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Berlinale: Larrain Brothers Unveil First TV Series (EXCLUSIVE)

As in the U.S., illustrious international filmmakers are diving into high-end drama

Pablo Larrain Juan de Dios Larrain
Maria Laura Antonelli/AGF/REX/Shutterstock

Fabula TV, the new television company headed by “Jackie” director Pablo Larrain and his producer-brother Juan de Dios Larrain, has unveiled its first international projects: “Ni Una Menos” and “Reinas,” two series focusing on women in Latin America.

Documentary “Ni Una Menos” (“Not One Less”) charts the dramatic rise of the women’s movement in the region, while fictional drama “Reinas” (“Queens”) looks at the crimes that women still suffer there.

Juan de Dios Larrain is expected to promote the series at the Berlin Film Festival, where he is presenting competition title “A Fantastic Woman,” which he and his brother produced. The film was directed by Sebastian Lelio (“Gloria”) and just sold to Sony Pictures Classic.

The Larrains rank among South America’s best-known moviemakers. Their foray into TV is yet another sign of the international film industry’s dramatic TV makeover, which is changing the economics of the business and even the focus of film fests the world over.

One of the Berlinale’s biggest growth moves this year has been to extend its Drama Series Days, a TV-series screening event, from two days to three. The lineup includes “The Kennedys – After Camelot” (Muse Distribution Intl.), “The Halcyon” (Sony Pictures Television) “Cold” (Keshet Intl.) and “The Wise Ones” (Globo). One of the buzziest events at the Berlinale so far was the presentation of the first trailer for Sky Deutschland’s upcoming drama skein “Babylon Berlin,” directed by Tom Tykwer, co-director of “Cloud Atlas.”

The Larrain brothers’ series target Latin America but are likely to enjoy large international reach. The pair have battled for their movies to be seen throughout Latin America ever since their Oscar-nominated film “No.” Nowadays, said Juan de Dios Larrain, “TV series can get into territories faster than films. They’re easier to connect, to advertise.”

“Ni Una Menos,” an eight-part documentary series, will shoot in different parts of Latin America, portraying the contemporary explosion in women’s activism. The show focuses on “how Latin American women have raised a new voice,” Larrain said.

“Reinas” is fictional but takes its cue from real-life crimes against women, including the case of a priest in Chile who abducted newborn babies for adoption. The 12-episode series will also shoot in Latin America.

The Larrains produce both series. Fabula TV, headed by Angela Poblete, should have episode treatments ready by March.

“In the contents business, the real money and markets are now in Hollywood movie blockbusters and Netflix-style TV series,” said Bertrand Villegas at The Wit.

Indeed, a massive ad poster for the Netflix series “Santa Clarita Diet,” starring Drew Barrymore, hangs off the side of a building in Potsdamer Platz, the nerve center of the Berlinale. With perhaps unintended symbolism, the ad dwarfs all the posters for Berlinale films.