Marking another step in its journey to become a scripted drama force in Latin America, Buenos Aires-based Kapow is set to co-produce “Siganme!” (“Follow Me!”), a biopic of ex-Argentine president Carlos Saúl Menem, a politician whose figure and mistakes anticipate those of the contemporary world.
Set up at Argentina’s Mulata Films, which originated the series, “Follow Me!” will be introduced to possible co-production partners at this week’s Conecta Fiction, which runs Sept. 1-3 in Pamplona, northern Spain.
Although he has become a name that some Argentines refuse to even utter, arguing it brings bad luck, Menem gained power in 1989 thanks to his undoubtable charisma, wild promises of enriching Argentina and vacuous slogans, one of which provides the title to the series. He is remembered for rampant corruption scandals and massive public borrowing, encouraged by a cavalier IMF, which helped stoke Argentina’s dramatic economic collapse in 2001 — none of which stopped Menem from being re-elected and ruling Argentina until 1999.
Billed as a comedy drama and political thriller, Mulata Films and Kapow explained in a presentation that the film also reflects the global political climate of the ’90s. “He did the total opposite of what he promised, but was still re-elected,” said the producers.
“This is a political thriller without precedent, charting a crucial era in Argentina and Latin America, the ‘90s, the most spectacular period in all the 20th century when it comes to the transfer of wealth from Latin America to the U.S. and Europe,” said Agustín Sacanell, who heads up Kapow with Lucas Rainelli.
For Mulata Films, the strategic partnership with Kapow associates it with “one of Argentina’s most significant international players, which gives us the confidence that we can make this project a reality,” said Mulata Films partner Maite Echave.
“Follow Me!” adds to a building portfolio of high-profile international series co-productions which saw Kapow produce “Stockholm,” Netflix’s first series in Argentina, then partner with Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín’s Fabula on the latter’s first two international drama series: soccer biz corruption themed “El Presidente,” showrun by Academy Award winner Armando Bo, a co-scribe on “Birdman”; and Lucía Puenzo’s gender crime thriller “La Jauría,” first fruit of an exclusive first look deal between Fremantle and Fabula. Both series are aired on Amazon Prime Video.
Kapow’s bet on links with standout companies and creatives and quality international series comes despite — or because of — a very difficult moment for Argentina’s TV industry which saw Argentine TV ad revenues plunge 60% at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Even before that, with Argentina’s TV ad market contracting, Sacanell told TodoTVNews last November that Kapow had to grow in scale. “There are many more opportunities for big projects, with the ambitious of conquering other regions, than small ones,” he said.
Over two decades of existence, Mulata Films, headed by Echave, Pablo Giles and Pablo Destito, has set out to bring a sense of entertainment to doc series, reconstructing Latin American lineage dinosaurs in “Creating Prehistorical Beasts,” or catching a philosopher on the run, pursued by characters embodying absurdist philosophical theory in the three time Intl. Emmy-nominated and Japan Prize-winning “Truth Lies.”
In 2020, Mulata Films has bowed the second season of “Dr. Faga,” a portrait of child heath expert Eduardo Faganello, on Señal Colombia and Uruguay’s TV Ciudad and sold with distributor SidewayFilms shows to Olympus, including “Creating Prehistoric Beasts” and “Malos Pasos,” an extreme sports doc series, to Globosat. “Grooming,” a TV movie on the online phenomenon, is just about to air on Argentine culture channel Canal Encuentro.