Voy pic unit taps Hispanic market

Prinze Jr., Torres, Rodriguez sign for films

Voy is launching a feature-film division that will target the English-speaking Hispanic market. Voy Pictures will look to mount 12-15 pics over the next three years, and has made deals with Freddie Prinze Jr., “Woman on Top” director Fina Torres and “Girlfight” star Michelle Rodriguez to get the shingle started.

Voy is a privately funded company that is aiming at the Hispanic marketplace in music, publishing and TV, with plans to launch a cable network in late 2004. Voy chairman-CEO Fernando Espuelas, a former co-founder and CEO of StarMedia Network, said Voy will finance some of its films, and seek partners on the ones that cost more than $10 million. The film venture, being overseen by Voy prexy Emilio Diez Barroso, is in the process of hiring a Hollywood-based production president. They are working with John Sloss and Robert Nathan of Cinetic Media to mobilize financing to get the first bunch of projects off the ground.

“Feature film will become an important part of Voy, and we will be looking to make films with and about Hispanics, with crossover potential,” said Espuelas, who will officially announce the venture next week.

“There are few Latino executives in Hollywood at levels high enough to make the decisions, and many of the films that get made are beautifully shot arthouse films or pictures that depict negative stereotypes. By taking Latin components, be it producers, screenwriters and stars, we hope to fill that void.”

Prinze has set up “Rave Train,” a project he will look to star in. “Woman on Top” director Torres will develop and direct “Hip Hop Cinderella.” Writer-producer Mary Sweeney (“The Straight Story”) will develop and produce “Loving Pedro Infante,” based on the Denise Chavez novel. “SWAT” star Rodriguez and Argentinean director Daniel Barone have pacted for a pair of pictures. Voy will also co-produce with Cherry Road Films “Blue Yonder,” a script by J.B. Rogers. In addition, Voy will develop an animated film based on the Latino comicstrip “Los Kitos.” That pic will be targeted to the Latino baby boomer market.

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