Entertainment

Mexico Is Becoming A Major Source Of Talent And Production For Netflix

Mexico has long been a source for original stories and great talent when it comes to film and television. The country has also long exported some of best minds behind the camera, five out of six of the last best director Oscars have gone to Mexican filmmakers Alfonos Cuarón, Alejando Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro. That’s why it’s no surprise streaming giant Netflix is increasing production in Mexico with more than 50 projects in different stages of production over the next two years. With award-winning projects like “Roma” and fan favorite series like “Narcos: Mexico,” Netflix is just tapping into the emerging talent and stories that Mexico has to offer.

While there has been streaming services prior to offer Spanish content, none have the reach and audience like Netflix.

With the expansion and investment in Mexico, Netflix is ushering in a new era for filmmakers, actors and a global audience that will get to view the work. The incoming projects include five new projects, a musical inspired by the music of Pedro Infante, a series of documentaries about the U.S.-Mexico border executive produced by Gael García Bernal, American Jesus, based on a comic by Mark Millar and a anticipated series about Selena. The increase in production is noticeable. As of 2017, only seven Netflix productions were made in Mexico.

“The richness of talent in front of and behind the camera in Mexico was key in our decision to begin our local production strategy four years ago,” Netflix Chief Executive Ted Sarandos said at a publicity event in Mexico City last month.

Netlfix is planning to open a new office in Mexico City to help increase production there.

The expansion to film and produce in Mexico comes natural for Netflix. It was the place where it first started producing non-English original programming when it expanded internationally to Latin America in 2011.

The numbers also show that international expansion is the way to go for the streaming service. More than half of Netflix’s audience is now international, and international subscriptions are growing faster than domestically. In the last quarter of 2018, Netflix added 1.5 million U.S. subscribers and 7.3 million international subscribers — a record increase. Netflix executives declined to release the number of subscribers it currently has in Mexico.

It’s also benefited those living in Mexico by providing job opportunities.
Over 100,000 Mexicans have already worked on Netflix Originals and this will only increase in the coming years.

Lenard Liberman, the CEO of LBI Media, the parent company to Burbank-based, Spanish-language EstrellaTV Networks says the combination of Netflix and Mexico is good sign for consumers.

“The fact that you have a Netflix now and you have independent producers producing, it’s created more diversity and more interesting formats,”
Liberman told The Hollywood Reporter. “Where it used to just be novella novella novella, the fact that there are so many platforms now looking for great content means that there’s a lot of people being creative.

Netflix is giving Mexico a platform to tell it’s stories and give actors from the region a chance to be exposed to a huge audience.

What made productions like “Roma” and “Narcos: Mexico” so successful was the authenticity it provided viewers. Part of that authenticity comes from the on-site location filming that Mexico brings.

The focus on production in the country has also exposed millions to stories and actors who audiences might have never been to introduced to. Erik Barmack, who recently left Netflix to start his own production company after serving as the vice president for international originals, says no matter where the production is filmed or where a story comes from, audiences will always love great content.

“People from around the world are used to watching things subtitled and dubbed — they’re just looking for stories,” Barmack told the LA Times. “They’re not thinking, what’s coming from the U.S. They’re just asking, ‘How do I find the most interesting things from around the world?’”

READ: Once Again, A Study Shows Latinos Continue To Lack Representation In Hollywood

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Things That Matter

Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Photos: State of California, Gabriel’s Justice/Facebook

Gabriel Fernandez’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, is trying to have her murder conviction thrown out. The 37-year-old woman has been in jail since 2018 for the murder and torture of her eight-year old son.

Pearl Fernandez is petitioning the court for resentencing, hoping to have her first-degree murder and/or second-degree murder charges thrown out.

Fernandez is hoping to have her sentence vacated based off of new changes to the California state penal code. “I think that she feels that somehow maybe, you know, the special circumstance will be dismissed or maybe she’ll have a chance that the D.A. will agree with the petition,” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami said to CBSLA.

In June 2018, a judge sentenced Pearl Fernandez to life without parole. The judge charged Pearl Fernandez with the 2013 torture and killing of her eight-year-old son, Gabriel Fernandez.

On May 22, 2013, Gabriel Fernandez died after suffering a fatal beating from his mother. Pearl Fernandez was allegedly angry that he didn’t clean up his toys.

The details of Pearl and her boyfriend’s lengthy torture campaign against Gabriel Fernandez are both gruesome and numerous. Over the course of his eight-month stay with Isauro Aguirre, the couple broke his bones, burned him with cigarettes, pepper-sprayed him, and forced him to eat his own vomit as well as animal feces. And that is just a short-list of what they did.

The case came to national attention after the release of the 2020 Netflix documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez“. The documentary shone a spotlight on the insidious nature of child abuse. It also highlighted the systematic failures of the social services system that fails to protect children.

Elected officials have expressed their disgust at Pearl Fernandez for trying to escape justice by taking advantage of updated laws.

“The policies and directives from my office and these new laws created by the Legislature are emboldening murderers of children to apply to be re-sentenced,” said Deputy DA Hatami to City News Service. “This is completely unfair to the surviving families and their loved ones.”

He continued: “Families now have to relive all the horror that was perpetrated upon a small and helpless child. Based upon all the evidence presented at the grand jury, which was made public, and the jury trial, Pearl Fernandez was a major participant in the torture and murder of little Gabriel.”

It seems obvious by the fact that Pearl Fernandez is trying to get out of jail after torturing her son to death, that she isn’t remorseful about her actions.

Any other mother who killed her son would probably want to spend the rest of her life in jail instead of trying to find a way to get out of it.

If you believe someone you know is experiencing–or committing–child abuse, there are resources to help. Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. Staying vigilant could help save a child like Gabriel Fernandez.

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