First Major Latino-Owned And -Operated Studio Launches In Atlanta

Posted by on January 05, 2019

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Image Courtesy of WABE

The first major Latino-owned and -operated movie production studio in the United States, Areu Bros., is expected to open for business in southwest Atlanta this year.

African-American filmmaker and media mogul Tyler Perry recently moved his studios to the site of an old army base called Fort McPherson.

That left the old site, in southwest Atlanta, vacant. The former president of Tyler Perry Studios is a man named Ozzie Areu. Areu said he drove through the old studios in January 2018 and had an idea.

“The studio was for sale for a while, and I was obviously still working for Tyler,” Areu said. “And I just had that moment, that overwhelming, ‘You have to buy this.’”

So he did. Areu purchased more than 56 acres of the land where the old studio location was – most of it still undeveloped – for $18.5 million.

This could be a game changer for Latinos in Georgia, said Jose Marquez, chairman and co-founder of the Georgia Latino Film Alliance. Marquez is also president of the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association.

“As far as actors go, they’re still very, very small parts that they’re getting,” Marquez said. “They’re not getting any leading roles.”

Marquez said the new studio’s focus on developing talent in front of the camera and behind it will help more Latinos in Georgia break into TV and film.

“We’re going to see pictures of Roberto Clemente and movies of Tito Puente and, you know, all these great people that are not being shown as the heroes of the Hispanic community,” Marquez said.