Stepping into the ring

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Though it's not a milestone that comes with a wide solid-gold belt, editorial company Lucha Libre has earned the distinction of being the first editorial company owned and operated by Hispanics for the Hispanic market in the U.S. "The name Lucha Libre comes from a popular sport in the Hispanic world where every wrestler, or luchador, shows his best in the ring," says executive producer and co-owner Natalia Berry. "This sport is based on each of the luchadores having their own style and strategy to win the Lucha. We intend to do the same in editorial, letting our editors contribute individually with their strength, style and creativity." The Santa Monica-based company boasts five luchadores, or editors; Felipe Fenton and Celina Moreno of Mexico, Luis Lacau and Gustavo Zambrano of Venezuela and El Sonambulo (translation: the sleep-walker) of Argentina. Since officially stepping into the ring in early July, editors have cut projects for clients Holiday Inn, Bally's Total Fitness, Honda, Allstate and Verizon through agencies Al Punto Advertising of Tustin, Calif., L.A., Chicago-based La Agencia de Orci, Publicis, and Santa Monica-based Ornellas & Associates. Moreno's reel in particular contains a gorgeous visual spot from Coca-Cola, which shows black and white images of crucial moments in life, including a newborn, an old man, an injured soccer player, a firefighter and a pregnant woman. Another, for Maseca corn, shows breathtaking landscapes cut with simple titles and tight shots of stalks.

According to Berry, Lucha Libre aims to fill a big gap in the Hispanic advertising market. "Hispanic agencies often work with companies that serve the general market and which, in many cases, do not offer bilingual, bicultural editors with an in-depth knowledge of the Hispanic culture," she says. "In the long run, working with a company such as ours allows agencies and producers to save time and money, and allows for easy communication." With the Hispanic advertising market growing along with the population in the U.S., this capability becomes more relevant-in the wake of this growth the outdated process of translation of general-market ads has given way to original ideas and campaigns that resonate with cultural messages and fresh creative content. However, there is still a culture clash for the editors and producers at Lucha Libre when it comes to adjusting to the American production process. "The way in which the postproduction is organized here is very different in how it is organized in Latin America," says Berry. "In Latin America, postproduction is supervised by the directors at the production company. Here, agencies hire and supervise the editorial process. It is our objective to bring the agency's vision to life while also serving the director's creative viewpoint. Giving priority to both the agency and the director allows our editors to contribute to making a better final product."

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