Industry veteran executive and producer Alana Mayo takes the financial and creative risks necessary to bring unique and underserved artistic visions to the screen.
As president of MGM’s Orion Pictures, the 38-year-old New York native makes the movies she wants despite Hollywood’s history of exclusion and lack of originality. She is a young, black, queer woman whose efforts have multiplied since she took over the mantle of the television company in 2020.
“If you had the privilege, like me, of being alive right now and in a position where you can either tell stories or partially determine what stories are told, I don’t know how you can’t be excited. by what’s left on the table,” Mayo told NPR.
She continued, “That’s when I started walking into rooms and saying, ‘You’re all missing an opportunity here. And financially, you leave money on the table. And also, why wouldn’t we want to do more? It is one of the most exciting works of art to come out of our industry today.
Growing up in Chicago, Mayo loved movies, but while studying film and creative writing at Columbia University, she discovered the underlying problem behind the system that informed those movies.
“I couldn’t believe how seamless they were in terms of who’s on screen and who’s behind the camera,” she said.
“I was really like – oh, this system is, by design, excluding a lot of people. I realized it was completely broken.
In her role, Mayo was instrumental in licensing the drama film, Until, released on October 14, 2022. The true story is based on Grandma Tillan educator and activist who sought justice after the brutal murder of her 14-year-old son, Emmett, in 1955.
She also gave the green light to Everything is possible, a coming-of-age story that follows a high school romance between a transgender girl and her crush. The film, who is an actor Billy Porter first feature film, was released on Amazon this summer.
Mayo’s production experience testifies to its commitment. Prior to her presidency, she served as vice president of production at Paramount Pictures, where she worked on by Denzel Washington award-winning film in 2016 Fencesand as Vice President and Head of Originals at Vimeo.
She was also Michael B. Jordan secret weapon as head of production and development for his Outlier Society.
“Her background and tastes are what drew me to her and her fearless ability to take risks in our ever-changing business is what really connected me with her,” Jordan said, per Deadline.