Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) has entered into a partnership with producer/director and Academy Award nominated actress Salma Hayek and her partner Jose Tamez to develop, produce and acquire filmed entertainment that either draws on Latin themes or features Latin talent, both in front and behind the camera, while having worldwide, mass market appeal.
Ventanazul and this fully equal partnership between Ms. Hayek and MGM follows the studio's model of empowering proven talent with creative control over their content, while focusing on the studio's distribution and marketing expertise. Ventanazul will be housed at MGM, and plans call for the financing of the company's productions to come from MGM as well as from outside structured financing. The announcement was made jointly by MGM Chief Operating Officer Rick Sands and Ms. Hayek.
Ms. Hayek will serve as President and CEO of Ventanazul, and Mr. Tamez will hold the position of President of Production. The company plans to bring two to four film projects to the marketplace per year, with MGM handling worldwide marketing and distribution. Ventanazul will tap a large talent pool, including Latin and non-Latin performers, filmmakers and writers, for a broadly defined slate of recognizable genres: dramas, comedies, thrillers, horror films, youth market movies, family movies and prestige films. In many instances, projects will be sourced from the rich and diverse Latino heritage, but realized in a modern and accessible way, for a mainstream domestic and international audience.
"My conversations with Rick Sands and the MGM team have been tremendously exciting," says Ms. Hayek. "We have been developing for months a plan to create an identity for the company that specializes in the Latino market without isolating the rest of the audience. I'm confident to say that with the help and support of MGM, Ventanazul has a specific vision that sets it apart from some of the stereotypical efforts made in the past.
What's important to us is integrating, not separating. This deal represents an amazing opportunity to draw upon the entire range of ways the Latin world can contribute to the film industry. Each project has a different element: from supporting our incredible talent behind the camera, to telling uniquely Latin stories like that of Frida Kahlo, to creating unforgettable characters -- who just happen to be Latin -- like Ugly Betty. We want these movies to appeal to everyone, but we also hope to make Latino audiences proud."
"After working with Salma on several pictures over the years, it quickly became apparent to me that she is the right person to form this groundbreaking venture which will identify, develop and produce films that fall under Ventanazul's mission," said Sands. "Not only is Salma a great actress, but as a producer and director she brings a deep and accessible understanding of the multi-cultural world we live in today. We are pleased have this historic partnership with her and her team."