In a nod to the exponentially growing interest in premium TV content and the swelling number of content-ravenous platforms, the Guadalajara Film Festival (FICG)’s industry section has launched a competitive television section dubbed Episode 0: Series in Development.
Its participants will be given the opportunity to network and vie for prizes that consist of post-production services worth a combined total of some $35,000 (700,000 pesos) from Cinecolor Mexico and Shalala Studios. In addition, Colombia’s Pontifical Xavierian University offers a scholarship worth $2,800 to its prestigious The Series Lab, which aims to train showrunners and TV professionals, as well as accreditation in the Bogota Audiovisual Market (BAM).
The inaugural Episode 0 features seven Ibero-American projects in development, encompassing various genres: animation, dramas, thrillers and non-fiction. “This takes place now in November along with our Co-Production Encounter, while the other sections, DocuLab, Guadalajara Construye and Talents, were held in August or September,” said the festival’s industry head, Angelica Lares, who noted that the pandemic had obliged the festival to hold the sections at different times of the year.
Two animation projects are in contention: “Firsts” (“Primeras”), seen at Annecy, from Chile’s Paulina Sanhueza, spotlights pioneering Latin American women who were first in fields traditionally dominated by men and managed to change the course of history. Sanhueza is the co-founder of Gigante Azul Studio, which is producing its first animated series, “Witch’s Business.”
Mexico’s Eva Ruiz de Chavez of production-management company Panamericana Pictures brings her first animation project, “Wild City” (Ciudad Salvaje”) to the mix. In collaboration with Mighty Animation, the Guadalajara-based animation studio that worked on such titles as “Rick and Morty” and “Big Mouth,” Panamericana aims to produce a TV series of what began on Instagram where illustrator Santiago Moyao’s eclectic characters give their absurdist, ironic take on life in Mexico City.
Ruiz de Chavez sees “Wild City” as an answer to the fact that Mexico doesn’t have its equivalent of “The Simpsons,” “South Park” or “Family Guy.” A comic book deal has been signed with Penguin Random House, she added.
Two disparate doc-series vie for prizes: “Foodie” explores the production processes and the social, cultural nuances of each Mexican region and their relationship to gastronomy. Producer Andres Ibañez Diaz Infante screened his documentary “A Six Dollar Cup of Coffee” at FICG33’s Culinary Cinema sidebar.
The second doc-series, “Antarctic Mission,” from Emmy-nominated Chilean journalist Carola Fuentes, transports you to frigid Antarctica where a group of intrepid scientists investigate underneath the ice to find clues to the future of humanity.
Argentina’s Nathalia Videla Peña of Magma Cine, the company behind Victoria Galardi’s Movistar sitcom “Manual de Supervivencia,” competes with “Hotline.”
Set in the year 2025 in an Argentina still under the grip of an economic crisis, the series revolves around Marcela, a single 39-year-old unemployed actress who creates a hotline in different virtual platforms to make ends meet. Things go awry when a serial killer starts calling to confess his crimes.
Colombian writer-producer Adriana Suarez brings “Lucet Memento” to Episode 0. The thriller centers on a woman who uses her power to communicate with the dead to save the son of her late twin sister and shut down a child trafficking organization in the process.
Last but not least, Uruguayan entry “Private Lives” (“Las Vidas Privadas”) from producer Agustina Chiarino, whose notable credits include “Giant,” “Monos” and “The Heiresses,” pivots on a 59-year-old female judge who finds she has to solve her own case when her marriage breaks down.