BUENOS AIRES — Galvanised by backing from Netflix, BBC Studios and Flixxo, the presence of top regional producers – Fabula, Kapow, Pampa Films – power panels, a spread of project from Buenos Aires City, SoloSerieS, Ventana Sur’s TV strand looks in 2023 to have come of age.
That’s hardly surprising. Latin America is a key market for platforms, including Netflix, which looks set to try to reach out to broader cross-section of Argentine producers at two presentations on Thursday, headed by Belén Piñeiro, manager & content, legal, Latin America, and Francisco Ramos, VP of content, Netflix.
The diaspora of on-the-rise filmmakers into TV continues, Chile’s multi-prized cineastes Dominga Sotomayor and Francisca Alegría and Dominican Yanillys Pérez presenting their first TV projects at SoloSeries.
Women make much of the running, packing all five berths in Netflix’s strand and half of the projects competing for two BBC Studios mentorships. Short format series, in contrast, still remain largely masculine domain.
A brief breakdown of titles:
“Convince Me,” (“Convénceme,” Vera Fogwill, Argentina)
Ariel, 27, jumps from a seventh story window to his death, he thinks, but survives. Family, friends, even a Kabbalist, try to reason with him, now trussed up in a hospital, about why he should want to live. The latest from Fogwill, writer-director-star of breakout hit “Kept and Dreamless.”
“Gladys,” (Dominga Sotomayor)
A 10-part biopic of extraordinary Communist Party activist Gladys Marin, who spearheaded clandestine opposition to heinous dictator Augusto Pinochet, then battled to make him pay with democracy. Sotomayor, whose lyrical, original “Too Late to Die Young” won Locarno best director, writes and directs. “Inés of My Soul” helmer Nicolas Acuña produces. A banner project.
“Mangata,” (Catalina Calcagni, Carla Stagna, Chile)
From Calcagni and Stagna, both scribes on 2018 telenovela phenom “Pacto de Sangre,” with Francisca Alegría, behind Sundance title “The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future,” set to helm. A psychological thriller as Isabel is accused of murdering sister Rocío. Desperate, she suspects an obscure self-help group run by Rocio’s husband. Rio Estudios (“Demente”) produces.
“Underdogs,” (María Camila Daza, Colombia)
Billed as an action thriller in which five teens build a street artists underground movement whose unusual murals denounce a ruling elite’s corruption. From Daza, involved in Netflix’s “The Great Heist” and Pattaya-Sony buzz series “MalaYerba.”
“Wonderland,” (Yanillys Pérez, Dominican Republic)
From “Pèrez,” a 2016 Toronto Fest Discovery Filmmaker Award winner with first feature “Jeffrey,” the tale of four young women friends who oppose their town’s environmental destruction, at terrible personal cost.
“A To Z: Diversity,” (“De La A A La Z: Diversidad,” Mariano Pozzi, Argentina)
An anthology on LGBTQ issues, taking each letter of the alphabet as its starting point. It will highlight issues in each episode not currently well known to the mainstream. Producer Mariano Pozzi directed episodes of web series “Migrant Stories,” winning big at web fests globally.
“Downriver,” (“Rio Abajo,” Jesica Arán, Argentina)
The latest from Arán, behind upcoming Disney+ Spain kids live-action show “Campamento Newton,” a procedural in which police commissioner Daniela Vera, two years after a brutal assault, must reopen a case she thought closed. Based out of Argentina’s AVI Films, Luciana Lacorazza produces.
“Expats,” (“Expats,” Tara Sullivan, Argentina)
An American woman in Buenos Aires struggles to navigate life. In a bid to change, she seeks out the expat community, making four friends who show her a whole new world where sticking to the law is optional. Trieste selected “Cut,” helmer Guadalupe Yepes produces with her company Bella Sombra Films.
“Eva” (“Eva” Thays Berbe, Brazil)
Having written on HBO’s “All of Us” and Netflix’s “Tuned,” Berbe returns with a story of a trans woman teacher named Eva. After her friend dies, she is left to take on the care of orphan Gael aged 8. Years later Gael’s biological father, a socially conservative man, returns to the fold.
“Fugitives,” (“Fugitivas,” Guadalupe Yepes, Argentina)
Four women flee their former lives, hit the road and support one another with their sisterhood. From actor-writer-director Yepes (“Corte). Set up at BellaSombra, headed by Maximiliano Dubois (“I Am Gilda”).
