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Netflix rejigs int’l as Barmack exits

Netflix is shaking up its senior team, with former VP of content Bela Bajaria taking up a new role overseeing international non-English-language originals as global originals exec Erik Barmack steps down.

Bela Bajaria

Bajaria, who arrived at the streamer in 2016 having been president of Universal Television, was previously behind unscripted originals and dramas coproduced with US studios.

She will now lead all non-English scripted and unscripted programming globally, with the exception of Asia but including India. Her title will remain the same.

The changes will also see all English-language programming fall under the remit of VP of originals Cindy Holland.

Barmack, who had been at Netflix since 2011, most recently as VP of international originals for Latin America, EMEA and India, is leaving to launch his own prodco. Details are yet to be revealed.

The rejig comes as Netflix increases its focus on non-English programming, which has helped it drive subscriber numbers over recent quarters.

It recently launched a production hub in Spain, unveiled a raft of projects in Europe last year, enjoyed success with Indian original Sacred Games and expanded its output in Latin America.

Erik Barmack at Content London

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said Barmack had been “transformational” for the streamer and described Bajaria as an “incredible creative talent” who would “build on our international efforts, helping to bring the world’s stories to the world whatever the language.”

Bajaria added: “We have an amazing opportunity to bring stories from different cultures and in different languages to audiences all around the world. Netflix is just scratching the surface of what’s possible and I could not be more excited to get started.”

In related news, Netflix is to adapt Gabriel García Márquez’s acclaimed magical reality novel One Hundred Years of Solitude as a series.

The US-based streamer has acquired rights to develop the work into a Spanish-language show, with García Márquez’s sons Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha serving as executive producers.

The multi-generational story, first published in 1967, follows seven generations of a family in Colombia, where much of the show will be filmed.

The streamer is also to adapt Nidhi Chanani’s children’s graphic novel Pashmina into an original CG animated musical with writer-director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham).

Producer Ashok Amritraj and Chadha’s long-standing writing partner Paul Mayeda Berges are also onboard the project, which is a fantasy adventure following a first-generation American of Indian descent as she explores her family history with the help of a magical pashmina shawl.

Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment produces together with Chadha’s Bend It Films.

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