By: Amanda Guarragi
Mariana Méndez Alejandre is a Mexican film producer based in New York City. She has produced several acclaimed short films including Oscar ® nominated projects Ala Kachuu – Take and Run and Bestia as well as Zero Hour written by Guillermo Arriaga and the Ariel winning animated short Viva El Rey.
Since 2017, she has supported the execution of Academy Award® campaigns for entertainment companies such as Focus Features, Warner Bros., Apple and GKIDS. As well as campaigns for the Oscar® winning shorts Skin (2019) and The Neighbor’s Window (2020).
Méndez has been able to work on projects from different studios and directors that have made an impact on audiences everywhere. She has always chosen projects with a unique viewpoint that will generate a conversation among viewers. For her newest venture, Méndez is taking a turn in stop-motion animation, her hometown has invested in a studio with three sound stages, just dedicated to stop-motion animation. She said that she was just excited to be here and to have it funded from her hometown.
Stop-motion animation is a medium that can bring forth some challenging topics while visually exploring the subject matter. There’s a way to show different perspectives through animation that live-action work just can’t stretch to. There’s a way to appreciate the medium and more people should value it,
“I think they see it as a kid’s medium and like children’s Saturday cartoons. And I think, this year’s Oscars sort of proving that people are ready for more adult content. And it’s just another way of telling a story. It’s not just for kids. I see that shift happening and hopefully, people are going to be engaged in this story.”
– Mariana Méndez
Stop-motion animation has grown into a medium where adults can explore different subject matters and it works so well. Whether it’s an illness or trauma, the medium can fantastically explore different facets to show it all. Méndez just fell into this industry because of her hometown and how the film was always around her. The animation was something that spoke to her because it’s a form of storytelling that is underappreciated and you can do so much with it.
The main reason Méndez wanted to break into the industry is so that she could put a spotlight on her hometown, “There’s a lot of potential in my hometown and one of the things we do at my company is trying to bridge the gap between Mexican talent and Mexican talent in the United States.” She wants to be part of this shift in the industry where there can be more opportunities for International filmmakers to get the recognition they deserve.
Méndez believes that everyone is on their journey and to be able to hone your voice as a producer in the industry will set you apart from the rest. She has worked in Public Relations and as a producer so having both under her belt has helped her immensely when working on projects. Méndez is very meticulous as a producer and will always notice something that others wouldn’t. She takes pride in her work and how far she has come as a producer.