Hellboy Has a New Home: Guillermo Del Toro Launches Mirada

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From left: Mirada founders Mathew Cullen, Guillermo Navarro, Guillermo Del Toro and Javier Jimenez
From left: Mirada founders Mathew Cullen, Guillermo Navarro, Guillermo Del Toro and Javier Jimenez

Last week, Guillermo Del Toro, director of the critically acclaimed Hellboy franchise, Pan's Labyrinth and Pan's Labyrinth, along with longtime collaborator/cinematographer Guillermo Navarro and Motion Theory co-founders Javier Jimenez and Mathew Cullen, joined forces to launch Mirada in Los Angeles. The new company hopes to be a collaborative space for filmmakers and artists to work with its creative team to explore the possibilities of transmedia and multidisciplinary storytelling—what Del Toro calls "an imaginarium." Projects will span a range of disciplines, from film and television to advertising and interactive. Such will be supported by the offerings of the space, a 25,000 square foot studio in Marina Del Rey that houses design, postproduction and effects, an art department, sound stage and full camera shop.

The four Mirada partners will all work out of the studio to develop and steer all projects and maintain an "adaptive" model that looks to tackle storytelling as it will be ten years from now. The management team will also include Grady Hall, who will serve as executive creative director, Head of Visual Effects John Fragomeni, General Manager Patrick Nugent and Executive Producer Mark Allen Kurtz. Motion Theory will exist as an independent sister company to Mirada, with the talents form both entities collaborating and sharing resources as they see fit.

Creativity checked in with Mirada Co-founder and Motion Theory Executive Producer Javier Jimenez to get more of the lowdown on the new company.

What inspired this new partnership? How did you guys meet? Had you known each other/worked together previously?
We all started meeting when Guillermo del Toro was still on "The Hobbit." He had become interested in our work from our close creative collaborations with his friend and cinematographer of 30 years, Guillermo Navarro. They had wanted to build a creative home like Mirada for years, and Mathew Cullen and I were looking to create a studio that would offer more creative opportunities for our clients.

It seems like the buzzword "transmedia" is everywhere these days, but Guillermo del Toro, Guillermo Navarro, Mathew and I found that we were all living it with the diverse projects we were already doing. Between us, we were creating projects that spanned films, television, commercials, print, interactive and books. We saw Mirada as a place for us to explore the practical possibilities of working across visual content—it would be an environment that was part-concept studio, part-design studio, part-visual effects and animation facility, part-creative incubator, and part-digital production company. We agreed to open Mirada together in May of 2010 and started working on the build-out of our new 25,000-square-foot facility shortly thereafter. Guillermo del Toro calls it an "imaginarium," which I think has a nice ring to it.

What sorts of projects will Mirada focus primarily on—longform, new media, commercials, all of the above?

All of the above. Our goal is to build a company that will be the model 10 years from now that's rooted in storytelling tradition, but nimble towards the future. And while Guillermo del Toro co-founded Mirada to help facilitate his projects, and to offer the same experience to other filmmakers, Mirada is also already engaged in working with directors and agencies on a number of commercial projects. For Mathew and I, that kind of visual storytelling is in our DNA, and we know it's always going to be a cornerstone of what we do. Besides setting the overall creative agenda of Mirada, del Toro wants to be creatively involved in the commercial work Mirada and Motion Theory will be doing and is interested in consulting on projects. I'm looking forward to these collaborations with the advertising industry.

How will this affect your involvement in Motion Theory? Will the company be competitive w/Motion Theory at all? Will there be collaboration between the two?
The core of Motion Theory that agencies have always worked with hasn't changed — I am still heading up the company. All of the Motion Theory directors are still executing on agency, brand and music video projects. What changes for Motion Theory is the scale and scope of what it's now able to deliver, because it now has access to the creative resources of its sister company Mirada, giving Motion Theory more muscle in creative development, design, production, vfx, animation and post.

So no, Mirada won't be in competition with Motion Theory; and yes, there will be very close collaboration between the two. Motion Theory is a brand-focused production company of visual directors, and Mirada is a company that serves its clients—be they feature film directors, ad agencies or other storytellers—at every stage of the creative process in commercials, film, television and interactive projects. In addition to the camera shop and stage, Mirada has a base of diverse artists that is geared to help storytellers elevate their projects from pre-concept to delivery.

What projects are you working on now?
Our creative work has just begun. It's going to be a busy decade!

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