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Guillermo del Toro, Partners Open Production Facility Doors



Taking his interest in transmedia to the next level, Guillermo del Toro has partnered for Mirada, a company that aims to be a space for he and other filmmakers to incubate and launch projects for a broad spectrum of disciplines.

The Mexican filmmaker has teamed with Guillermo Navarro, his longtime cinematographer, and Mathew Cullen and Javier Jimenez of commercial production house Motion Theory for Mirada.

Housed in a 25,000-square-foot facility on the edge of Marina del Ray, Mirada will serve as a place to create animation, post and visual effects. It features an art department, a soundstage to facilitate traditional and virtual productions and a full camera shop. Now fully operational, Mirada will operate as a concept facility, a visual effects facility and a commercial production facility.

"We really want to be a filmmakers' resource," del Toro told The Hollywood Reporter during a tour of the facility.

Del Toro will work on his projects at Mirada as will Cullen, but they want to invite others to use the facility as an "imaginarium."

"I think the future of storytelling needs to be very, very rooted in tradition but very nimble toward the future," he said, "and that's the philosophy behind the company."

Despite the heavy focus on technology, "this is not a special effects shop, it's more than that," said Cullen, also known in the music video world for a video he did for Beck that was inspired by the Mad Magazine fold-in pages by artists Al Jaffe, whose original work lines the walls of the studio.

"It's not about one project or however many projects are going on at once from the commercial side all the way to the feature side," Cullen said. "This is a place to drive those projects. This is a place to be able to support filmmakers' imaginations."

The multifaceted approach, based on "fabulistic storytelling roots," as del Toro describes it, is seen in the company's logo, a complex etching designed by James Jean, the artist behind the covers of Vertigo's Fables comic book series.

Mirada -- on the site where miniatures for Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were once shot -- has been flush with activity for weeks.

Since returning to Los Angeles after exiting The Hobbit production, del Toro has been focusing on getting his passion project, an adaptation of H.P Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, off the ground. Mountains is part of a slate he's developing at Universal, and he also is a consultant for DreamWorks Animation.

That's on top of a partnership with video game company THQ, his burgeoning career as a best-selling author via his vampire book series The Strain and most recently, jumping into the TV realm with David Eick for a potential Hulk TV series.

Del Toro has his fingers in so many pies because he believes the world is coalescing into one, broad platform. "I think the old models are going to disappear," he said. "The model of features and then ancillary markets and then spinoffs and all these types of things are going to fade rapidly."

While some might think he's overextending himself, del Toro said that if he had a branded production company such as Amblin or Imagine, those questions would stop.

"I do my work through partnership," he said. "You don't do a venture if you don't have the right partners to do it with. When there is a novel to be delivered to HarperCollins, the novel is delivered. If there is a screenplay to be delivered at DreamWorks or Universal, it is delivered."

The partnerships he has forged during the past few years on the various media platforms are designed to lay the foundation for the next 10 to 15 years.

"I firmly believe that if I don't take these steps as an individual and as a filmmaker, I'm going to be out of pace with what is needed," del Toro said.