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.
This company could be a significant game changer for Latinos in Hollywood both in front of, and behind, the screen. Congrats to the Areu Brothers!
https://t.co/Lh9qfK0Vc7#hollywood #ozzieareu #tylerperry
— 'LLERO (@LLERO_ONLINE) January 3, 2019
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.
How hard work paid off for the brothers who run Tyler Perry Studios
Growing up in a predominantly Cuban community in Los Angeles, Ozzie and Will Areu never would have dreamed they would become media executives running a film and television empire.
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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.”