Fremantle Buys Into ‘El Chapo’ Producer and Creator’s New Shingle (EXCLUSIVE)

Fremantle has taken a 25% stake in The Immigrant, the production outfit set up by “El Chapo” producer Camila Jimenez and creator Silvana Aguirre. Canada’s Bron, whose recent projects include “Joker” and “The Addams Family,” has also taken a smaller stake in the L.A.-based company, which was launched earlier this year and has outposts in Mexico and Spain.

The Immigrant will work with other talent in Fremantle’s worldwide stable of production outfits. A collaboration with “My Brilliant Friend” producer Wildside was already underway before Fremantle’s investment in the firm. Details of that joint project are closely guarded, but it will be a period piece based on real events, with Lucia Puenzo (“La Jauria”) as showrunner.

Fremantle has an option to up its 25% stake in The Immigrant to a majority holding. Fremantle has pushed heavily into scripted in recent years, and The Immigrant deal is its first major investment in the Latinx-focused content space.

“It’s an area that we believe offers enormous opportunity from both a creative and a commercial perspective,” Fremantle COO Andrea Scrosati told Variety. “We had a strategic vision to invest in this cultural area…but the decision is ultimately all about the people.”

Jimenez was at Fusion Media Group and Story House before launching The Immigrant and becoming its CEO. Her exec producing credits include “Murder Mountain” and Netflix’s “El Chapo.” Aguirre was the creator and showrunner of the latter, and oversees development at The Immigrant.

The shingle was being wooed by more than one suitor, but choosing Fremantle meant “supercharging our growth and doing things fast and at scale,” Jimenez told Variety. “It was about who was the best strategic partner, creatively and financially.”

She said that The Immigrant’s slate would adopt an international outlook, aiming to tell authentic local stories that will resonate globally. The slate is drama-focused but also has some docu-series projects.

RTL-owned Fremantle will back the shingle’s development work and handle international distribution of its shows. The deal comes at a moment when premium international drama is in high demand. “It’s all about the story and the way you tell it,” Scrosati said. “We live in a period where if you have a strong story from France, Denmark or Mexico, Brazil, it can immediately become global.”

Fremantle will build its stake over time while Bron will hold a minority stake. “We’re delighted to have ‘The Immigrant’ join the Bron Ventures group of companies and to expand our reach to an ever-growing global audience,” said Ashley Levinson, Bron’s chief strategy officer.

ACF Investment Bank brokered the deal.

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