XTR Studios opens documentary production center in Echo Park – The Hollywood Reporter

Bryn Mooser, CEO and founder of non-fiction entertainment studio XTR, said he would like to see more of the production in LA’s Eastside, a historic area for filming.

The Oscar-nominated producer said: “Echo Park is especially central to the creative community, especially for documentary filmmakers.”Lifeboats, Group 12). “This neighborhood was once called Edendale, and that was where the first Hollywood studios were located. Charlie Chaplin’s studio, Keystone Studios, Mary Pickford, everyone is here. The first radios were filmed a mile away. So there’s the history of making things here, which is really interesting. ”

That’s what attracted Mooser, a fifth-generation Angeleno, to open XTR’s new 35,000-square-foot production and headquarters on a back gate in Echo Park (formerly home to BelleVarado Studios). The studio, founded in 2019 and previously located in a warehouse loft on Sunset Boulevard, recently opened its doors in a Spanish Mission Revival-style building decorated with vintage wooden tables and The rescue yard doors feature stained glass windows that Mooser himself found and cut to fit. Every nook and cranny of the campus feels human and organic, never produced or curated, which is ultimately the right representation of a sanctuary devoted to documentary filmmaking. focus on real life.

XTR Studios

Courtesy of Trevor Traynor

XTR produces, distributes, and funds documentaries, series, and podcasts. They call me magic, the Apple TV+ docuseries on Magic Johnson; Oscar-nominated MTV Documentary Ascension; Menudo: Forever Young on HBO Max; Territory from National Geographic and Emmy and Peabody Awards 76 days make up some of the company’s list of more than 80 documents. I didn’t see you therea film about living with a disability that received the documentary director award at this year’s Sundance, will hit theaters in early October.

Mooser recalls his first job in the entertainment industry working for Fox a lot NYPD Blueand how that became the template for the kind of work environment he wanted to set up in the new home of XTR Studios, which includes work and meeting spaces, soundstages, recording studios, plus other production facilities and post-production.

“I think the experience where you walk in and you can feel an energy where people are making things is what makes me so excited to be in the entertainment industry. It’s something I’ve always wanted to go back to,” Mooser mused. “I want this space to be a place where ads can go and it can help remove barriers to entry for people to create stuff.”

Kathryn Everett, the company’s head of film, Bryn Mooser, and executive producer Lydia Kives.


XTR’s new home includes work and meeting spaces, soundstages, recording studios, and production and post-production facilities. The 45-person company currently has about 25 film and television projects in production. Additionally, activities for XTR’s Documentary+, a free streaming platform for movies and non-fiction TV shows launching in 2021, are also conducted in the workspace’s vaulted corridors. .

“We created it to provide a platform for the passionate nonfiction fans out there. Initially we started with a kind of on-demand aspect, where we are on the web, we have it available as an app on iOS TV, Roku etc. Then we launched as a quick channel and We now have 85% of TVs connected in the US, and we’re around the world,” said Justin Lacob, head of development and production at XTR and co-founder of Doc+. “It really is a place for people to watch documentaries for free, anywhere and everywhere.”

In just over 80 million U.S. homes alone, a large portion of Documentary+’s original content will be created on-site on XTR’s soundstage, able to do the entire virtual production process, allowing them to create documentary movies. material at a cost – whether the film requires in-person interviews or atmospheric entertainment in a controlled environment.

“We are not trying to compete with Netflix but we are a value added,” Lacob said of the platform, which features a mix of feature length and short titles from both notable directors and filmmakers. mind is developing. “A lot of our material on Doc+ isn’t available anywhere else, so we’re operating in our own lane in the streaming wars.”

XTR Film Studio

Courtesy of Trevor Traynor

XTR is also offering its studio facilities to other companies’ works, non-fiction or commercial rentals. “I wanted this space to be a place where advertisers could go and it could help lower the barriers to entry so people could create products,” Mooser said. With a new and larger documentary audience cultivated as the greater accessibility streaming platforms provide, Mooser hopes the space will meet demand. “The genre could never really reach a mass audience because it was limited to film festivals, or just a few documentaries. But now they can trend in similar ways [as narrative features]. That means you not only have new audiences, which of course create new business, but you also have audiences who are exposed to documentaries for the first time and want to be a creator themselves. . So there’s a whole new class of filmmakers, whose perspectives and backgrounds are completely different from those who’ve been making historical documentaries for a long time. It’s in that context, where you have a new audience, a new filmmaker and a thriving business, that I think there’s an opportunity to build a studio, hopefully at the heart of that, built for the times. this point, not built for the past.”

Part of Mooser’s vision is to build the studio around collaboration and creative inspiration as essential parts of the storytelling process. By putting post-production in-house, editors can collide and exchange the energy of ideas – like when atoms and their waveforms overlap close together – in a relaxed setting. This prioritization is one of the factors that make XTR Studios unique in the industry; The other is the company’s focus on working with a wide range of filmmakers (thanks in large part to XTR head of film Kathryn Everett’s insight).

“Historically, documentary studios often focused on a documentary filmmaker, you know? Like, a guy. And that was just the strange vision of the director,” Mooser said. “It was important to us that we were going to build something that didn’t have a voice at the heart of it, and we’ve actually worked with a lot of filmmakers.”

This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter September 28. Click here to subscribe.


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