Latin America’s Movistar, a label of telecom giant Telefonica, has closed a worldwide sales deal with Madrid-based Onza Distribution on the first four Movistar original series.
The deal excludes Latin America where Movistar has aired the series on Movistar Play, the burgeoning OTT services of pay TV unit Movistar TV, from September 2019, and Movistar parent Telefonica Media Networks has appointed EO Media Distribution, headed by CEO Ezequiel Olzanski, as the exclusive Latin American sales agent for Movistar’s series lineup.
Onza Distribution will present the series virtually at MipChina, which runs July 28-31.
Representing the latest work of some of Latin America’s best-regarded film directors, who have won prizes at the Cannes, Sundance, Locarno and San Sebastian film festivals, the series take in comedies “Adulting,” “Capital Roar” and “Survival Guide,” and melodrama “My Lucky Day.”
The deal represents a major new fiction addition to the sales slate of Onza Distribution, a producer on Amazon Prime Video-aired “Little Coincidences” and a producer and co-sales agent on Spanish pubcaster RTVE’s “The Department of Time.”
Addressing different age groups, whether teens (“Capital Roar”), millennials (“Adulting”) or those going through an early mid-life crisis (“Survival Guide”), the three comedy series’ different generational takes allow for close targeting of core demographic audiences, Onza Distribution said Monday.
At EO Media Distribution, Olsanski told Variety he aimed to put through the same multi-window distribution strategy on the four series which he executed on “Narcos” as VP for distribution and co-production of Gaumont Latin America, which included the first-time linear launch of “Narcos,” on AMC Networks last December.
With Movistar waiving exclusive SVOD distribution on Movistar Play, EO Media Distribution can also aim for first-window streaming platform distribution in Latin America.
Movistar’s series also lift the lid on new trends coursing through Latin American premium fiction.
One is the cinema-to-drama-series migration of talent. Written by Hector Galvez (“NN”) “My Lucky Day” is directed by Peru’s Daniel and Diego Vega, whose “October” won a Cannes Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, while their “El Mudo,” another movie, took best actor for Fernando Bacilio at Locarno. Colombia’s “Capital Roar” is directed by Pablo Stoll, another Cannes Un Certain Regard winner with “Whisky,” as well as Ana Katz, whose “My Friend From the Park” scooped a Sundance screenwriting award.
Peru at least had never essayed premium TV drama before “Adulting” and “My Lucky Day.”
A six-part dramedic melodrama, whose episodes run to just over 40 minutes, 1986 Lima-set “My Lucky Day” turns on a deadbeat impersonator of salsa star Hector Lavoe, who dreams that his luck will change. Selected for this year’s Series Mania, it was hailed by Peru’s website La Prensa as “the most important audiovisual production ever made in Peru.”
The three comedy series constitute a new style of Latin American TV comedy, weighing in as comedic half-hours but escaping the confines of sitcoms in their multiple locations and cinema-style plethora of shots.
All three comedy half-hours explore a universal theme: Characters’ desire to have a say in their own lives, as teen Simón explains in an early sequence in “Capital Roar,” when hauled up before school principal Father Peters. That of course leads to bathetic disappointment. Simon’s explanation is a fantasy. In reality, he says almost nothing to Father Peters.
Esteban, a former lawyer at his family firm who determines to become an actor, can’t even score an audition with a big Argentine star he saves from sexting in the Magma Cine co-produced “Survival Guide,” created and directed by Victoria Galardi, whose “Lovely Loneliness” won the Youth Jury Award at San Sebastián.
“We are sure our storylines – based on universal topics such as adolescence, fear of growing up or the will to change when unsatisfied with our lives – will appeal and involve audiences beyond the Hispanic region,” said Joanna Lombardi, head of fiction at Latin America’s Telefónica Media Networks.
Appealing to a progressive middle-class in and outside Latin America, the comedies’ characters are light years ahead of the arcane conservative societies they’re set in.
Co-directed by Lombardi, whose directorial credits include Netflix-acquired hit movie “Soltera codiciada,“ “Adulting” begins with one of the main characters closing down the gift shop she’s founded whose tastes in apparel and even book-markers are way more liberal than clients’.
Movistar’s first Colombian original, showrun by Mauricio Leiva Cock, co-creator of Netflix’s “Green Frontier” and a writer on its “Wild District,” the 1990s Bogota-set “Capital Roar” has Simón, a misfit at his high-school, dreaming of creating a rock band. He begins the series, however, playing the trumpet in his school band as the school sings its school anthem, hands to hearts, neo-patriotic style. Chasing his dream proves difficult, however, in a 1990s Bogota assailed by bombs and outages where families, however loving, expect their children to conform.