Although there is a drug cartel at the center of the upcoming Spanish-language Netflix series Somos., it’s undoubtedly not the stereotypical tropes and narratives we’re used to seeing on television and films.
Somos. is based on the ProPublica article “How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ginger Thompson. The series is executive produced by former Focus Features CEO and Academy Award-nominated producer James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain), and four out of six episodes are directed by Alvaro Curiel.
According to Variety, Schamus recruited a Latina-led team for the series, including screenplay and research assistant Maynné Cortés, co-writers/executive producers Monika Revilla and novelist Fernanda Melchor, co-director Marianna Chenillo, and executive producer Sandra Solares. “Ginger Thompson’s report was made possible because of the bravery of the women who stood up and made sure these stories were told,” Schamus told Variety. “It was really important to keep the DNA of these voices and to make sure they were amplified by women creators in every step of the process,” he continued.
The six-episode miniseries tells the stories of the people of Allende, Coahuila, a small ranching town in Mexico, whose lives were upended after a DEA operation went wrong and led to a massacre. The actual massacre took place in 2011 when the Zetas cartel, as Thompson writes, “swept through Allende and nearby towns like a flash flood, demolishing homes and businesses and kidnapping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women, and children.”
In the trailer for Somos., viewers get a sense of the then-peaceful border town with street vendors pushing carts, friends playing cards, and a quinceañera ceremony taking place at a local church. However, when the cartel comes in, Allende starts to look like a war zone.
“In telling the story, we have two core objectives: to make visible the people our culture often works to erase from our perceptions and memories and to affirm our co-existence with them,” Schamus writes in a statement post on the Netflix website.
Schamus adds: “In English, the phrase ‘Somos’ requires two words: ‘We are’ or ‘We exist.’ But in Spanish, one word says it all. I asked if we could add a period after the title so that it reads as an assertion, and not just a title.”
Somos. debuts on Netflix June 30.
Watch the trailer below: