For a TV series, the spotlight of a Film Festival premiere is an opportunity to prove its ability to stand on its own as a cinematic story and attract new audiences. Now, as the quality of TV fare warrants it, a trend has begun to emerge as film festivals add new sections to their program lineups offering a glimpse of the best in episodic storytelling from around the globe. Miami International Film Festival (in 2012), this year’s SXSW, Sundance, followed by Tribeca and now TIFF are marking a number of major film festivals presenting TV on the big screen.
The Mitch Glazer-created period Miami casino mob series Magic City, which enjoyed a two-season run on Starz, is currently in development for its move to the big screen. A star-studded showing of the pilot episode was held at the Festival’s 29th edition in 2012 at the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road, with cast members Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Steven Strait, Kelly Lynch, Elle Satine, Yul Vazquez, Dominik Garcia-Lorido (Andy Garcia’s daughter), and writer/executive producer Mitch Glazer in attendance.
The Magic City TV series, currently available on Netflix, took place in 1959 Miami and revolved around a club owner, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is forced to make a deal with a mobster; the Magic City movie will be set in 1962 and once again will revolve around the Miami club owner. Glazer wrote the script and will direct series regulars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danny Huston, Olga Kurylenko and Kelly Lynch, who’ll be joined by Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and others. Also, the Elmore Leonard novel Bandits is finally getting its movie closeup. Bruce Willis is the driving force behind this one, and will play the lead role in an ensemble drama that will be scripted by Mitch Glazer, coming off Magic City and Rock The Kasbah.
Also during the Festival 29th Edition, the Festival featured the first two episodes of the HBO Latin America series, Prófugos (Fugitives), in its Cinema 360° program. The Chilean series by award-winning director Pablo Larraín (Tony Manero, Post Mortem), celebrated writer Pablo Illanes (“¿Dónde está Elisa?”), and Fabula (Young and Wild, 4:44 Last Day on Earth) brought big screen quality to the TV mini-series world in a big budget 13-episode epic thriller, where four men are contracted by a mob boss who needs to move a truckload of liquid cocaine from Bolivia into Chile. The failed drug trafficking operation triggers an all-out manhunt across the vast regions of the Chilean landscape, where the enormous Atacama desert was only one backdrop selected for the first-ever HBO Latin America production in Chile. —Tatyana Chiocchetti