Los Cabos: Canadian Series ‘Merciful’ Targets U.S. TV Deal

As film festivals become showcases for all formats of quality content, the Los Cabos Discovery forum this year includes a TV series, “Merciful,” from producer Marc Almon, whose 2012 film “Blackbird” won best first Canadian feature in Toronto.

The series, budgeted at $12.25 million will tell the story of a woman who returns to her hometown after being imprisoned as a teenager for killing her baby. It has a uniquely literary pedigree: writer Lynn Coady is a story editor on “Orphan Black” who previously wrote six fiction books, while story editor Esta Spalding is a noted poet in addition to writing for “Battle Creek” and “The Bridge.”

The original story, which follows what happens as the disgraced woman returns to town with debts to settle, was hatched by Coady. “I grew up in small town Nova Scotia,” she says, “I know what that kind of fishbowl small town existence is like.”

Coady and Almon are in Cabo for an “opportunity to provide a sneak peak” at the project to those attending the festival, with an eye to landing a berth on an outlet such as HBO, Netflix or Sundance TV.

Coming to Cabo was “a bit serendipitous,” says Almon, since he had originally planned to bring a feature project but switched gears when “Merciful” started to come together with Bell Media and HBO Canada.

“We want to make a Canadian TV series that will live well beyond Canada,” he says.

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