MADRID — Underscoring its ambitions to grow its Latin America business, Fremantle has named Manuel Martí, one of Latin America’s most cultured and respected TV executives, to the newly-created position of head of scripted development, Latin America.
Martí will report to Coty Cagliolo, Fremantle head of production, Latin America, He will be responsible for developing Fremantle’s drama slate in the region, securing and delivering commissions and ultimately building Fremantle’s scripted business in Latin America, Fremantle said in a statement Monday.
Both Martí and Cogliolo will attend NATPE: Miami next week with Fremantle.
The hire will bolster significantly Fremantle’s scripted series clout in the region where Martí, formerly head of development and international business at Buenos Aires-based Pol-ka helped turn the Argentine production house, into a name player on the international TV scene, where it evolved from a long-format producer for Argentina to a premium producer for global markets (on HBO’s “The Bronze Garden,” Disney’s “Violetta”) to a producer of shows outside its native Argentina.
Equally, when conferences want an executive who can talk knowledgeably and articulately about industry trends, not only in Latin America but the industry at large, they turn to Martí.
Martí’s appointment will see him relocate from his native Argentina to Mexico City, fast consolidating with Madrid as one the the two centers of Spanish-language premium scripted series production, as companies seek via ever more ambitious series to court not only Mexico’s resilient pay TV market but also the 40 million Mexicans living in the U.S. Martí’s remit includes, however, the whole of the region.
“It’s a privilege to join a company like Fremantle at such an evolutionary moment in our industry,” said Martí, who added that Latin-American storytelling has a unique voice and a burgeoning track record which, with a content powerhouse like Fremantle behind it, will thrive even further.”
Cagliolo noted: “It’s fantastic to have someone of Manuel’s calibre and expertise joining Fremantle. A true industry leader, Manuel is the perfect person to help us expand our scripted footprint in the region and help drive our ambition forward to produce more bold Latin-American drama.”
That is already happening. In 2019, Fremantle announced in February a first look deal with Pablo and Juan de Dios Larrain’s Oscar-winning Fabula (“A Fantastic Women”) in Chile to co-produce and distribute Fabula’s international TV drama series. Then in October, Fremantle confirmed its first equity stake in Latin America, taking a 25% stake in The Immigrant, recently set up by Camila Jiménez-Villa, ex-CEO of Univision production label Story House, and Silvana Aguirre, show runner of “El Chapo.”
The Fremantle-Fabula deal rolled off their first production together, “La Jauría” (“The Pack”) an edge-of-the-seat gender violence psychological thriller showrun by Lucía Puenzo (“XXY”), which is stirring buzz and a robust industry reaction from so far just a first episode screening at the Zurich Festival.
“La Jauría” typifies much Latin American fiction is its combination of broader audience appeal and social-issue substance – a mix right up Fremantle’s street.