“How to Feel,” (Instrucciones Para Sensibles, Marco Sartorio, Argentina)
A struggling actor, his girlfriend and best friend launch a boutique service to help straight men deal with the mandates of masculinity, while discovering unexpected feelings for one another, the synopsis runs. Written by Sartorio, winner of Paramount’s 2020 Storytellers contest, and backed by Fernando Sokolowicz (“The Distinguished Citizen”), one of Argentina’s most experienced movie producers.
“Interweaving,” (“Entramando,” Cecilia Cambiaso, Argentina)
Prolific horror producer Hernán Findling (“Directors Cut,” “Realidad Virtual”) turns to drama bringing a tale of three cousins brought back together because of an inheritance. They’ve each lived very different lives, one a famous actress going through a serious illness, another an holistic doctor doing service in a mountain community and the third a gay, sustainable architect and YouTuber.
“Iron Woman,” (“Mulher De Ferro,” Jarsom Wayans, Brasil)
Five women and their relationship to power, in Latin America, shape up this thriller. One of them, the first Black woman to become president of Brazil, returns from exile to collect a Nobel Prize only to be attacked. Written and produced by Wayans with his company Eva Films.
“Timecode,” (“Timecode,” Mauricio Zeballos, Bolivia)
Hacked city surveillance systems, corrupt politicians, and a pharmaceutical company producing addictive substances – this paranoid thriller is sure to be a maze. The heart of the piece stems from lead character Harold Aristegui,whose family are killed. It is this tragedy that sets the plot in motion. Produced by Alejandro Quiroga.
“Captain Coconut” (Diego Forconi, Argentina)
“The adventures of Will, a reckless sailor whose innate clumsiness leads him to travel in a state of constant shipwreck,” explains creator Forconi, an animation director at Game Ever Estudios.
“Dr. Klaus Specimens” (Adrián Lopez Soler, Gonzalo G. Bauzá & Javier Castilo, Argentina)
Created by Adrián Lopez Soler, Gonzalo G. Bauzá and Javier Castilo, founders of the recently-launched Fleming Films. Francisco Matiozzi Molinas’ AVI Films produce the eight-episode show. “An excuse to review what we have become trying to survive the cement board,” say the creators.
“Fantastic Sex Shop” (Daniel Esteban Jácome Muñoz, Ecuador)
Alicia Animation House produces this fantasy story. CEO Jácome Muñoz, founder of Animation Ecuador, is the creator behind its 12 episodes. Kathe – a vibrator, Dixxie – an inflatable-doll, Polanski – an old dildo – and Latex – a hypochondriac condom, are the unusual workers at this Sex Shop.
“Gualicho, Folk Horror” (Luciano Redigonda, Argentina)
Luciano Redigonda’s eight horror stories share a common landscape populated by sinister and mythological characters in abandoned landcapes. Structured as a four-minute format, it’s produced by Agostina Zaros at Sr. Manduví, who has screened work at Bafici and at Buenos Aires’ Youth Art Bienal.
“More Me Than Myself” (Lucía Rivera López, Argentina)
From Rivera López, producer of Tribeca Immersive 2023 title “Iago: the Green Eyed Monster. “A group of friends goes through passage to adulthood, each talking about other people, revealing things for themselves,” she explains. NAM Producciones handles production.
“Overthinkers” (Matias Dinardo, Argentina)
Exploring city neuroses via different characters, their intimate problems, insecurities and fears. “These people do think before they act… too much,” explains Dinardo. Eso Que Se Mueve Producciones produced Dinardo’s short films “Pensadero” and “Talcahuano,” ahead of this eight, 15-minute episode series.
“Route 40” (Mariano Swi, Argentina)
Set as trip of self-discovery, Laura, 40, quit her job and hit the road. Mariano Swi, director of “El sueño del pibé” for Argentina’s major cable service Flow, is the creator of this five-part adventure series.
“Unreal” (Rocío Blanco, Argentina)
From the director of 2020’ “Tony,” Rocío Blanco, which premiered at Canneseries. “Unreal” is a 10-episode fantasy involving a portal to a different reality where the characters fulfil their desires. Suddenly the dream becomes a nightmare.