NALA (North America Latin America) Films, LLC was founded in 2005 by Emilio Diez Barroso (the great-grandson Televisa-founder Emilio "el Tigre" Azcarraga), as the production arm of NALA Investments (founded in 1999), an investment vehicle with a portfolio of holdings across various industries. NALA Films, which is headquartered just off Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, is a "film development, production and financing company that NALA Films is a financing and production company that focuses on making quality, character-driven projects for film, Television and new media The company "produces and finances three to five feature films per year"
Under CEO Diez Barroso, Darlene Caamaño-Loquet is President of NALA Films, a role which saw her named the sixth most powerful Hispanic woman on the Hispanic Women "Power 25" list of 2007. As President, Caamaño Loquet "develops, supervises and produces the financing/production company's feature film and television slate." In 2007, it was reported that the "executive ranks" had been "beefed up" by the double hiring of Corrie Rothbart as Chief Financial Officer, and Rudy Scalese as Director of Development. Rothbart, whose previous roles included positions with ICM, Gold Circle Films and Sony Pictures Entertainment took on the role of overseer on "financial and strategic planning, corporate treasury, business development, production finance, accounting and operations." Scalese's role will be to "help identify and develop material to fulfill the company's production slate of four to five relatively big-budget films per year, as well as its lower-budget genre fare," after he came to prominence producing the documentary: "Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film". He had also previously worked for Caamaño-Loquet's D-No Entertainment.
Diez Barroso and NALA financed their first film - The Air I Breathe - with money raised from private investors, "state subsidies" and "film subsidy programs" such as the fund run by the Mexico film institute Imcine. In addition, NALA took "a relatively conservative tack by shooting most pics in Mexico," where it "has fostered relationships with local state authorities." Diez Barroso, Caamaño-Loquet and Paul Schiff - who brought the production to NALA - produced, in association with Paul Schiff Productions, (whose Tai Duncan co-executive produced with Christopher Pratt).
NALA's remit to produce works with Latin American talent attempts "to finance three to four English-language pics per year in the $6 million to $30 million range." Ultimately, the first film to be released (in association with Warner Bros.) was the Oscar-nominated In the Valley of Elah, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. Dan in Real Life (which Caamaño-Loquet developed earlier with Noah Rosen and their D-No Entertainment) followed the same year, in association with Buena Vista, while ThinkFilm released The Air I Breathe at various film festivals throughout late 2007, and debuted in the USA on limited release in January 2008, with After Sex (starring Jane Seymour) following a similar pattern.
In November, 2006, it was announced that NALA Films had "formed a partnership" with the William Morris Agency, who will "provide consulting services on a slate of at least five films," to which NALA will bring production funds of "$125 million... over the next two to three years." The Agency, who also acts as consultant to Bob Yari's financing company El Camino and the Pelican Film and Beverly Bridge Funds, "will help NALA consider possible feature packages for funding." NALA President Darlene Caamaño-Loquet noted that the LA-based company "plans to fully finance its projects and does not intend to seek partners," while also "continu[ing] to produce projects outside of its WMA partnership." (NALA did, however, partner with both Summit Entertainment - on whose board of director's Diez Barroso sits - and Steve Samuels Media Capital to finance and produce In the Valley of Elah.)
NALA Films is currently developing and producing a number of projects, including Mr. Burnout (set to be directed by Paul Dinello), Open Grave (to be directed by Eduardo Rodriguez), Night of Light (set to star Jason Patric, and be directed by Norberto López Amado) and Only Ever You (to be directed by Griffin Dunne). Also in production are La Magdalena - the company's first Spanish language production - and a more expensive project ($22m - $25m): the already-controversial "supernatural horror thriller" Shelter, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Julianne Moore.
As on April 2008, NALA Productions has been the major/sole production company behind three films. They are:
- The Air I Breathe starring Forest Whitaker, Andy García, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Bacon, Brendan Fraser, Emile Hirsch and Julie Delpy
- After Sex starring Jane Seymour, Mila Kunis, Taryn Manning, Zoe Saldana
- In the Valley of Elah starring Charlize Theron, Tommy Lee Jones, Susan Sarandon, James Franco and Jason Patrik written and directed by Paul Haggis
- Hollywood Reporter: Hispanic Women Power 25, by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, Cristy Lytal and Trisha Tucker, October 9, 2007. Accessed April 8, 2008
- NALA Investments website. Accessed April 8, 2008
- NALA Films website. Accessed April 8, 2008
- In the Valley of Elah: About the Filmmakers. Accessed April 8, 2008
- "WMA's Latin pic pal" by Dave McNary, November 2, 2006. Accessed April 8, 2008
- "Nala Films taps Rothbart, Scalese", by Dave McNary, June 12, 2007. Accessed April 8, 2008
- "Thesps take breath of indie 'Air'", by Pamela McClintock, October 20, 2005. Accessed April 8, 2008
- (From Variety) "Splash of Cash", by Dana Harris and Anna Marie de la Fuente, May 13, 2005. Accessed April 8, 2008
- (From Variety) "Julianne Moore Seeks 'Shelter' at Nala Films", January 29, 2008. Accessed April 8, 2008
- A casting call called for:
- "Extraordinarily tall or short. Unusual body shapes, even physical abnormalities as long as there is normal mobility. Unusual facial features, especially eyes... [and] a 9-12-year-old Caucasian girl with an other-worldly look to her... Could be an albino or something along those lines -- she's someone who is visually different and therefore has a closer contact to the gods and to magic. 'Regular-looking' children should not attend..."
- Pittsburgh Tribune Review: "Film's casting call wants that 'inbred' look", by David M. Brown, February 26, 2008. Accessed April 8, 2008
- IMDb: NALA Films. Accessed April 8, 2008