Maya Entertainment, Moctesuma Esparza’s production, distribution and exhibition company, is ramping up on all levels with a new partner, exec hires, recent acquisitions, megaplexes under construction and films in post. Company is targeting the fast-growing English-language Latino segment of the U.S. population, according to vet producer Esparza.
Jeff Valdez, the former CEO and chairman of SiTV, has joined the company as co-chairman, a title shared with Esparza. In addition, Jose Martinez has left Palm Pictures to become Maya’s general counsel and head of business affairs. Maya Releasing, the company’s fledgling distribution arm, will be led by new hires Michael Harpster and Kevin Benson who are chief operating officer and president, respectively.
Two films are also in post-production under the Maya Pictures banner led by Kimberly Myers, while Maya Cinemas has recently broken ground on three theater complexes and will, in the coming months, break ground on three additional sites across California, Nevada and New Mexico.
“We’re planning to have 100 new screens in 18 months,” Esparza said. Maya Cinemas has one 14-plex operational in Salinas since last year and has started construction of others in Fresno, Anaheim and Santa Fe. Other target sites include Bakersfield, North Las Vegas and Albuquerque.
Maya Releasing has recently picked up its first acquisition, genocide docu “Screamers,” directed by Carla Garapedian, which it will roll out in December, starting in Los Angeles.
Two films are currently in post at Maya Cinemas: “Harlem,” a comedy written and directed by Nestor Miranda, and “Moe,” a drama written by Evelina Fernandez and directed by Jose Luis Valuenzuela.