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In a significant move that underscores their commitment to bringing captivating Latin American stories to international audiences, Spain’s Onza Distribution has acquired the international rights to the mini-series “Allende, the Thousand Days.” This momentous series, produced by Chile’s Parox, in collaboration with Mediterraneo Media Entertainment, Aleph Media, 1010 Mente Colectiva, and HD Argentina, is set to mark the 50th anniversary of the untimely death of Chile’s first socialist president, Salvador Allende, and the tragic military coup that paved the way for General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime.
Premiering on September 7, 2023, on Chilean TVN, “Allende, the Thousand Days” quickly captured the hearts of viewers, reporting stellar audience ratings. This compelling four-part mini-series represents the first fictional endeavor to delve into the tumultuous period when Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity party held power in Chile and faced myriad challenges. The narrative unfolds through the eyes of a fictitious Spanish political science student, who ultimately ascends to become Allende’s most trusted advisor.
At the epicenter of the series is the character of Salvador Allende himself, portrayed by the unrecognizable Alfredo Castro (“El Conde”). The production brilliantly brings to life pivotal events that transformed Chile into a focal point of global geopolitical tensions during the early 1970s.
Leonora Gonzalez, producer at Parox, shares her insights into the motivation behind this ambitious project, stating, “We wanted to talk about one of the most globally significant figures in Chilean politics, who, despite his violent death, was a staunch advocate for peaceful social transformation in Chile.”
Gonzalez further explains, “We were also interested in Salvador Allende because he was a dramatically compelling character. He wasn’t the typical Latin American revolutionary of the ’70s, and for that reason, he had to confront the contradictions and frictions caused by his political project. He was also a man who enjoyed life, was fun-loving, a friend to his friends, a ‘young old man,’ as he liked to define himself. Finally, it seemed very appealing to us to portray the process of the Popular Unity through fiction, with all the hope for transformation and joy that it carried.”
With principal photography commencing in May, Parox embarked on a race against time to complete the series in time for the 50th anniversary of Allende’s passing. Leonora Gonzalez reflects on the challenges they faced, saying, “Summarizing such a complex historical period in four episodes was a significant challenge. We could have made three seasons of 12 episodes, and we would still have stories left to tell.”
A noteworthy aspect of the production process was the meticulous attention paid to capturing the historical characters’ physical appearances. Gonzalez notes, “We decided to use prosthetics on Alfredo Castro, which required a lot of trial and error, and considerable time and resources.”
Béatrice Nouh, the head of sales at Onza Distribution, expresses her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “We are thrilled to be distributing such a high-quality historical drama about one of the most prominent political figures of the 20th century; it is a great series that will leave no one indifferent.”
Onza Distribution’s involvement in this venture underscores the growing trend of Spanish and European companies venturing into Latin America, forming partnerships with local production houses and exploring the rich tapestry of stories from the region. Notably, Onza set up “Onza Americas” in 2021 to pursue precisely this type of collaboration.
Looking ahead, Onza has another exciting Spanish-language project in the pipeline, titled “Perverso” (“Heartless”). This eight-episode dramatic series, developed by Alonso Laporta (“The Ministry of Time”) and with Gustavo Ron as showrunners, is set to begin shooting in October. “Perverso” revolves around the gripping story of Haro, an aristocrat serving time for rape and murder, who faces death threats from a kidnapper targeting the business elite. In a bid for more jail benefits, Haro negotiates to assist in the investigation, but his true motive is to seek revenge against the judge who sentenced him.
As Onza Distribution continues to bring remarkable stories to audiences around the world, “Allende, the Thousand Days” stands as a testament to their dedication to sharing the diverse narratives that make up Latin America’s rich history and culture. With its focus on a pivotal period in Chilean history and the charismatic figure of Salvador Allende, this mini-series promises to captivate viewers globally, offering a fresh perspective on a complex and transformative era.