'Post Mortem' helmer also runs HBO show
Pablo Larrain, whose “Post Mortem” plays in Venice competition today, is leading a double life — in film and TV.Larrain arrived at Venice’s Excelsior Hotel Saturday to present his third feature. But he comes from the set of “Profugos,” a 13-seg fiction series for HBO Latin America, for which Larrain is showrunner. “Profugos” turns on a petty criminal, a cartel thug, the cartel’s new kingpin and a man in grave need of surgery, who are all embroiled in a cocaine run. It’s HBO Latin America’s first action series and first original production in Chile. “It’s a genre we’re importing from the U.S. but adapting to our codes and rules, and that’s what’s really interesting,” Larrain said. He is supervising or writing the skein’s scripts and helming half the episodes. “Profugos” is produced by Fabula, the Santiago de Chile label Larrain runs with brother Juan de Dios Larrain. It isn’t the only Latin American producer at Venice that has diversified into TV. Mexico’s Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Pablo Cruz’s Canana, whose “Juan Gentil” plays Horizons today, is developing original programming for burgeoning pubcaster Canal 11. Brazil’s Gullane Filmes, which had “Birdwatchers” and “Plastic City” at Venice in 2008, has made series “Alice” with HBO Ole Originals. TV opens the door to much larger audiences. On “Profugos,” HBO Latin America guarantees distribution in 23 territories in the region. “That access is marvellous,” said Larrain. With companies’ income built into series’ budgets, TV guarantees — and hikes — cash flow. But, according to Larrain, “TV offers different kinds of content and structures,” as “Post Mortem” underscores. Turning on a 55-year-old morgue worker who, in the midst of Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 coup, fantasizes about his cabaret dancer neighbor, “Post Mortem,” Larrain said, deals with “a piece of a Chilean ghost.” “It’s a one-way love story, where love finally proves highly destructive,” Larrain added. Sold by Funny Balloons, “Post Mortem” is Larrain’s follow-up to Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight screener “Tony Manero,” which Funny Balloons sold to 20 territories.