Argentina’s Telefe Pushes For International Growth

Family drama ‘Lucas’ leads company's Mip TV slate

Raising the ante on its international TV production ambitions, Argentine broadcaster Telefe is partnering with Peruvian network America TV to co-produce family drama “The Return of Lucas.”

Lucas,” a 60-seg one-hour skein, revolves around a boy who was abducted from his parents during a beach day and suddenly seems to reappear 20 years later, sparking family tension and suspense: It’s not certain this really is Lucas.

Telefe developed the project inhouse and has already produced a promo trailer. Series will roll beginning in July in Lima.

From one of Latin America’s biggest broadcast networks, also a powerful film and TV production conglom, “Lucas” forms part of Telefe’s drive to raise its game on international productions tapping more revenues from foreign markets. 

As a Latin American fiction featuring a topnotch international cast that speaks perfect neutral Spanish, the Telefonica-owned Argentine company aims to sell “Lucas” easily to the rest of Latin American territories, according to Tomás Yankelevich, Telefe contents and international business director.

Telefe rates “Lucas” as a “super-series” because of its high-action scenes, its scheduling – one episode per day — and its quality, in line with U.S. TV drama, he added.

Also underscoring its plans to ramp up international production, though not on its Mip TV lineup, Telefe is producing Oscar-winning Juan Jose Campanella’s political revenge thriller “Entre canibales,” a pioneering — for Argentina — 4k production again in neutral Spanish toplining Uruguayan actress Natalia Oreiro (“Clandestine Childhood”) as a woman raped when young who returns to extract revenge from the rapists, and reclaim the son that was the fruit of their aggression.

Chile’s Benjamin Vicuña (“Profugos”) and Argentina’s Joaquin Furriel (“The Boss: Anatomy of a Crime”) co-star. Series is designed as a two 60-seg seasons.

Lucas” leads distribution arm Telefe Internacional’s product lineup at Mip TV, whose highlights include romantic comedy “The Legacy of Rock & Roll,” co-produced with Underground Producciones and Endemol, a local hit that averages a winning 36% share for Telefé in its 9:15 p.m. timeslot.

Further titles among Telefé Internacional’s wide range of TV programming also take in telenovelas such as “Lioness,” a partnership with actor-producer Pablo Echarri’s outfit El Arbol; “Love Road,” a successful primetime co-production with Enrique Estevanez at LCA Producciones; as well as interactive fiction formats (“Yes or No”) and documentaries, such as “Pope Francis, The Story of Jorge Bergoglio.”

John Hopewell contributed to this article.

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