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‘Instructions Not Included’s’ Monica Lozano Boards ‘Cepeda,’ from ‘Caso 63’s’ Julio Rojas, ‘Allende’s’ Nicolas Acuña (EXCLUSIVE)

Mexico’s Mónica Lozano, producer of Alejandro González Iñarritu’s “Amores Perros” and Eugenio Derbéz’s “Instructions Not Included,” has boarded “Cepeda,” an envelope-pushing Mexico-set procedural, turning on a Mexican cop who’s an Indigenous woman and great at her job.

Development over the last two years has been financed by Acuña’s Chile-based Promocine. Put back, however, by the pandemic, the project is now set up at Lozano’s Mexico City production house Alebrije Producciones, one of Mexico’s most active forces in international production, behind Carlos Carrera’s Quirino Award winner “Ana y Bruno” and Fox’s “Run Coyote Run.”

“Cepeda” is written by Chile’s Julio Rojas, who has shot to global fame as creator of Podcast phenom “Caso 63.” Rojas also served as story editor on Lucía Puenzo’s “La Jauría,” and writer on Pablo Fendrik’s “El Refugio” and Matías Bize’s “The Life of Fish,” selected by Variety in 2020 as one of the 10 best foreign films in the last decade still without U.S. distribution.

The boundary-breaking series will be directed by Chile-based Nicolás Acuña, a key figure in the build of Latin American premium TV drama and director of “Allende, The Thousand Days,” which made a splash last week at San Sebastián, He was also the creator of the pioneering series “Besieged” and producer-director of big budget “Inés of My Soul,” backed by Spain’s RTVE and Prime Video.

“Cepeda” begins with the discovery of a dead woman worker at an all powerful multinational mining corporation in Mexico.

A police detective in homicides, specialising in femicides, Cepeda is given the case and ends up pitted against the mining giant. Much of the series turns, however, on the contrary character of Cepeda herself, Acuña said at Iberseries & Platino Industria, where he will present “Allende.”

“She’s pretty butch: People assume she’s a lesbian, but she isn’t. She loves to dance, thought to be liberal, but has more conservative values. She has a problem with alcohol and loneliness, but is one hell of a good cop,” he explained.

“The project has an attractive team and it’s a subject which is so deeply painful,” said Lozano. “So many woman are looking for their daughters or sisters who have disappeared and saying: ‘Enough!’ We can’t go on. We have to change this reality and one way to do so is to visualise it.”

Bowing recently on TVN, Chile’s public broadcaster, “Allende, The Thousand Days” punched the best ratings of the day on the channel for each of its four episodes. It will screen soon on RTVE, which has acquired Spanish rights.

A Chile-Spain-Argentina co-production, “Allende” is lead produced by Chile’s Parox, with its co-head Leonora González serving as showrunner. Spain’s Mediterráneo Media Entertainment and Argentina’s Aleph, Mente Colectiva and HD Argentina co-produce. Sold by Onza Distribution, the fiction series stars the “reliably superb” Alfredo Castro, as Variety describes him – though hidden under heavy prosthetics – as Allende after he won general elections, becoming Chile’s first socialist president.

“The series describes intimate details of Allende which generally aren’t well known, plumbing the humanity of a person who is often just a face. It explore what’s behind the figure, bringing out, for example, his large sense of humor,” said Acuña. “Pinochet made Allende laugh, for example. Allende didn’t believe he would attack the presidential palace,” he added.

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