Listening to Latinx Voices

LA-based production company Campanario Entertainment is working to change the way Latinx voices are being presented in entertainment, with projects like Bravo’s Mexican Dynasties, as well as the Netflix scripted series on Selena Quintanilla, Selena: The Series, and the Spanish-language format of Nailed It! for Netflix Mexico. After a bidding war, Amazon recently acquired a Campanario property, Como Sobrevivir Soltero, a dramedy set in Mexico. Jaime Dávila, President & Co-Founder of Campanario Entertainment, shares his views on changes in Spanish-language programming.

How have tastes in programming changed for Latinx viewers?

Latinx viewers, like all viewers, want to watch great, well-produced shows. Whether they consume content on phones, tablets, or TVs, they’re seeking quality content across all genres, with characters they can fall in love with, that look like they do and that share similar backstories. Latinx viewers are getting more vocal in their desire for more representation in the content they’re watching, and the industry is starting to take that into account. At Campanario our mission is to make that content.

What content do you have in the pipeline that is different for viewers?

I’m very proud that Campanario is at the forefront of producing mainstream Latinx content. In a world where Latinx talent only represents around 5% of on-screen roles, Campanario advocates for networks to produce representative content from the early development stages – content the Latinx community has been starved for.  And, we’re seeing change on that front. We just launched Mexican Dynasties with Bravo, which is a fun, light-hearted comedy following three of Mexico’s most prominent families. We’re excited for our work with Netflix which includes the much-anticipated official Selena scripted series and the Mexican iteration of Nailed It!. Our most recent project is with Amazon, Como Sobrevivir Soltero, a series set in Mexico that was announced a few weeks ago. Campanario’s upcoming and existing projects highlight the amazing tapestry that is the Latinx community in both scripted and unscripted formats.

Aside from language, how do Spanish-language series differ from series in the past?

Spanish-language series have evolved from what they typically were twenty years ago. The traditional telenovela format that included a minimum of 120 episodes is no longer the only type of format used. Many series are now adapting to a more American/European model of 6-13 episodes per season. Another shift is in quality and creativity. Spanish-language series are starting to come from a younger group of filmmakers, producers, and writers to create content that is timely and relevant. Finally, Spanish-language series today take more risks in terms of themes and stories that haven’t been told before. For example, our upcoming Amazon series qqomo Sobrevivir Soltero is a fictionalized take on the life of the Mexican actor Sebastian Zurita exploring the drama and comedy behind the experience of being single in a traditionally macho culture. We think that’s something new and boundary-breaking. The traditional telenovelas will always be a staple, but it’s exciting to see the creativity and new formats being welcomed into traditional programming. 

What do you think is the future for Spanish-language programming?

The future of Spanish-language programming is FANTASTIC. We’re only at the beginning of really making a difference in the entertainment landscape. We’re seeing more companies lean into commissioning and developing storylines that are representative of our community. At Campanario, we’ve always believed in the universal appeal of our Latinx content, whether it’s in Spanish, English, or both. We love that the industry is picking up on it and beginning to truly embrace it. There’s something very special about using Spanish to further tell a story, from specific Spanish-language series, specials, and films to more programming having subtitles for the Spanish dialogues in programming. It’s only going to continue to grow from here. 

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at Lynn@Cynopsis.com.

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