Top Chilean film-TV company Invercine & Wood, co-producer of Turner Latin America’s upscale TV drama “Mary & Mike,” is preparing political thriller series “Un simple soldado” (“An Ordinary Soldier”), about the rise and fall of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
The six-episode mini-series will be directed by “Mary & Mike” helmer Julio Jorquera, and written by Enrique Videla, scribe on Pablo Larraín’s pioneering HBO Latin American series “Prófugos.”
An intimate portrait of Pinochet – who defined himself as “an ordinary soldier” – the new series will focus on how the dictator was seduced by power and how, with political cunning, managed to transform himself into a supreme leader for almost two decades, changing the course of the history in Chile.
Taking power on Sept. 11, 1973, after a violent coup, Augusto Pinochet established alliances to cement his position, first as supreme leader and then as president of the Chilean Republic, facing opposition such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), the Pro Paz committee and general Carlos Prats, assassinated alongside his wife in Buenos Aires in a bomb attack.
In old age, under house arrest in London from October 1998 to March 2000, Pinochet had to battle justice and international community, accused of crimes against humanity, fearing he would die in prison, far from his country, abandoned by former international allies.
“An Ordinary Soldier” will be presented to potential international partners for the first time ever at the Pitch Copro Series, the major industry event at Spain’s 2nd Conecta Fiction. An international co-production meet for TV drama, it runs June 18-21 in Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela.
The project’s biggest challenge were to make Pinochet’s character seem credible and the series creators take on his feel convincingly unprejudiced, said María Elena Wood, executive producer at Invercine & Wood. Channeling ‘70s aesthetics, in narrative terms, the inspiration will come mainly from Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and, in visual terms, from Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist.”
At Conecta Fiction, Invercine & Wood will look for Spanish or English producers, since we aim to also shoot in these countries, as well as partners in Latin America,” Wood said.
Scheduled to go into production next year in Spanish, with an estimated spend of €300,000 ($354,000) per episode, the project has so far covered 13% of its total budget.
“A Chilean TV channel which collaborated in the series’ development is very interested in being part of the project, since it considers that it turns on a new and highly attractive point of view: the building of a dictator,” said Wood.
She added: “We are working to create and produce series from Chile aimed at audiences around the world. And this series has that vocation.”
Invercine & Wood is a joint-venture launched in 2016 by two of the top Chilean film and TV companies, Invercine Producciones and Wood Producciones.
Wood Producciones’ helmer-producer Andrés Wood won a World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance 2012 with “Violeta Went to Heaven,” before turning his talent to TV production. Invercine & Wood recent TV highlights encompass Turner Latin America co-production, suspense mini-series “Mary & Mike,” a Drama Series Days player at February’s Berlinale. Andrés Wood’s 12-episode drama series “Ramona,” aired by Chile’s TVN, took a FIPA d’Or 2017 drama award.