In a bid to address the underrepresentation of women in film and television, a new production company run by three women filmmakers in Mexico has launched. Dubbed Anónima Media, it’s founded by entrepreneur-journalist-producer Bárbara Arredondo Ayala, actor-producer Eréndira Ibarra and scriptwriter-producer Natasha Ybarra-Klor with the mission to create content for and by women of Latin America and Spain.
“We want to create spaces where women can freely tell their own stories from their diverse realities and thus strengthen the new wave of talent from Ibero-American women,” said Arredondo Ayala, co-founder of Decididas, an online platform that seeks to raise awareness on the work of women role models.
“Real inclusion, the one we seek, has as its mission to vindicate all the unrecognized players out there so that no one ever again remains anonymous,” said Ibarra, whose acting credits includes Netflix’s “Sense8” and the movie “Matrix: Resurrections.” Ibarra pointed out that most IP are bought by men, and female writers are still marginalized.
“We want to empower more female writers and directors, make sure they get equal pay,” said Ibarra. Although some progress has been made, women still make up a fraction of the work force in the Latin entertainment industry. According to the 2021 annual report prepared by Mexico’s film institute, Imcine, of the 259 features made last year in Mexico, 25% were directed by women while — more encouragingly — 43% were produced by women.
“Latin America has the highest rates of gender violence in the world. So for us, being able to create a space where women can tell their stories with freedom is essential to shape different realities and address important issues,” said Arredondo Ayala. “11 women a day are killed in Mexico,” added Ibarra who feels that the #MeToo movement or the #YaEsHora movement, as it is better known in the region, has made little impact on the system.
“Because of the way the industry has been traditionally structured, male producers and directors dominate the system while women are often relegated to minor, lesser-paid positions,” said Ybarra-Klor whose writing credits include “Las Aparicio,” “Infames,” “Ingobernable” and “Rebelde.” She is currently producing, alongside Camila Sodi, an Anonymous Media strategic partner, the series “Cualquier Parecido” for VIS Global and Paramount+.
Anónima has set up a strategic alliance with Argos Media Group, one of the largest independent companies in Latin America. “They were pioneers in the ‘90s and early 2000s, producing some of the most successful and controversial shows, like ‘Nada Personal’ and ‘Mirada de Mujer,” said Arredondo Ayala who added: “We want to make fun, daring, authentic stories, hence our alliance with Argos.”
Similar strategic partnership talks are underway with players in Brazil and Spain.
Anónima Media has pacted exclusive agreements with Mexican novelist Brenda Lozano, Mexican actress and director Ángeles Cruz, Argentine actress and screenwriter Marina Glezer, Spanish director and writer Elena Gallén and producer Bolivian Gabriela Maire for its 2023 slate.
Its first project is an adaptation of Lozano’s novel, “Brujas” (“Witches”) by Cruz who will also star in it alongside Ibarra and co-write with Ybarra-Klor. Also in development is a film about Mare Advertencia Lirika, an aspiring Zapotec rapper from the outskirts of Oaxaca.
“Most of our projects are based in Mexico and Spain now but we aim to make a variety of local films with a strong global appeal,” said Arredondo Ayala.
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