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Fremantle backs El Chapo duo

Production and distribution giant Fremantle is making its first investment in the Hispanic scripted market, backing a new prodco launched by the producer and showrunner of Netflix drama El Chapo.

Camila Jimenez

Fremantle has taken a 25% stake in The Immigrant, which was established this year by Camila Jimenez and Silvana Aguirre to produce premium drama focused on the Hispanic and Latinx audience in the US and internationally.

Bron Ventures, the investment arm of US movie producer Bron Media, is also taking a minority stake. ACF Investment Bank brokered the Fremantle deal.

Prior to setting up the new production company Jimenez was content officer for Fusion Media Group, heading premium content studio Story House and executive producing projects such as Netflix’s El Chapo and Murder Mountain.

Aguirre was the creator and showrunner of El Chapo and previously held the role of creative director at Story House. Aguirre is the co-founder and head of development for The Immigrant while Jiminez will be CEO.

A full commission has already been secured, with further details to be announced, while multiple projects are in active development, including a coproduction with Fremantle’s Wildside (My Brilliant Friend, The New Pope) which has Lucia Puenzo (La Jauria, The German Doctor) attached as showrunner.

The Immigrant is based in Los Angeles with offices in Mexico and Spain. A new office is opening in Colombia in 2020 with further Latin America expansion planned.

The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, marks Fremantle’s first major equity investment in the Latinx and Hispanic scripted market. Fremantle said in a statement it planned to grow its stake in the business in the coming years.

Silvana Aguirre

Jimenez said: “Over the past several years Silvana and I have been working to change the paradigm around Latinx television focusing on creative talent, both established and emerging, and stories that connect with the audience, regardless of where they take place.”

Andrea Scrosati, chief operating officer at Fremantle, added: “Camila and Silvana are exactly the type of talent that Fremantle was born to be home to. Their unique multicultural approach to storytelling is very impressive, and it is an approach we believe is incredibly relevant to the times we are living in.

“Our partnership with The Immigrant marks our first equity investment in Latin America, a vibrant region in terms of creativity, culture and commercial potential, and confirms our commitment to continue to invest in this area.”

Previous Fremantle drama investments include acquiring Italy-based Wildside (My Brilliant Friend, The New Pope) and Scandi label Miso Film (The Rain), majority stakes in French label Kwai (The Last Wave, Baron Noir), Israeli firm Abot Hameiri and Australia’s Easy Tiger (Rake, Jack Irish), as well as a minority stakes in UK indies Dancing Ledge and Gurinder Chadha-fronted Bend It TV.

Recently, Fremantle announced several new drama projects, including Mosquito Coast, starring Justin Theroux, for Apple. The series is produced by Fremantle’s North American team, written by Neil Cross and directed by Rupert Wyatt.

The US division also secured a deal with Showtime for the adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast book series with Toby Whithouse serving as showrunner and Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldman executive producing.

Fremantle’s UK producer, Euston Films, announced ITV’s commission of Neil Cross-penned drama Because the Night.

Bron Media’s films include the recently released Joker and the forthcoming Queen & Slim and Bombshell.

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