“It's a boutique operation. We want to attract filmmakers and help them develop their ideas from the ground up”
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.
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