Thursday, January 26, 2023

Erik Barmack-Backed ‘Cromosoma 21,’ Made With Chile’s Film N’ Maker, Readies Production (EXCLUSIVE)

Erik Barmack’s Wild Sheep Content, the new L.A.-based company of the former Netflix VP, has boarded “Cromosoma 21,” an original crime mystery series created and directed by Chile’s Matías Venables Brito which adds major twists to a classic murder witness narrative.

Executive produced by Nico Martínez Bergen, Barmack and Venables, and shooting in Chile from Sept. 27, “Chromosoma 21” is set up at Film N’ Maker in Santiago de Chile.

Wild Sheep Content is co-producing “Cromosoma 21” and handling rights for international distribution.

“Cromosoma 21” will be one of the first Wild Sheep Content series to go into production.

The series has attracted high-profile Chilean actors such as Daniel Muñoz (“La Jauría”), Claudia di Girolamo (“Prófugos,” “La Jauría”) and Mario Horton (“Spider”). Of other key cast, Sebastián Solorza plays Tomy, Pia Urrutia his girlfriend and Gastón Salgado his brother. Newcomer Valentina Muhr takes on the role of an a PDI detective, Mariana, who’s assigned to the case.

Written by Venables, Vladimir Rivera, Pablo Toro and Emilia Noguera, the eight-part series begins with the police responding to a call, and finding the dead body of a man. Nearby they discover a young man, Tom, who has Down syndrome. His clothes are stained by blood.

But, if he’s seen the murder, how much of a reliable witness can he be? Or could he is any way be responsible?

“Cromosoma 21” won one of only two grants adjudicated in 2018 by Chile’s Consejo Nacional de TV (CNTV. It has also been licensed by Chilean free-to-air network Canal 13.

The series will be shot in Chilean Spanish, said Venables. “We realized that this is a mass entertainment story with features – the police investigation, social inclusiveness with regards to Down syndrome – that make it a local story with global appeal,” Martínez Bergen added.

“In a thriller which offers pure entertainment – chases, guns, a lot of passion –  for the first time we’ll table questions about Down syndrome which are new. We talk about love, relations with their family, and discrimination,” Venables said.

A singular mix of crime thriller narrative and Down syndrome issues, Venables argued, “Cromosoma 21” would indeed look like catnip for a streaming platform.

First phase streaming platform expansion saw Netflix and Amazon set up in Mexico and then Colombia and Brazil. A question now, with so many streamers now going into Latin America, is whether Peru, Chile and other markets will see a production bump, Barmack said.

“Cromosoma 21” also underscores the power of international market events. In order to reach out to international partners, Martínez Bergen and Venables registered it at Rome’s MIA market, which is where Barmack first got wind of the project.

“I’m in Los Angeles, the market was in Rome, the producers are in Chile and we all came together and are shooting the series in a couple of weeks, which is awesome,” Barmack added.

Exiting Netflix, Barmack set up Wild Sheep Content in May 2019, yoking his huge enthusiasm, contacts in and knowledge of international drama series production and sensitivity towards the evolving – and disparate – needs of streaming platforms in a company which shapes international projects for platform or studio distribution.

Founded in May 2019, and running up a bullish record of sales and development deals on titles with global platforms, Wild Sheep Content has inked a production alliance with The Mediapro Studio.

He has also announced live action adaptations of the “Yakuza” and “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” video game franchises, as well as projects with Kate del Castillo (a womanhunt thriller), Nicholle Kobi (“Queens”), Mirka Andolfo  (‘Sweet Paprika’), and Petra Hülsmann (an adaptation of her “The Hamburg Series”).

Venables made his feature debut as a director in 2014 with “Raul.” Acquired for international by The Open Reel, it was selected for Chile’s Carte Blanche showcase at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival.


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