L.A.-based creative studio will help filmmakers conceptualize ideas
Guillermo del Toro and frequent collaborator Guillermo Navarro have teamed with Motion Theory’s Mathew Cullen and Javier Jimenez to form Mirada, a new creative studio in Marina del Rey that aims to marry story and design.Filmmakers who need help in conceptualizing the technical aspects of their projects will be able to turn to Mirada in getting that vision realized, while also focusing on story. Del Toro expects to bring some of his own projects to the company, which officially opened its doors for business Thursday. Several directors have connections with visual effects studios, notably Michael Bay to Digital Domain, and Peter Jackson to Weta Digital, and advanced visual development is common now among large vfx companies. However, Mirada will be an f/x shop for hire, and it also aims to be an “idea factory” where filmmakers develop their ideas with access to a stage for greenscreen shooting or digital production, 50-100 staff artists and, most importantly, the expertise of the company’s principals. “We are creating a storytelling engine in the form of a company — an imaginarium, where we are free to explore the practical possibilities of transmedia without compartmentalizing our artistic process,” del Toro said. The idea is for filmmakers to work with Mirada’s artists to develop and produce projects that span digital production and content for film, television, advertising, interactive and other media. Filmmakers can upload resumes and links to reels through the company’s website. Mirada will will draw on del Toro’s extensive relationships among young filmmakers and the roster of directors at sister company Motion Theory, the commercial production studio founded by Jimenez and helmer Cullen in 2000. Along with finding worthy projects, Mirada will be scouting new talent for Motion Theory. Nearly 100 artists are already at work at Mirada. Many are working on blurbs for Motion Theory, but Mirada is already at work on its own and project announcements will be forthcoming. The 25,000-square-foot studio sports design and animation capabilities, as well as post and visual effects. There’s an art department, a soundstage to facilitate traditional and virtual productions and a full camera shop. In years past, the same space was used to film key sequences in a number of pics, including “Blade Runner” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” As a director, del Toro said he often uses a different design team for each film, which gives him no consistency. “We want to offer a fixed set of collaborators,” del Toro told Daily Variety. All four partners will have offices at Mirada, developing and overseeing original works and driving Mirada’s larger creative agenda. Del Toro intends to spend a significant amount of time at the company in between his directing projects, some of which he could bring to Mirada. Cinematographer Navarro has worked on a number of del Toro’s films, including “Pan’s Labyrinth” and both “Hellboy” pics. “We’re taking a multidisciplinary approach, bringing design and cinematography to the forefront,” Cullen said. “Del Toro and Navarro have such a unique creative perspective. They embrace those great timeless narrative traditions, and Mirada will be building on that history.” Motion Theory will continue to operate as an independent sister company to Mirada, repping a slate of directors with commercial, film and TV backgrounds. Cullen and Jimenez have produced more than 300 projects together, from commercials to musicvideos. “We want to grow Mirada so that the possibilities of creation grow along with it,” said del Toro. “We are, by moving forward, returning to our roots as storytellers.” Del Toro recently returned from a long stint in New Zealand, where he was in pre-production on “The Hobbit” before delays forced him to bow out of the project. During that time he worked extensively with Peter Jackson’s visual effects house Weta. Asked if there were similarities between Weta and Mirada, del Toro said Mirada will be much more of a boutique operation. Mirada’s management team includes exec creative director Grady Hall, visual effects head John Fragomeni, general manager Patrick Nugent and exec producer Mark Allen Kurtz.