Fremantle and Fabula have dropped the first trailer of eight-part series “La Jauría” (“The Pack”), showrun by Lucía Puenzo (“The German Doctor”), one of Latin America’s most prominent film and TV writer-directors, and starring Daniela Vega, the lead in the Academy Award winning “A Fantastic Woman.”
Set up at Chile’s Fabula, run by writer-director Pablo Larraín (“Jacky”) and brother Juan de Díos Larraín, “Gloria Bell”), “La Jauría”
Amazon’s first-ever locally-produced Amazon Original in Chile will be available to stream exclusively on Prime Video in Latin America, Caribbean and Spain.
It also marks the first international series from Fabula.
Brought onto the market at February’s Fremantle Screenings in London and now the Series Mania-MipTV virtual marketplace, “La Jauría” is also first fruit of a Fabula-Fremantle multi-year first-look production-distribution alliance. Fremantle is its global distributor.
Co-written by Puenzo, and set at a posh private Catholic school in Santiago de Chile, “La Jauría” rings the options on gender abuse – from a retired blowhard general insisting with patriarchal presumption he should be addressed as “general,” while addressing a police commissioner as “miss”; to Ep. 1’s excruciating opening scene in which a drama teacher, Ossandón, asks a female student to pretend he’s her boyfriend, as he vidcams her shocked, flailing results; to, as the school’s female students mount a takeover demonstration against Ossandón, the abduction and gang rape of Blanca, the protests’ leader.
But “La Jauría” explores abuse in a tense thriller, set in the wealthy homes of Santiago’s haute bourgeoisie with their connections to the highest echelons of power and an underground world of hackers led by “Z,” it’s this thriller energy that the first trailer ever of the eight-part Season 1 keys into.
Set to propulsive music, a gender crime police unit formed by commissioners Elisa Murillo (Vega) and Olivia Fernández (Antonia Zegers, “The Club,” “A Fantastic Woman”), conduct a frantic search to find Blanca after a video goes viral of her being raped by a gang of unidentifiable men. Blanca’s younger sister soon discovers online that the rapists were a pack, and part of a social media test, “Wolf Game,” which encourages multiple packs to identify, stalk, mark and rape young girls. Meanwhile, Gonzalo, Olivia’s son, who’s bullied at school and suffers a premature ejaculation when he’s made to kiss a girl, starts playing the game, to prove he’s a man.
Notably, whether it’s Murillo stomping down a corridor, Blanca’s sister’s tearing a poster off a post, Fernández pursing a suspect, it’s women who dominate many frames and propel the action, as the women police unit, another pack, fights back, trying to expose a larger coverup behind the crime which may involve a priest, teachers at the school, or a swathe of male Chilean society.
Puenzo (“Ingobernable,” “XXY,” “Wakolda”) directs alongside Sergio Castro (“La Mujer de Barro”), Marialy Rivas (“Young & Wild”) and Nicolás Puenzo (“Los Invisibles”). Executive producers include Christian Vesper for Fremantle, Ángela Poblete, Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Juan Ignacio Correa and Matías Amocain for Fabula, and Rony Goldschmied for Chilean network TVN.
Variety talked to Juan de Dios Larraín, Puenzo and Christian Vesper, Fremantle executive VP, executive vice president, and creative director of global drama, as “La Jauría,” slated to screen at Series Mania,, hit the international market.
One of the fascinations of the series is, I think, how its straddles the local/global axis, in gender, socio-political and artistic terms. In other words, this is a story which is set at a specific high school in Santiago de Chile, but links on multiple levels to a global discourse.
Puenzo: Absolutely. We wrote ‘La Jauria’ almost two years ago, so in a way that feat was ahead of its time. It was a constant dialogue with everything going on, not only in Chile, but in Latin America and the world, especially regarding young women and then eventually women of all ages and men getting together and taking to the streets to fight.
Vesper: From the Fremantle side, what was so exciting when we started looking at it was how it fit so well into this deeper movement that was happening around the world, and in a way was just coming to fruition. I think that each culture is a little different in how it comes to understanding violence against women, and the struggles with patriarchy and the sort of conflicts between classes. It’s all part of the same package in this show that is completely thrilling on its own merits.
Various types of gender abuse are shown, and the series attempts to explain the origins of sexism while showing the benefits of female solidarity. Part of the entertainment of the series is seeing the gathering empowerment of the women cops.
Puenzo: From the beginning, we knew that if we wanted to explore gender violence, we really needed to go deep into all those spaces that that gender violence can occupy. In the last two years the word abuse has been redefined. For example, now we understand a teacher looking at her underaged student in a sexual way is a form of abuse. Maybe years ago, that wasn’t the case. Also, abuse resonates not just with direct victims, but it poisons society and undermines everything that we are, and it affects the men in these women’s’ lives as well as the women themselves.
The male characters aren’t all monsters.
Puenzo: All the writers knew that we had to work hard not to minimize men, not to harbor stereotypes or make them less complex with only men as the villains. We worked hard on understanding boys who grow up to commit a gender violence, and that they are not all the same. Some truly are psychopaths, others are slowly integrated into this horrible game, and others were innocent victims themselves.
“La Jauria” is also a study of how psychology is forged faster in a grossly mediated world of internet and politics. The battle for power is fought out via social media, TV.
Puenzo: In talking about the contemporaneity of the series, it’s interesting that it reflects on how everything is influenced and forged by media. This is a very modern take. And I think that is the scariest thing. We really wanted to build on the monsters that we have inside our homes, which means nobody comes out of the story clean or untouched by this game.
Larraín: One of the most problematic aspects of media today, especially among young people, is “like culture.” If you have lots of “likes” then you’re someone popular or interesting. Everything turns into an attraction, and I think this lobo game allows unknown people to be someone. It’s terrifying because you’re buying an identity, you’re buying applause from people you don’t know, and that can make you do terrible things.
“La Jauría” is produced by Chile and the U.K., but its showrunner and one director – Nicolás Puenzo – are Argentine. It’s an early example of burgeoning Latin American regional fiction business, both in film and TV. Could you comment?
Larraín: Fremantle asked for something local. Bringing in Lucia, someone that grew up in a different culture, was an amazing exercise because although we know each other well, it’s different trying to read another culture and do something local.
Vesper: I think Fabula have such a clear sense of story that it transcends the local. They can tell stories anywhere and I think that’s what attracted us to working with them. This was a story that absolutely made sense to tell in Santiago. But artists like Lucia can work anywhere and are not relegated to just Latin-America.
Puenzo: On “La Jauría” it has been vital to write with Chilean writers for local authenticity. I also think this Chilean cast was the most talented I’ve ever worked with.
Emiliano Granada contributed to this article.