Miami Mana Production Village in Wynwood!!

Article and Photos by Ashley Pineiro

Originally built in 1997 as a free-trade zone, it was a private-public partnership, that went bankrupt. It then became a homeless colony. Finally the first Fast and Furious was shot there, before Mana owned it. The Mana team picked it up from bankruptcy court, and put it back together Mana has 138,000 square feet of interior space that has a clear height of 35 feet. The facility sits on 8.5 acres of land in the heart of Wynwood at 22nd Lane and NW 2nd Avenue.  The studio has a parking advantage to fit 30-40 trailers at one shot. There is area for equipment, and to build sets. It gives the companies an entire Hollywood lot experience.

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At Mana Miami Production Village in Wynwood, the production companies came to them. When they started to fix up Mana, they were scouted by a TV show, that was a remake of Charlie’s Angels. The production company for Charlie’s Angels, came back and built a soundstage. While they were filming, they were still fixing the building and doing full force construction. After the pilot was shot, they were ready for them to come back. It was a great experience, and the Mana team was able to learn a lot about what production companies need and what their looking for. The location became a favorable place, because in distance it is ten minutes from downtown Miami and South Beach, and most of the times they are shooting on location. Pain and Gain, Iron Man 3, Burn Notice, and major commercials have also shot here. The soundstage was retrofitted to be a music venue as well. Between concerts events, and production trade shows, there has been a lot of activity.

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When I asked Co-Vice President Oren Cohen what he felt was most rewarding about working at Mana, he simply replied:

“I love this neighborhood, I think this neighborhood is so unique, because everybody feels that this is the most vibrant, exciting, cool neighborhood, in Miami, and probably around the world as well by now. But I think it is important for us to work the in the out, you know, rub with the art. The characters and all the creativity that go around, is just fun. I would not change it for any other neighborhood. I think that even though many people here do their own business, still as a community, everybody has the same motto–to keep the authenticity, to keep the vibe, and to do construction–without hurting the view of the geography. It’s somewhat of a unique collaboration between all of the real estate and the land holders to try to preserve and keep the momentum that David Lombardi and Tony Goldman started; and so far so good! We don’t have Starbucks here, yet and we don’t have the feel of the commercialization that goes on in the design district or in Brickell. I hope we keep the artists here and we continue to support them. It’s a great feeling to come here every day, just to go get a cup of coffee, to walk the street, to drive the street, just to interact with the people of the neighborhood. I feel we are very lucky in that sense. It could be very boring and it’s not. Many creative businesses are coming here and it’s a lot of fun to be here in this time where a lot of changes and developments are going on.”

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Art basel was a huge success for Mana, they got to show the world what they can do, as far as art fairs, and producing concerts. They had 25,000 people walking through the place within four days. The press was unreal, they made it from New York Times to a couple thousand publications. They had a collaboration of three PR agencies such as Grey GooseBacardi, and Flaunt Magazine. Some concerts were A Night With Kendrick Lemar and Nicholas Jah, which Oren described as some of the most incredible shows. He even compared them to seeing Pink Floyd in the beginning. Boy George, another upcoming DJ was also there. Vanessa Beecroft held her installation which was supposed to feature Kayne West as a guest, however he never showed (some say it was apart of the installation; erosion). “It was a great experience all around, combined with the food trucks, it was a great success. We’re looking for a better year this year, with more vendors and more art shows.”

The future of Mana consists of continuing to rehab the property, additional funding for future events, and joining forces with production and media marketing companies. As well as further developing the front park. Another incredible concept is also in the works. A pop-up food court, with eight of the top restaurants in Miami. They will open a pop-up kitchen, there will be a DJ and a Micro Theatre. The food court-theatre component, sometimes a DJ, great kitchens with guest chiefs, it’s going to bring a lot of life to the neighborhood. They hope to make it on going, more than just once a month. Which they’re very excited about. A lot of great things are coming this year, among productions that are coming, festivals in the pipe line, and many more ideas. The food court will be here to stay though, it will be a great option even though there are restaurants, it will be more affordable for people that work here.

For more information about Miami Mana Production Studio, please visit manawynwood.com

The Daily Wood’s Kristen Lacyao attended A Night with Kendrick Lamar which took place at Mana, her video was a top pick on Vimeo! Check it out! http://thedailywood.com/2013/12/06/kendrick-lamar-performs-at-mana-wynwood-2/