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Series Mania: Daniel Burman on ‘Supermax,’ the TV Revolution, Characters as Kings

Argentine show-runner delivers a keynote at Paris’ 8th Series Mania

PARIS — For Latin America, and more specifically Globo, Daniel Burman’s genre-blending “Supermax” is a one-stop revolution. Making waves when announced at last year’s Natpe, it is Globo’s first 100% Spanish-language TV series produced out of its Rio Globo Studios.

“Supermax” is just 10 episodes long, when Globo telenovelas can run into 200-plus. It marked the dis-embarkment in TV production of Argentina’s Burman, the show’s show-runner-director, one of the most prominent movie figures in the Latin-American film business, whose 2003 “The Lost Embrace,” that scooped Berlin’s Grand Jury Prize and a best actor Silver Bear for Daniel Hendler. Argentina’s Hernan Goldfrid, helmer of movie “Thesis of a Crime,” a hit 2013 psychological thriller starring Ricardo Darin, co-directs.

Written by Mario Segade, Virginia Martinez, Daniel Burman, and produced by Globo and Oficina Burman, it has been structured as a multi-lateral international co-production, partners including Spain’s Mediaset España, Mexico’s TV Azteca, Teledoce in Uruguay, and Argentina’s Television Publica.

The show marks the first series from Oficina Burman, now part of Mediapro Group, which is set to make Netflix’s first series in Argentina, “Edha.”

Boasting a multinational cast – Santiago Segura (“Torrente” franchise), Argentine star Cecilia Roth (“All About My Mother”), Brazil’s Laura Neiva (‘The Party’) and Felipe Hintze (‘Hidden Truths’), Uruguay’s Cesar Troncoso (“Clandestine Childhood”) and Cuban Ruben Cortada (“El Principe”) – “Supermax” also weighs in as a genre cocktail a fiction reality show, which sees  eight talent contestants consigned to a high-security jail surrounded by a vast waste of salt flats. One, a woman, is obviously pathological, another pathological, two at least murderers, and the game-show presenter maybe a pedophile. But the back-story of one of the contestants, an ex-con who led a prison-riot in the very same penitentiary some years before, appears to want to return for some kind of buried heist, gradually engulfs the game show. With that, “Supermax” delivers another level of interest: a portrait of a Latin America still dominated by primal passions and its past and where even there most elementary, if powerful, of entertainment pleasures – seeing who actually wins the reality show or gets out alive from the penitentiary – is mixed with  a portrait of a continent’s psychological misery. A keynote speaker at Series Mania, where Mediapro made a strong showing with a Co-Production Forum presentation of “The Head,” an innovative serial killer thriller set in the polar wastes, Daniel Burman fielded questions from Variety on “Supermax” with one foot in the plane to return to his native Argentina.

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