‘Embrace of the Serpent’ Co-Writer Jacques Toulemonde Shifts Gears on Digital Series ‘Camionero’

The short format web series takes a fresh and funny look at the done-to-death world of Colombian narco-trafficking

Colombian writer-director Jacques Toulemonde, best known for co-writing that country’s 2016 Oscar nominee “Embrace of the Serpent,” is in France at this week’s Canneseries Digital event to compete with his new short-form series “Camionero” at Canneseries Digital, a short-format web series strand.

Colombia’s Evidencia Films and Vivendi’s Studio Plus produced the series, which is a departure from Toulemonde’s more recent dramatic work. In addition the “Embrace” co-scribe, he also wrote and directed 2015’s “Anna,” his debut feature, which scored nominations at the Goya, Fenix and Platino awards.

“Camionero” follows Abelardo, a Colombian truck driver and recovering drug addict, as he makes one bad decision after another, all in hopes of throwing a quinceañera party for his daughter that will put all the other quinciñeras to shame.

As costs pile up, Abelardo is forced to take a job he had hoped never to do, driving a trailer lined with cocaine across the massive South American country. Predictably, things begin to peel out of control. Lucky for him, the people who would see him fail might be even dumber.

One theme that sets “Camionero” apart from most other drug-related fiction, is that it shows why normal people get caught up in drug use and trafficking.

“People think drugs can be cool,” Toulemonde explained, “The problem is that eventually things get bad. These people are all kind of stupid… really stupid. But at the same time, they are funny and touching, and you like these guys.”

Deep down though, Toulemonde says the series is about something more universal to Colombians.

“It talks about how Colombia was corrupted by drug trafficking,” he explained, “and how everyone is involved one way or another, even if we just see it from the outside.”

So, why make a comedy? “Because, at the same time, we have to be able to laugh about it.”

The cast is composed, intentionally, of equal parts professional, well-known actors from the region: Andrés Crespo (“Pescador”) and Angie Cepeda (“A Night in Old Mexico”), and non-professionals making their debuts: Tania Valencia and Karin Matiz. And, the director was full of praise for the cast, and the experience of working with them.

“That’s a way I like to work,” explained Toulemonde, “I love to mix professional and non-professional actors. I like to improvise. Sometimes big name actors can rely too much on their technique. When they work with non-professionals, they can find something fresh. It works the other way too, non-professional actors learn from the others.”

Toulemonde says that his first experience in the relatively new format was a great deal of fun, and taught him a lot.

“I’m a much better writer and director than I was before. I don’t know if I’m good yet, but I learned a lot.” Modest words from such an accomplished young filmmaker.

“Camionero” will be available to stream on the Studio Plus app this fall.

More TV

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    What 'The Office' Shifting Platforms Means for Netflix (Column)

    The most important television show of this unusual moment may just be one whose last new episode aired in 2013. “The Office” was, in its first life in the U.S., a beloved workplace comedy (based on a British series) that ran for nine seasons on NBC. In its protracted afterlife, though, it was known to [...]

  • Adam Scott Calls Out Mitch McConnell's

    Adam Scott Calls Out Mitch McConnell's Social Media Team for Using His Image on Twitter

    Adam Scott took to social media on Wednesday to tell Mitch McConnell’s reps not to use his image after the politician’s social media team tweeted a “Parks and Recreation” gif featuring Scott. “Dear Mitch McConnell & all those representing him, please refrain from using my image in support of anything but your own stunning [and] [...]

  • Riz Ahmed

    'Lives Are Quite Literally at Stake': Riz Ahmed on Seeing More Muslims On Screen

    Art can provoke feeling, but its impact has limitations in the face of legal and systemic oppression, said Riz Ahmed, the activist and actor known for “The OA,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “The Night Of,” onstage at the CAA Amplify conference in Ojai on Tuesday, calling for the high-powered industry execs, talent, [...]

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery Faces Backlash From Unscripted Producers After Shift in Series Payment Process

    Discovery Inc. is facing a backlash from the unscripted production community following a shift in the cable giant’s protocol for paying for programming. During the past year, Discovery has implemented a new system that calls for the company to pay producers for shows after all episodes and related material for a given season have been [...]

  • "The Curse of Cleopatra - Parts

    'Blood & Treasure' Renewed for Season 2 at CBS

    The CBS summer adventure series “Blood & Treasure” has been renewed for a second season. In the series, Danny McNamara (Matt Barr) is a former FBI agent specializing in stolen arts and antiquities. Lexi Vaziri (Sofia Pernas) is a resourceful art thief who is haunted by the tragic loss of her father, which she blames [...]

  • Side-Games-1

    Spectrum Originals Picks up Soccer Drama ‘Side Games’ for U.S. Distribution

    Charter Communications’ OTT service Spectrum Originals has reached a deal with Spain’s The Mediapro Studio for the U.S. rights to its popular series “Todo por el Juego,” (“Side Games”). The series will debut in the States on July 15. The Mediapro Studio produced the series, which was developed by popular Argentine screenwriter Eduardo Sacheri, a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content