back in May, and the company officially opened its doors on Thursday.

The company will be based out of a 25,000-square-foot studio in Marina del Rey where key sequences from "Blade Runner" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" were filmed. The space has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility that houses design, animation, post and visual effects, an art department, a sound stage and a full camera shop.

Del Toro stressed to TheWrap that he didn't set out to start a big corporation. "I hate to use this word, but it's a boutique operation. We want to attract filmmakers and help them develop their ideas from the ground up. Not in a pipeline of production and not with a marketing view, but simply, how to build a story the best. That could be a short film, a feature film, a commercial, proof of concept -- whatever it may be, you get all of us."

That includes the rest of Mirada's veteran management team -- Grady Hall, executive creative director; John Fragomeni, head of visual effects; Patrick Nugent, general manager; and Mark Allen Kurtz, executive producer.

"Anytime you do a feature film, you have to start over," said del Toro. "You start to look for people that will help you conceptualize the concept. Do animatics and tests, and then you break the process in such a way that it becomes sort of inarticulate. You develop a concept over here, then you do production and your visual effects somewhere else. Ultimately, there are not many places that they can be familiar with your assets from the get-go, where [one team] creates them and helps you implement them during the shoot, and you can do the post-production under the same roof.

We have an infrastructure and pipeline that can service a film, so we can do that."

"It doesn't exist in the studio system," Del Toro laments. "In my mind I've set goals for myself in the next 10 years that I've been faithfully overworking to achieve, and I will continue because i want to learn video games, publishing, TV, etc. ... I want to learn everything because I think storytelling is going to streamline again and come back to individuals. Mirada is not a studio operation, but hopefully it will be a place where filmmakers come to interact with other filmmakers and create ideas."

Cullen said that no one in the industry can be just one thing anymore.

"Looking at the changing media landscape, you have to understand what are the opportunities out there," Cullen explained to TheWrap. "There's a multi-disciplinary approach to the way that I've approached work in the past that I think really blends in well.

Cullen founded Motion Theory at the young age of 23, and has since directed and produced over 100 commercials and music videos for clients such as IBM, Nike, Modest Mouse and the Black Eyes Peas.

He's attached to direct a supernatural thriller for DreamWorks that Motion Theory will produce with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci's production company. Cullen is also set to direct "Guinness World Records" for Sony, which Motion Theory is producing with Neal Moritz.

Latino Films in 2011 Sundance and Slamdance Festivals

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival short film lineup includes the works of Carlos Puga, Daniel Cardenas, Marialy Rivas, Chema Garcia Ibarra, Cesar Cabral and Leandro Maciel.

Carlos Puga's work Satan Since 2003, for which he was both director and writer, is a documentary short is a look into The Hell's Satans, a notorious Virginia moped gang as well as a playful dig at documentary filmmaking. The animated short Xemoland (pictured above), directed and written by Daniel Cardenas, tells the tale of a seven-year-old boy who is told that there is a gateway to an alternate universe, called Xemoland, in which all his dreams are possible. However, Xemoland is not all it is made out to be. Blokes, directed by Marialy Rivas, is an international narrative short, which tells a love triangle story of a precocious 13-year-old boy in love with his 16-year-old neighbor who is in love with a girl from the neighborhood. Chema Garcia Ibarra's international narrative short, Protoparticles, involves an experiment that proves protomatter exists. Screenwriters Cesar Cabral and Leandro Maciel's international animated short Storm tells the story of a sailor who takes to the seas to reunite with his love, until he is forced to alter his path as unprecedented events take place.

Featured at the 2011 Slamdance film festival are Fernando Barreda Luna's Atrocious, a film which takes an in depth look at the "Quintanilla Murder Investigation," and Matias Lira's Drama, a film narrating the story of three theatre students who in an effort to become better actors blur the lines between fiction and reality.

Call for Entries: Project VoiceScape

Adobe Youth Voices, PBS and POV are searching for the next generation of documentary filmmakers! The deadline for submission is January 14, 2011. Project VoiceScape welcomes good ideas, films-in-progress or completed short films made by aspiring filmmakers in grades 7-12. The program provides mentorship to young filmmakers and showcases their work on a variety of PBS/POV related media. Fifteen young people will be selected for Project VoiceScape and will be honored in June 2011 at a ceremony in Washington, DC.

All subjects, styles and opinions are welcome! We are looking for film projects that:
- Get people talking
- Take a fresh & creative approach to filmmaking
- Express a clear point of view
- Address issues Americans are talking about
- Take a thoughtful approach to the topic
- Showcase the lives of people you rarely see on TV
- Examine issues that are important in your community

Whether you are making video at school or at home Project VoiceScape is for you!

The 15 young filmmakers selected for Project VoiceScape will receive:
- $2000 to complete your short documentary
- Streaming of your film on POV's award-winning website
- One-to-one mentoring by award-winning documentary filmmakers
- Outreach, Publicity and Fundraising training from experts at POV
- Possible broadcast in the POV Short Film Showcase

For more information about Project VoiceScape, including submission guidelines and a link to the application, click here.

Call for Entries: Comics in Films Festival

Fire Born Films will be producing the 1st Comics in Films Festival at the Albuquerque Comic Con to be held in January 15-16, 2011, creating a highly competitive field of 10-12 short films in the comic book genre. The festival is currently accepting submissions. There is no entry fee, but invited films will need to pay an exhibition fee.

Short films must be under 45 minutes, and must be based on original work, characters and ideas unless written permission has been granted. Invited films will be noted for their originality and execution of resources and not on budget expenditures.

Visit the Comics in Films Festival website for details and submission information.

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Jobs & Opportunities

Visit the NALIP Job Opportunities page for all the latest listings.

From the Editor
Alex Mendoza
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Almudena Carracedo
NALIPster wins United States Artists Fellowship

Made in L.A. filmmaker and NALIP Estela Award winner Almudena Carracedo (LPA 2004) has won a $50,000 prize from L.A.-based United States Artists - five times the cash value of a Pulitzer Prize. Almudena and 49 other artists - including four from Southern California - were announced Tuesday as this year's USA fellows. The $2.5 million in combined annual fellowships, first awarded in 2006, dwarfs all of the nation's annual arts prizes except the MacArthur Fellowship, which currently antes up nearly $4 million a year for artists. MacArthur fellows get $100,000 a year for five years, and artists typically account for about a third of the 25 or so winners of the annual MacArthur "genius grants."

Like the MacArthur grants, USA Fellowship winners can use the money as they wish. Nominations come from an anonymous group of arts executives, critics, scholars and artists whose membership changes each year; five-member panels of experts in each category recommend winners to the United States Artists board.

In a bid to ensure this bounty "in perpetuity," United States Artists announced Tuesday that it has launched a $50-million endowment campaign, kicking it off with $14 million in combined lead gifts from the Rockefeller, Rasmuson and Todd and Betiana Simon foundations. A $50 million endowment that yielded a 5% average annual investment return would cover $2.5 million a year in prizes.

Now based in New York, Almudena's first feature, Made in L.A., focused on three Latina immigrant garment workers and won a 2008 Emmy Award after being broadcast in the PBS series "P.O.V."

Also, United States Artists said that after beginning a pilot program in May it is launching USA Projects, the first online "microphilanthropy" initiative devoted solely to artists living in the United States. Applicants who want to billboard their projects for would-be donors must previously have won honors or grants from at least one of 46 organizations identified as credential-establishing groups, with more to be added. Expert panels appointed by United States Artists decide which projects get posted. If a posted project doesn't meet its fundraising goal by a preset deadline, the pledges are not collected and the artist gets nothing.


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