MAG Film Studios in Puerto Rico is relaunching today after its offices sustained major damage from Hurricane Maria seven months ago. Electrical power failures still are affecting wide swaths of the devastated island, but the return of filming could boost its recovery.
The studio, which plans to produce and distribute four films a year, “will actively hire an average of 150 people per film, which means that we will be hiring directly, indirectly and incidentally over 600 people a year,” said Jasmine Espada, the newly appointed chair of MAG Film Studios USA.
First up is The Eye of God, a film she said is currently in pre-production with a budget of $4.2 million. Espada also noted that the company is in the process of acquiring new offices, sound stages and editing bays in the town of Mayagüez, where the company will be headquartered. “These facilities would constitute the first and largest commercial film studio in Puerto Rico,” she said.
“We are very excited about our new film and what lies ahead,” said Eugenio García, the company’s chairman, “and we are honored to have Jasmin Espada — an industry veteran who has guided the careers of major Hollywood stars for over 15 years — as chairperson of MAG Film Studios USA.” In her new position, Espada will overseeing talent and script acquisitions from offices in Los Angeles but will continue as CEO of Espada Public Relations, the PR company she founded.
When Hurricane Maria hit in September, she said, “We were left incommunicado, the electricity network destroyed, all the cellular companies out of service, the airport inoperative, the roads damaged, news and information by radio or television simply non-existent, with a dark mantle covering the whole island. That day the curtain fell. The days passed, and uncertainty took over everyone in the company because we were simply surviving. The central office was partially destroyed, flooded, smelly and in the dark.
“But from that day we began to put the pieces back together again to continue with our dream,” Espada said. “Today, seven months later, we launch into the world. Thanks to all our employees and to people who in some way or another helped us out and worked under indescribable conditions to get to this day. Thank you! A tenebris ad lucem is our new corporate motto – “From darkness to light.”