Somos.: Fact-Based Massacre

Netflix’s Somos., debuting today, June 30, is a different take on drug trafficking across the U.S./Mexico border.

The six-episode crime drama was inspired by events leading up to a 2011 massacre of at least 300 people in the Mexican border town of Allende — a massacre that a later ProPublica/National Geographic investigation by Ginger Thompson found was triggered by an operation of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Somos. is the first TV project from its creator and executive producer James Schamus, whose long film career includes production and writing Oscar nominations for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) respectively,

And yes, there’s a period after the show’s title. “In English, the phrase ‘Somos’ requires two words, ‘We are’ or ‘We exist,’” Schamus explained, “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.” 

Though Schamus is American, Somos. is a Mexican production, in Spanish with English subtitles: “I always knew Somos. should be created by Mexicans and primarily for Mexicans. My role was to serve as a kind of participant-observer, to use my ignorance as a kind of springboard to open space for the extraordinary team behind the series.”

Somas., Netflix, ProPublica
(Ginger Thompson’s article at propublica.org)

Schamus also pointed out that “it is not coincidental that the majority of key creative leaders on the series are women, for it is mainly women who spoke most fearlessly in Ginger Thompson’s oral history, and women who continue to lead the effort to memorialize and account for the events on which Somos. is based.”

The crew includes writers Monika Revilla and Fernanda Melchor, producer Sandra Solares, directors Álvaro Curiel and Mariana Chenillo, and head editor Soledad Salfate.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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