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Gutierrez, DuVernay expand Netflix ties

Animator, writer and director Jorge Gutierrez has expanded his creative animation partnership with Netflix, which has also attached Ava DuVernay to write, direct and produce a film adaption of New York Times bestseller Caste.

Jorge Gutierrez

Gutierrez is the creator, writer and director of the upcoming animated limited series Maya & the Three, a Mesoamerican fantasy epic set to premiere globally on Netflix in 2021.

Netflix will now partner with the Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated animator, painter, writer and director and his production company Mexopolis for more original content.

Gutierrez will write, direct, and produce new animated films, series and interactive projects across preschool, kids and family and adult animation for the global streamer.

Gutierrez said: “[Netflix’s VP of original animation] Melissa Cobb and the entire Netflix animation team match my endless passion for diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera. After all the kindness that has been shown to me, I look forward to mentoring and empowering diverse storytellers from not only North America but also Central and South America.”

Cobb said: “He is committed to authenticity in his work, creating fantastical stories and characters inspired by his culture that are universally resonant and a tireless champion and mentor to the next generation of storytellers.”

Meanwhile, Ava DuVernay has signed up to write, direct and produce a feature film adaption of the New York Times bestseller Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson for Netflix.

Ava DuVernay

Through a multiple-story structure, the project examines the unspoken system that has shaped America and chronicles how our lives today are defined by a hierarchy of human divisions dating back generations.

Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee DuVernay will direct, write and produce the adaptation under her Array Filmworks banner, having previously worked with the streamer on the documentary 13th.

The project reunites DuVernay with Netflix executive Tendo Nagenda after the pair worked on Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, making her the highest-grossing black woman director in US box office history.

Most recently, her limited series When They See Us received 16 Emmy nominations. DuVernay is currently producing a limited series for Netflix based on the adolescent life of athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick, entitled Colin in Black & White. DuVernay will produce alongside Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of Array Filmworks.

Elsewhere, Netflix has announced it will release rapper Emicida’s documetary AmarElo: It’s All for Yesterday on December 8.

The film, directed by Fred Ouro Preto, explores the production of the Estúdio AmarElo project and, at the same time, the history of Brazilian black culture over the last 100 years, using the rapper’s show at Theatro Municipal of São Paulo in 2019 as a focus.

Netflix and Laboratório Fantasma, which was founded in 2009 by Emicida and his brother Evandro Fióti, are also working on a second project that will be launched in 2021.


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