Why did you pick Mesoamerica 1519?
Mesoamerica (ancient Mexico) is an exotic land of beauty, awe, and mystery. The year 1519 was historically significant - when the old and new worlds came together. Conquistador Hernan Cortez and his small band of soldiers were blown away by what they saw when they reached Tenochtitlan, the grand capital city of the Valley of Mexico and home of Montezuma, the wealthy and feared ruler of the Aztecs. Neither Cortez and his men or Montezuma and his people had much knowledge of one another. My story emulates the two cultures colliding, but largely focuses on the Aztecs, the last great ruling power in the Valley of Mexico. They were a militaristic society with little room for error. Two of my characters are based on both Montezuma and Cortez, actual historical figures.
There is much speculation still today about the Aztecs, as much culture was lost or destroyed. Archaeologists are still piecing it together as the jungle and modern civilization threatens to bury forever. The Aztecs built a ‘golden’ empire (largely on tributes from those they suppressed). Their whitewashed city of monumental temples and towers was located on a floating island in the middle of a shallow lake, once a snake-infested swamp. They adapted to cultures of earlier advanced tribes and also invented their own such as chinampas (floating maize fields). They had schools, a grand central market, sports, strict dress, unbending codes of conduct…and war (which they were known for). The Aztecs helped introduce chocolate to the world. It came from cocoa beans they grew and used for a form of money. In their language of Nahuatl - it was called ‘chocolatl’.
What inspired you?
I’ve read various books about tribes who lived in ancient Central America (Mesoamerica). Where did they come from - how did they progress to glorious heights in a relatively short time frame, what were their wars and contentions - what happened to them, abandoning their cities? Who are the ‘people’ buried beneath the crumbling ruins? And not just kings and rulers, but the average citizen?
I started off by reading a book which was a culmination of over 40 years of archaeological research in Mesoamerica. The author invited filmmakers to use what he had discovered. I found it fascinating and mysterious – the floodgate to my curiosity was opened. After reading that book, I began to read many books about the Aztecs, Mesoamerica, and Cortez. I’ve spent over 10 years researching the time frame and the people who lived in Mesoamerica. It has been very fun and educational. I wanted to give the many people who lived back then a voice - an exciting, engaging, and positive ancestral link to modern generations.
What’s it about?
An unlikely Mesoamerican teen is empowered to fight for freedom in a tyrannical kingdom, while invaders seek to conquer.
Tetoca is a typical teen – doesn’t like rules - likes to have fun with his sidekick – pushes the edge - yet his peaceful farming tribe is next door neighbors with a strict, militaristic society ruled by a rich and powerful king. Tetoca has no skill with his weapon, yet he wants to stand up to this king, against his family’s wishes. Without change, he faces a life that is limited with dreams that could never fly. Chance meetings throw Tetoca in a web with those he thought were enemies, yet are against the evil traditions maintained by this demanding monarch, who listens only to his idols. The king’s greatest risk is superstition and his own children who rebel. Tetoca deals with self-esteem, young forbidden love, reaching beyond self to others, and overcoming weaknesses. Upon first sight of the Spanish ships, life itself, would never be the same…In his fight, he must honor his ancestors of long ago and their sacrifices to win freedom.
What do you hope to achieve?
From the heart - I hope to inspire people, that they too can overcome their trials even when the odds say no. I hope to exemplify that freedom is a gift that has to be protected in any era of time. Eagle Warrior brings to light the importance of family tradition and culture – as a loving grandfather teaches his grandson about his ancestors. Eagle Warrior invites people to know of inhabitants of this critical land- and that there is more than meets the eye and more to be discovered.
From a business standpoint, we plan to make a successful film that will delight audiences throughout world, making a profit for all who invest. I hope all the creative team members will be proud of their work in the film. I wish for Eagle Warrior – A Time of Reform to join other memorable animated films that stand for all generations.
Why will people go see this movie?
The setting alone is fantastic, so suited for an epic animation experience. The land is exotic, mysterious and secretive, and the characters are diverse and have clear conflicts. Eagle Warrior – A Time of Reform is high adventure in the past where we cannot physically go. Who doesn’t like a survival story or one of an unlikely hero? Who doesn’t like seeing someone overcome the most monumental challenges or fighting the good fight? Who doesn’t love that endearing sidekick who keeps us smiling? And girls love a resourceful and pretty princess.
There are lessons to be learned from the past and I think people will relate to the characters’ dilemmas. I think the audience will attach the characters relationships, missions, and contributions to their own people in their own time. I passionately believe they will benefit in some way from seeing it and enjoy the time and money spent.
Who did you write the story for?
I wrote Eagle Warrior – A Time of Reform for everyone. Specifically ages 8+ and all cultures, religions, and ethnicities.
What kind of animation are you going for?
We’re going for the best and most beautiful animation out there. We want to make an epic film for a fraction of the cost, using top notch artists and talent who believe in the project, and who are eager to jump on board the Eagle Warrior flight. There are many brilliant animation, music, sound, design, production people, and actors who like to work : ) It’s certainly not a work-for-free project but there are many creative cost-models to leverage which will achieve that big-budget look.
Eagle Warrior has already attracted some brilliant team members with the development so far. Many people have shown interest in project, honing their skills into magic on the screen. There’s much to be said for the energy a project like this creates – we become a family with a common goal. I can’t say enough thanks for everyone who have contributed their time and talents so far – our most recent efforts culminating in the Eagle Warrior - A Time of Reform, animatic. My thanks include those who have invested in our creative assets to date. The Eagle Warrior - A Time of Reform,
feature film will offer a lot of jobs - producing, creating, marketing, and distribution to name a few.
Why should I (the investor) make this movie?
Animated films make money. They have a wide audience base with a G or PG rating that brings entire families to the theater. Eagle Warrior has two built-in markets - English and Hispanic, not to mention other International appeal. It will be visually beautiful, the characters endearing and the soundtrack will keep people humming and singing the tunes. The sky is the limit for ancillary markets. Eagle Warrior is the first film of a trilogy. A film franchise can be started and I think we’ve seen what successful film franchises can do. Some assets from the first film can be utilized for subsequent sequel releases. Loyal audiences endeared to the first film will be eager to see the next one.
Movie-goers love films with ‘heart’. Just ask Walt Disney, a mentor and role model for me, Jeanne McKinney, the screenwriter. Eagle Warrior has ‘heart’ and that can translate to rewards that surpass even the most prolific box office numbers. I invite you to prove my point! If you build it - they will come : )
Jeanne McKinney 2015