LOS ANGELES, CA – A top Mexican government official has placed double stamps of approval on two new stellar projects – a book authored by Raul Julia-Levy and a screen adaptation of the novel presented by the actor/producer, Hollywood megastar Wesley Snipes and an international production team.
“Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel,” a major motion picture, travels south of the border in January, 2011, with an initial production budget set at $80 million. Additional casting is expected to begin in March.
The effects-driven 3-D movie has racked focus on several prime locations – the imposing and biologically significant jungles of Guatemala in Central America and the archaeologically compelling Mexican states of Chiapas and Campeche.
Financing and Latin American distribution are provided by Tayrona Entertainment Group, which recently established collaboration with Maandi Media Entertainment – a local development firm owned by Snipes.
The star of “Blade” takes top billing in the highly-anticipated blockbuster and will share producer credits with Julia-Levy.
Other producers include Ed Elbert (“The Martian Child,” “Anna and the King,” “The Mighty Quinn” and the upcoming “Nest of Lies,” “Rastaman” and “East of Eden”); Tayrona’s James Ordonez; Tayrona’s founder and CEO Jose Antonio Ruiz-Diez and Tayrona’s production executive Sheila M. McCarthy will executive-produce the film project – which will draw heavily on Julia-Levy’s novel by the same name.
Julia-Levy’s book tells the story of four venturesome pre-teens who travel back in time to a Mesoamerican civilization that existed more than 2,500 hundred years ago when the Mayans first started developing written language, art, mathematics, architecture and astronomical systems.
These kids locate the actual key to saving the world from destruction in 2012 AD, a prophesy allegedly foretold centuries ago by that ancient civilization. The book is slated for distribution next Spring and is expected to contain secret information not yet released by Mexican archaeologists.
Secretary of Culture Carlos A. Vidal Angles said Julia-Levy’s book is supported by the Mexican government for a number of reasons.
“It opens the door for reflection on the history of the Mayan culture and on the deep knowledge Mayans had about astronomical phenomena and mathematics,” said Secretary Angles through an English translator. “And somehow such books make us look to the Mayans of today, who are direct descendants of all that ancestral knowledge.”
A facts-laden documentary, exposing hidden archaeological secrets, will be produced concurrently with and independently from the trilogy-designed film.
Secretary Angles said he is thrilled that producers have chosen Campeche as a principal location site since heritage in that area is rich and new archaeological discoveries are made there all the time.
“Campeche is a state that has two sites inscribed on the World Heritage List – the ancient Mayan city of Calakmul and the fortifications of the city of San Francisco de Campeche,” said the Secretary.
“And the government of Mexico and federal authorities have made it very clear that information on new discoveries will be proportionate to what Mr. Julia-Levy will have in his book.”
The World Heritage List includes a total of 911 cultural and natural properties which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
The United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) administers the World Heritage List under the World Heritage Convention, through which signing member countries pledge to protect their natural and cultural birthright.
“[Documentaries, movies and books] help us to reevaluate the importance of indigenous peoples and their cultural heritage,” said the Secretary.
Julia-Levy hails from one of the wealthiest and most influential families in all of Latin America. He maintains strong philanthropic connections with Mexican President Felipe Calderón and members of his cabinet.
Julia-Levy said he plans to donate a portion of his salary and a percentage of the film’s profits to help the indigenous peoples of Mexico and other benevolent causes.
Julia-Levy will be honored in the September, 2010, issue of Exceptional People Magazine for his continued humanitarian efforts.
Snipes, who holds holds a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate, performs most of his own stunts in his action/adventure films. He has mastered numerous martial arts forms, including the Brazilian street fighting form Capoeira.
Snipes’ career began in 1986 when he starred opposite Goldie Hawn in the sports/comedy “Wild Cats.” His brilliant on-camera work has been lauded by some of the biggest actors and directors in Hollywood, including Robert De Niro, Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone and the late Dennis Hopper.
Snipes has enjoyed an illustrious career on the competitive silver screen, playing tough-guy roles and popular action heroes in such action-packed films as “Passenger 57.” He has starred in more than 55 major motion pictures, producing nearly a dozen.
“Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel” is set to open in theatres worldwide in December, 2012.
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