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Colombian Go-To Producer Fidelio, Spanish Publishing Giant Editorial Planeta Seal Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

Persona Normal
Credit: Fidelio Films

Bursting onto the Latin American film-TV scene in the second half of last decade, Colombia’s Fidelio Films has struck a development and co-production deal with Stories, the burgeoning film-TV arm of Spain-based publishing giant Editorial Planeta.

The news comes as Fidelio prepares to present at Spain’s Conecta Fiction, a Europe-Latin America TV production forum, the supernatural drama series “Tenebris,” which won an Our Local is Global grant from the Tribeca Film Institute.

First title up in Fidelio-Editorial Planeta deal is Fidelio partner Mauricio Leiva Cock’s movie adaptation of cult Colombian writer Andrés Caicedo’s unfinished novel “Noche sin Fortuna.” Also in the mix is a small screen makeover of “Persona Normal,” a Mexican and Latin American bestseller written by Mexico’s Benito Taibo.

Fidelio’s deal sees it parlaying the extraordinary recent writing and directing record of partners Leiva Cock and David Figueroa García into strategic alliances with companies eager to expand into the Spanish-language TV scene.

Both Figueroa García and Leiva Cock wrote multiple episodes of “Tijuana” (Story House/Netflix) and “Falco” (Dynamo/Amazon Prime). Leiva Cock also lead wrote Netflix series “Green Frontier,” from Ciro Guerra (“Birds of Passage”), took a writing credit on “Wild District” (Dynamo/Netflix) and made his directorial debut on early Movistar series “Capital Roar,” which he penned with Figueroa García.

Leiva Cock’s adaptation of Andrés Caicedo’s “Noche de Fortuna” seems a natural move. Caicedo gained fame in his native Colombia for 1977’s “Que viva la música!” a novel which broke with Gabriel García Márquez’s magic realism in its chronicle of an upper-class Cali girl’s febrile, and increasingly hallucinatory, descent into drug addiction, sex, nightlife, excess, salsa and madness.

Leiva Cock likewise breaks with the Colombian cinema’s dominant social realist portraits of violence and poverty in his movie debut, “Night of the Beast,” now in post and the story of the two metalhead friends crossing Bogotá to attend an Iron Maiden concert.

“Noche de Fortuna” is, likewise, an one-day urban road movie about a teen’s going to a girl’s quinceañera 15th birthday party who ends up in the hands of his best friend’s cannibal girl-friend.

“It’s a novel which approaches the horror genre via a critique of Cali and Colombia’s social structures,” Leiva Cock told Variety, adding that he aims to create a slowly boiling. moody horror film in the line of Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin.”

The story will be transferred to modern Cali. It will takes place in one night in terms of chronological time, but the narrative will jumps a lot, always maintaining the subjective POV of Solano, a 15-year-old-adolescent and the film’s main character, Leiva Cock added.

“Persona Normal” has sold 200,000 copies in Mexico, where it has gone through 25 editions. Its drama series adaptation is being led by Leiva Cock and Colombian-Swiss writer Lony Welter, a rising screenwriter at Fidelio. A coming of age tale set in Mexico City, it turns on a teen who, after the death of his parents, goes to live with his uncle, who’s the black sheep of the family but helps him, through the literature his uncle loves so much, to come to terms with his grief.

“Tenebris” was initially selected for the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) Episodic Lab & Film Weekand Nalip Media Summit, before being prized by Tribeca.

Fidelio is talking with Latin American directors and writers for them to board the project, Leiva Cock said.