Speaking to Variety, The Wit’s managing director Caroline Servy identified at least three trending themes: Empowered women, socially conscious stories and edgy elevated fiction, predominantly made by streamers, that “cuts through the clutter.”
Also ruling the field are bio-series with the latest led by “Maradona: Blessed Dream,” which broke recent records on Argentina’s Canal 9 before bowing worldwide on Amazon Prime on October 29.
Turkish series are wildly popular in the region but not as widely distributed by the major broadcasters in Brazil and Mexico, which are prodigious telenovela producers themselves, Servy noted. Expectations are high for Turkey’s number one show “Yargi” (“Family Secrets”), distributed by Madd Entertainment, which pits a defense lawyer against a prosecutor in a murder case involving their respective families. Another notable Madd Entertainment title, “Before I Forget” (“El Asesino del Olvido”), is adapted from Turkish hit “Sahsiyet,” about a police officer diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who decides to settle some scores before he completely loses his memory. The Mexican version starring Damian Alcazar, produced by Mónica Lozano and co-produced by VIS and Ay Yapim, has bowed on HBO Max.
Other potential hits for the region include French detective comedy “ACI,” a hit on TF1 and primetime leader on Spain’s Antena 3, about a cleaning lady with an IQ of 160 who is hired by the police to work with them, and Greek vendetta book-based drama, “Sasmos,” that Alpha TV and JK Prods. distribute.
The Wit has selected a number of series that turn on women’s empowerment or gender violence including “It Wasn’t My Fault” (“No Fue Mi Culpa”) with a Mexican version done and Brazilian and Colombian versions in the works.
Serve also highlights a trio of upscale series under the banner Wild Wild Fiction, which she describes as part of the Latin Wave spawned by the influx of streaming giants expanding in Latin America and amping up local production. These are shows that possess “a lot of character, a lot of style, and that are very edgy and seductive as well,” she said.
Towering over them are HBO Latin America’s “Entre Hombres” (“Amongst Men”), co-produced with Argentina’s Pol-ka, which was the first Latin American series to be selected for the esteemed Berlinale Series section. Based on Germán Maggiori’s eponymous novel and adapted for the screen by the writer and series director Pablo Fendrik, the thriller mini-series is set in ‘90s Argentina and turns on the underworld of that era.
Also part of the new Latin Wave is Atresmedia Spain’s comedy drama “Cardo,” made by the creators of HBO Max’s trans drama series “Veneno” and hit comedy series “Paquita Salas,” Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo, the duo best known as Los Javis, who were signed by CAA in the spring.
Screening on SVOD service Atresplayer Premium, the six 20-minute episode series centers on adultescent Maria, 29, who is grappling with existential crisis. Set in Madrid, it’s described as a kind of Spanish “Euphoria,” HBO Max’s drama starring Zendaya that follows a group of friends as they navigate a chaotic world of sex, drugs, romance and identity.
A third selection, thriller series “MalaYerba,” focuses on three whip smart and ambitious entrepreneurs who bet on a market that has just been legalized in Colombia: medicinal marijuana. “It’s not your typical narco novela, it’s a stylish comedy drama with a dark touch,” Servy noted.
“MalaYerba” is co-produced by L.A.-based streamer Pantaya, Sony Pictures Television and Colombia’s Dynamo (“Narcos”), with SPT handling international sales.