Television Series Will Weave Together Stories of Undocumented Families and Communities Adapted from Journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s Manuscript
LOS ANGELES, CA – September 7, 2017 – Filmmaker Jonás Cuarón (“Gravity,” “Desierto”) has signed on to adapt “Undocumented America” from journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s manuscript of the same title for MAKEREADY, the independent studio and financier for film, television and branded content. The television series, based on the book to be published by Spiegel & Grau, will be an eye-opening portrait of the undocumented experience, weaving together diverse stories of immigrants across the country – from New York City and Miami, to Flint, New Haven, Cleveland and beyond. The announcement was made by MAKEREADY founder and CEO Brad Weston.
Mexico-born Cuarón, who co-wrote the highly acclaimed film “Gravity” with his father, Academy Award® winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, will work alongside Cornejo Villavicencio, an immigrant from Ecuador and DACA beneficiary who brings her own unique experience as one of the first undocumented students admitted to Harvard’s undergraduate and Yale’s PhD programs to the project. Together with MAKEREADY they will bring to life the inspiring and challenging stories of people who came to the United States in search of a better life and now live in constant fear of being deported. MAKEREADY has been developing the series since May when they acquired the rights to “Undocumented America” following Cornejo Villavicencio’s Election Day essay in the New York Times on undocumented Americans and voting.
Jonás Cuarón said: “This is an important story, and one that needs to be told with urgency. I am so happy to be working alongside Karla, who offers a passionate and personal voice to this complex issue.”
Cornejo Villavicencio said: “Trump doesn't get to write our funeral. Neither does the media. Neither do I. We are alive as all hell, and I think that's where the story begins.”
“Hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to this country as children are now at risk of deportation, facing issues most of us can only imagine,” said Weston. “These are the stories of real people, families and communities that need to be told. We are proud to partner with Jonás and Karla to shine a spotlight on the people behind the headlines that are directly affected by our government’s decisions.”
Jonás Cuarón (Director/Writer/Producer/Editor) made his major feature film writing debut in 2013 with the Academy Award®-winning GRAVITY, which he co-wrote with his father, filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. The sci-fi thriller won seven Academy Awards and earned Cuarón a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Cuarón made his feature directorial debut with DESIERTO, starring Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The film, which Cuarón also co-wrote, followed a group of people trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States when they encounter a man who has taken border patrol duties into his own hands. STX Entertainment released the film in March 2016.
Cuarón also directed, wrote, produced and edited the GRAVITY companion short ANINGAAQ, which featured a conversation between an Inuit fisherman in Greenland named Aningaaq and Sandra Bullock's character in GRAVITY, Ryan Stone. He previously wrote, directed and produced the independent film YEAR OF THE NAIL, on which he also served as cinematographer and editor. For his work on the film, he won a Special Artistic Achievement Award at the 2007 Thessaloniki Film Festival, where he was also nominated for a Golden Alexander Award. That same year, he directed the documentary short THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, which he also edited and shot. He is represented by UTA, Hillary Bibicoff and Henry Holmes, Esq.
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is a writer who covers race, science, and culture. She has written popular essays for The New Inquiry, n+1, This Recording, and The New Republic, as well as music reviews for Interview Magazine and The Atlantic. Her essay on undocumented Americans and voting appeared on the front page of the New York Times on Election Day. She is represented by Foundry Literary + Media.
MAKEREADY’S television business funds development and deficit finances its shows, with Entertainment One (eOne) handling the international distribution of television content. “Undocumented America” joins a roster of projects already in development, including “They Can’t Kill Us All,” a fictional series, based on Washington Post journalist Wesley Lowery’s New York Times bestselling book, that will be adapted and executive produced by LaToya Morgan, “Rocket Men,” based on New York Times Bestselling author Robert Kurson’s highly-anticipated novel that provides an inside account of Apollo 8, NASA’s boldest and riskiest mission; “In Country,” a David James Kelly project with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson’s Appian Way, which will star and be executive produced by Jamie Dornan (“The Fall”); “Old City Blues”, and a pilot by screenwriter Arash Amel, based on the Boom graphic novel; “Catching Out,” which is being developed with writer/executive producer Amy Harris (“Sex in the City,” “The Carrie Diaries”) and executive producer Chloe Grace Moretz to take a genuine look at very specific lifestyles of late teens and early twenty-somethings.
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MAKEREADY is a premier global independent film, TV and digital branded entertainment content studio, led by industry veteran and long-time studio executive Brad Weston, whose credits include “The Revenant,” “Birdman,” “Gone Girl,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Big Short” among others, which have garnered 34 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins.
With a global audience in mind and driven by an ambitious production program, the company develops, finances and produces original feature films and television for premium cable, OTT and emerging platforms as well as digital branded content for alternative distribution platforms.
Focused on content creators, MAKEREADY was formed by Weston in partnership with lead investor Entertainment One (eOne), and with Universal Pictures handling global distribution for the company’s feature films with eOne.
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