Netflix: looking to show a new side of Colombia

Embrace of the Serpent’s Ciro Guerra will be the executive producer of a new show

Netflix: looking to show a new side of Colombia 

This Wednesday, the super streaming company Netflix announced a new show has been greenlighted for production, and it will be the company’s first 100% Colombian original work. Wishing to showcase the country’s biodiversity, the show will consist of 8 hourlong episodes dedicated to the stunning landscapes and geographical diversity. The show has not been titled yet, but it is based on an original story from Dynamo’s Diego Ramírez Schrempp and Jenny Ceballos. Dynamo, one of Colombia’s most important film and TV production companies, will co-produce Netflix’s new project. The show will be available for streaming in 2019.

This is not the first time Netflix couples up with Dynamo

The American company has looked to the Colombian powerhouse in the past. Last year, Dynamo was the main producer of an original movie for Netflix Spain, “7 años”, which was released on the 28th of October of 2016. According to IMDB, “7 años” is a story of “Four friends face an agonizing decision. One must go to prison. The other three must make the sacrifice worthwhile”. Since Netflix has chosen Dynamo as a co-producer for this new, complex project, it is safe to say that the Americans were positively impressed with the Colombians work. This was also a decision that was clearly not made lightly because it is Netflix’s first completely Colombian production, but the American brand’s name is also on the line.

Why choose Ciro Guerra?

Guerra is the first Colombian director to have a film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, with Embrace of the Serpent, in 2016. Considering that the new show will look to showcase the beautiful Colombian landscapes, particularly the Amazon, Guerra makes perfect sense as an Executive Producer.

IMDB describes Embrace of the Serpent as “The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of 40 years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant”. However, beyond this storyline, the film, mostly shot in black and white, accomplishes capturing the spirit of the Amazon river, and the mysticism it holds for aboriginal communities that survive. It also showcases one of Colombia’s darkest but least discussed episodes in history: the rubber exploitation of the Amazon rainforest, which was one of the bloodiest moments in history for aboriginals, because white men used them for slave labor. Although Guerra’s film did not win the Oscar it was nominated for, it made history by making it so far into one of the world’s most prestigious award ceremonies for film.

Netflix in Latin America

The U.S. company has looked south in previous occasions. In several Latin American countries, including Colombia, it became available in 2011. Since then, it has look to production companies in different Latin countries to create content for each country and demographic. In August of this year, Netflix announced Diablero, an original series filmed entirely in Mexico. In the same event, “Vive Netflix” in Mexico City (August 2nd), the company announced “50 new and returning productions in various stages of development in Latin America, including 19 stand-up comedy specials from around the region”, as the company stated in its press release for the event.

But why Latin America? In “Vive Netflix”, Ted Sarandos, the company’s Chief Content Officer explained: “Local creatives are breaking the paradigms of what storytelling has traditionally looked like in Latin America. As part of our expanded investment in the region, we’re looking for innovators who are excited about redefining the boundaries of Latin American entertainment, which makes the opportunity to push into an underserved format like stand up even more exciting”.  

Details on the new Colombian show’s format have not yet been released, but it is expected to break boundaries and to explore new and refreshing options.

 

Latin American Post | Laura Rocha Rueda

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