Truth’s more profitable than fiction

Argos shifts from telenovelas to biopics

MEXICO CITY — For independent producer Argos Prods., truth is proving more profitable than fiction.

Mexican pubcaster Canal 22 will air two Argos biopics, while the production company has inked a deal with Telemundo to produce two more.

It’s a shift for the shingle that made telenovelas, including “Mirada de mujer” (The Look of a Woman) and “Ladron de corazones” (Stealer of Hearts), for Mexican net Televisa, and the occasional feature, such as “Sexo, pudor y lagrimas” (Sex, Pride and Tears).

But with the new deals, Argos is taking a step toward biography in Mexico and the U.S.

Canal 22 will broadcast four-part miniseries “La Virgen de Guadalupe” (The Virgin of Guadalupe) this month. It will also transmit the series on its U.S. signal, which is available on DirecTV in many areas.

Early next year, Canal 22 will broadcast “Zapata: amor en rebeldia” (Zapata, Rebellious Love), about revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata, with Demian Bichir in the title role.

Both productions wrapped some time ago; “Virgen” has run only once since it was completed in 2002, and the six-part “Zapata,” finished early this year, has never aired. The delay may be attributed to the box office disaster that unrelated biopic “Zapata” became in the spring.

Meanwhile, Argos has signed with longtime partner Telemundo to produce biopics about Mexican national hero Benito Juarez and revolutionary Pancho Villa, with the possibility for further productions down the line.

Argos topper Epigmenio Ibarra says Mexicans living in the U.S. are an important audience.

“Those 27 million compatriots are the best,” he says. “Like them, Argos went across the border in search of what we could not find in our own country: growth opportunities.”

Ibarra did not reveal financial terms of either deal and did not say when production on the Villa and Juarez pics would begin.

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