While it might not have been its goal, Atar Dekel, Head of Drama Co-Productions at Keshet International, sees Netflix's premiere of Narcos in August of 2015 as a pivotal moment for Latin America in terms of international exposure, which made the region and it's stories a global trend.
"Narcos enabled audiences worldwide to really pay attention to stories coming out of Latin America, and I think it's now a priority for a lot of global platforms," the Israeli executive said to ttvnews.
Present for years in the region and owner of a local production hub in Mexico City, Keshet is no expection, now having Latin America in its list of priority regions for local production and co-development deals.
"There are so many stories coming out from Latin America and there are great producers. And we have had great success there, so it's just natural to start developing sraight to the local market there," she explained.
Keshet International is currently actively searching for stories in Latin America to create "quality dramas" that can "make noise" in the international market.
So the idea for us is to find key prominent local producers that can help us with the local package in terms of talent and the creative process, and for us to bring our international outreach and resources and try to create projects, mainly dramas, that can generate noise on an international level," she added.
"We feel that we are able to cherry pick the producers that can do the heavy lifting in terms of production and help us create great storytelling that can travel around the world."
According to the executive, the plan is not to repeat what's already been done in other regions, or even in Israel, where they've been able to catapult local talents in the international market.
Projects in the Pipeline
And while the plan is relatively new, Keshet already has several projects in the works in Latin America, currently in development.
One of the main ones is a Biblical drama project in Brazil, which is being developed with a local producer, to then be pitched to potential screens.
"Obviously coming from Israel it's easy for us to identify great Biblical stories, and there's a big demand for it in Brazil and other territories in Latin America," Dekel said, who also didn't rule out the option to maybe meet with Record to discuss co-production in the future.
Still, she said, the idea is for Keshet to develop a story that's "a bit more nuance" than just a Biblical production. "It has to be something with more depth and more layers, so it would be more like a Biblical House of Cards maybe."
And speaking of House of Cards, another one of the company's projects is a political thriller set in Argentina, but with worldwide implications. "The idea is to set it up as an international production. We are talking with high-end US showrunners, because we would like to set it up internationally. English-speaking, probably something in the vein of Narcos, so English and Spanish," she revealed.
And finally, the company is getting ready to start production on an Israeli series set in Colombia. "Eight out of 10 episodes will take place in Colombia, so we are in local conversations with local partners that can partner with us in this project," she said.
In almost every case, Keshet's plan is to first develop the stories and then search for co-production partners and local screens. Then the idea is to hold on to the international distribution rights, something that "makes sense" for Atar Dekel, given the company's global presence.
"Our global outreach is incredible. We have office now in Mumbai, Hong Kong, Mexico City, LA, UK; we are present in Europe... We are so globally expanded by now, that it makes sense for us to keep the distribution rights," she concluded.