Entertainment

Atlanta Will Be The Site Of The First Latino-Owned And Operated Production Studio

Areu Bros is set to be first major Latino-owned and operated movie production studio in the United States and it’ll be located in Atlanta, Georgia. Ozzie and Will Areu, both brothers, will head the production studio in hopes of opening the door for a string of new Latino-produced content. Ozzie Areu was the long-time president of Tyler Perry Studios but left the position in hopes of starting his own company. The new studio is huge news in terms of representation that the company will have in giving Latinos roles and positions in production.

The Peach State is one of the most popular locations to film so it comes as no surprise it’ll be the site of the new Latino-owned production studio.

The location was once home to filmmaker Tyler Perry’s film studio until he moved locations in early 2018. Ozzie bought the location right after for an estimated $18.5 million. The 56-acre studio is located in southwest Atlanta and includes a backlot with a suburban neighborhood with 11 homes that can be used during filming. Ozzie says when he drove by the old studios in January 2018 he knew he had to buy the location.

“The studio was for sale for a while, and I was obviously still working for Tyler,” Ozzie told WABE Atlanta. “And I just had that moment, that overwhelming, ‘You have to buy this.”

The new production studio is expected to also give economic boost according to Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Santiago Marquez. He told WABE Atlanta that he sees many opportunities for the studio in terms of jobs and Latino representation. “The vision that they have of creating Areu Bros., a Warner Bros. for Hispanics,” Marquez said. “It’s that American dream of dreaming big and then going for it.”

Ozzie began his work in the entertainment industry as a security guard at Warner Bros. studios.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Areu Brothers

Both Areu brothers grew up in Orlando, Florida and were brought up in a Cuban household. At the age 14, Ozzie moved to Los Angeles to get into the entertainment industry. After getting a job as a security guard at Warner. Bros studios, he worked as a producer on the television show “Friends” and alongside names like Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and Ellen DeGeneres.

Ozzie’s position as Tyler Perry’s executive assistant in Atlanta is what launched him into the limelight. Shortly after he was promoted to president of Tyler Perry Studios where he was behind some of his most successful films like the “Madea” films. Will would eventually join his brother as a producer in Perry’s films that would position them both at the top of the company. The Areu brothers now want to follow Perry’s movie formula and create their own films that showcase Latinos and other minorities.

The studio gained a valuable new partner last year who will help with content and music, Gloria Estefan.

CREDIT: CREDIT: Areu Brothers

Last JuneEstefan, a Grammy Award-winning singer and actress, joined Areu Bros. as a partner and member of the executive leadership team. Estefan will help with creating content for the company across various platforms including music, television, film and short form content.

“Gloria has always been a strong and empowering voice for the female and Latino communities, and we can’t wait for her to use that voice to find new voices,” Will, told Variety. “As first-generation Cuban Americans, my family and I have been fortunate to travel on the trail that Gloria blazed, showing us that there is no ceiling to human potential.”

The recently launched studio will try to outdo Hollywood by bringing Latinos to the forefront of the entertainment industry.

Latino characters made up only 6.2 percent of speaking characters in the top 100 movies in 2017 and the Areu brothers are hoping to change that poor statistic. The studio will focus on finding and developing talent in front of the camera and behind it. Ozzie says he wants to help more Latinos in Georgia break into the entertainment industry, he feels this is a step in that direction.

“Latinos and minorities, they’re a big presence at the box office, however, they don’t normally get to see themselves in specific roles, outside of stereotypical roles,” Ozzie told WABE Atlanta. “Being in the industry for a long time and having friends in the industry who are Latinos or women, I’ve heard a lot about it. I’ve seen some things. I felt like this was a great opportunity for me to be different and to really put my money where my mouth is. And go all in.”


READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

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Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Entertainment

Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

Turns out Lil Nas X has more than just country rap up his sleeve. The 21-year-old “Old Town Road” rapper has a penchant for literature too.

On Tuesday, the rapper revealed that he’s written a children’s book called C Is for Country.

“I’m dropping the best kids’ book of all time soon!” the rapper shared in a Tweet earlier this week before adding that he couldn’t “wait to share it” with his fans and young readers.

Nas’s children’s book is being published under Random House Kids, a division of Penguin Random House. It is currently available for preorder on their site.

According to the Random House Kids’ website, the book is a story about Lil Nas X and Panini the pony.

“Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style,” Random House describes in its explanation.

The book is illustrated by Theodore Taylor III and promises “plenty of hidden surprises for Nas’ biggest fans.”

C Is for County comes out Jan. 5.

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

Entertainment

Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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