International co-productions have been one of the main trends in Latin America last year and looking ahead at 2018, Sony Pictures Latin America plans to continue investing in new productions, with projects such as the new biblical series María Magdalena, co-produced with Dopamine, TV Azteca’s new international production division.
“I believe co-productions are great and that’s why we’ve been so active in the market,” Alex Marin, EVP, Distribution for Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada at Sony Pictures Television, said to ttvnews, adding co-production is a logical step in the market, where viewers are increasingly more demanding.
Alex Marin, EVP, Distribution for Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada at Sony Pictures Television
“I believe if the story is good, it must be told. And the best way to do so sometimes is to share the responsibility and the success,” he explained, adding María Magdalena is “a very beautiful story that’s known around the world.”
With a budget of US$ 400,000 per episode and 60 episodes, the epic series will tell the story of one of the most well-known characters in the Bible, played by María Fernanda Yepes (La piloto) as Mary Magdalene, Manolo Cardona (Narcos) as Jesus and y Andrés Parra (Pablo Escobar, the Drug Lord) as Peter.
According to Marín, if the story is good, viewers don’t care where it comes from, presenting new opportunities in Latin America. “That’s why we have a lot of titles in development in the region which are fun series, different from the narco-novelas that are normally distributed in Latin America.”
These new series, just like María Magdalena, talk about human emotions and values, with special focus on the characters rather than the situation, but always including the classic element of criminality within the plot, making them classic dramas.
A Long List of Titles
In addition to its new Bibical series, Sony Pictures Television is preparing other regional co-productions, which also follow down this new path, such as Trapped, currently in production with Imagen Televisión in Mexico.
It’s a 60-episode drama series that tells the story of Mariana, a beautiful, astute and magnetic young woman capable of conquering the heart of any man who wants her. After the murder of her parents, she is forced to care for her siblings and becomes an expert white-collar thief. Things take an unexpected turn when Mariana dares to deceive a powerful criminal boss and must infiltrate the rival side, falling in love with her worst enemy.
Moreover, the company is currently co-producing the series Paraiso Travel with Teleset in Colombia por RCN Televisión. It’s a new series based on the novel by the same name, written by Jorge Franco in 2002, which already had a successful film adaptation in 2008.
It tells the story of Reina, a seductive young woman from Medellín who desperately seeks to travel to the US to achieve the long-awaited American dream. Her boyfriend Marlon, a young man from a stable family who is madly in love with her, gets caught up in her plans, which leads them to undertake a dangerous and illegal journey from Medellín to New York City.
“Trapped and Paraíso Travel are very entertaining series, which are different from the traditional style used in Latin America. They’re more about the characters and love. They revolve around the characters and not the situations,” he said.
Sony Boasts a Solid International Catalog
Aside from its Latin American slate, the company’s international catalog is also in high demand, as it features popular series like the ABC hit, The Good Doctor. “It’s the number one drama in the network in its timeslot. It’s probably the most talked-about series on TV right now. It’s a pleasure to have it in our catalog,” he said.
Other hit series in Sony’s catalog are S.W.A.T., which premiered in November on FOX, and Counterpart, a series that combines sci-fi elements and personality studies, which will soon air in the US on Starz.
Complementing its series catalog, Sony is also offering feature films such as Blade Runner, Spiderman, Baby Driver and the Emoji movie; with others like Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Venom and Holmes and Watson, set to premiere in 2018.