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Cinemex teams with TAC Prods.

Mexican co. readies new stage, screen slate

MEXICO CITY — Looking to diversify auds’ options, Mexican loop Cinemex is teaming up with theatrical shingle TAC Prods. to offer a novel blend of stage and screen.

Based on the 2004 film “Finding Neverland,” “Suena” opens this weekend, combining 2-D motion graphics with live actors in a specially adapted movie theater, located in the chain’s flagship Antara complex in Mexico City.

“We have looked for similar productions but haven’t found anything like this,” Cinemex marketing veep Claudio Sanchez says. “This may be a new form of presenting theater.”

TAC prexy Ricardo Ortega says the company consulted with Disney in Los Angeles to determine what was needed to pull off the complex feat of seamlessly merging live action with digital animation.

The mise-en-scene in the foreground will consist of the actors and such elements as desks, lamps, a laptop, etc., while the high-quality animation will render the background, depicting such scenes as dusty bookshelves lit by a dangling bulb or swaying trees in an enchanted forest.

Ortega says he approached Mexico’s No. 2-grossing exhibitor last year with Chilean writer Andres Donoso’s adaptation of the film.

“We came to them looking for a space to do this,” Ortega says. “But this is just the first. We are already planning similar projects for the future.”

Audiences who attend the experimental production will see a modified, modernized version of “Peter Pan” scribe J.M. Barrie’s difficult emotional journey that led to his inspiration for the ageless hero’s many tales.

Miguel Garza, who portrays Mike Hamilton — the character based on Barrie — started out in a 1989 Televisa novela called “Mi segunda madre” (My Second Mother). Since then, he has taken on a number of roles both on the smallscreen and onstage.

For Garza, “Suena” represents a new kind of challenge.

“I’m excited to be a pioneer in this project and as the lead character,” the actor says. “We doubted that this could ever happen — that a movie theater would do this — but if we hadn’t taken the risk, none of this would have happened.

The production involved installing a 45×15-ft stage in front of the screen. Five crew members will control the animation from the projection booth, following the progression of the performance of seven actors onstage.

Six performances of “Suena,” which means sleepy in Spanish, will take place each weekend. The rest of the week, the movie theater will revert to screening regular films.

Seats range from about $14 to $19, well below typical stage fare in Mexico City.

Antara, located in the capital’s upscale Polanco neighborhood, is fitted with stadium seating and a full bar and cafe.

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