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Viacom’s Telefe, Mediapro Co-Produce ‘Los Internacionales’

The Colombian international larceny thriller serves both companies’ core strategic interests

In a tie-up of strategic significance for both partners, Viacom-owned Argentine network Telefe and Spain’s Mediapro Group have pacted to co-produce “Los Internacionales,” an eight-part true-events-based crime-thriller.

Viacom International Media Networks Américas will take exclusive distribution rights to North and Latin America, Mediapro to the rest of the world.

To air on Telefe in 2019, “Los Internacionales” is inspired by the non-fiction book “Conexión Bogotá, written by Nahuel Gallotta and fruit of his living with and interviewing members of organized crime communities in Bogotá. Pre-dating Colombia’s narco cartels, and with their own singular rituals, these have created worldwide networks in order to carry out robberies – ranging from burglaries to jewelry convention theft – outside Colombia, in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America, including Argentina.

By 2016, over 3,000 Colombians were serving prison sentences for theft outside Colombia, Gallotta said when presenting his book.

Shooting in Colombia, Spain and Argentina, “Los Internacionales” is produced by Mediapro Argentina. A trailer will be presented at this year’s L.A. Screenings, which run May 15-25.

Viacom acquired Telefe for $345 million in cash in November 2016, aiming to turn it into a content powerhouse in the relatively high-growth market of Latin America.

“Los Internacionales” fits that game-plan to a tee. Already operating offices around the globe, buying up partner Globomedia and then a stake in Daniel Burman’s Buenos Aires-based Burman Office, Mediapro has driven hard into international drama production, partnering with Netflix (Burman’s “Edha,”), Amazon Prime Video (behind-the-scenes doc-series on Manchester City and Spain’s LaLiga) and HBO (“The Young Pope”).

Other series are with Fox Networks Group (“Vis-a-Vis” Season 3), Finnish pubcaster YLE (“The Paradise”), and Sweden’s Dramacorp, co-owned by Beta Film, and DirecTV Latin America (“El futbol no es así). Mediapro announced a co-production alliance with Turner Latin America at Natpe.

For Telefe, Mediapro represents a highly-connected partner as the Argentine broadcaster angles to make high-end series for not only Argentina but Latin America and the world.

Guillermo Borensztein, VIMN Americas VP content sales and co-production, confirmed in a statement that “Los Internacionales” was an “important bet to position us as a studio beyond the Argentine market.” The series was designed as a “content of cinema-quality” which can “travel the world,” given its literary origin, direction, cast and direction aesthetics,” he added.

As Mediapro looks to develop premium content for the world from Latin America, “Los Internacionales” marks a “further step in our bet on talent on Argentina, a country which has always stood out as a great generator of stories,” said Javier Méndez, Mediapro head of contents.

Though there is a feeding fever to create high-end shorter-format dramas in Latin America, often through co-production, very few have as yet seen the light of day. Many of those that have are from Argentina. The latest, “Sandro,” produced at near double the average budget for an Argentine drama episode, is co-produced by Telefe and Telefilms’ The MagicEye and currently punching best ratings this year in Argentina on Telefe.

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