EXCLUSIVE: Blumhouse Television has optioned the Sundance award-winning documentary-narrative film, The Infiltrators from Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra to adapt as a scripted series. Jenniffer Gomez (Vida, Black Sails, Sacred Lies) will write and produce the adaptation. The critically praised film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was honored with The Audience Award: NEXT and The NEXT Innovator Prize.
The Infiltrators, a hybrid of real-time documentary footage and dramatic reconstructions, tells the real – and surreal – story of three young undocumented immigrants, Marco Saavedra, Viridiana Martinez and Mohammad Abdollahi, who in 2012 dared to defy the system by embarking on a high-risk mission to infiltrate a secretive for-profit detention center. By intentionally getting detained by the Border Patrol and voluntarily surrendering their freedom, these “Infiltrators” went into detention to uncover cases of abuse, organize behind bars, and help other detainees (and themselves) eventually get free. The story is a jail-break — in reverse.
The producers and directors of the original documentary, Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer) and Cristina Ibarra (Las Marthas, The Last Conquistador) are attached to executive produce vie their Pueblo Sight & Sound. Blumhouse Television will produce alongside Naked Edge Films.
“Six years after the events depicted in The Infiltrators, our immigration system is more dysfunctional than ever,” said Jeremy Gold and Marci Wiseman, co-presidents of Blumhouse Television. “When subjects like Claudio Rojas, who were powerful voices in the documentary, are still being apprehended without cause and deported in the film’s wake, it’s clear that it’s important to give voice to these stories and to put a spotlight on the dysfunction in our immigration system. The film will serve as a foundation for compelling and dramatic storytelling and we look forward to collaborating with Alex, Cristina, Jenniffer and Naked Edge Films.”
“With The Infiltrators, audiences will go on a tense, character-driven journey into the heart of the immigration enforcement system and meet renegades and advocates fighting for justice within the system. It’s a world that has never been explored on TV. We can’t think of better partners than Blumhouse and Jenniffer Gomez,” said Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra of Pueblo Sight & Sound.
“The team at Blumhouse has proven time and again that they will push the boundaries on subject matter and to bring formerly underheard and under-represented voices to primetime,” said Daniel Chalfen and Jim Butterworth of Naked Edge Films. “We are thrilled to be working with them to bring Cristina and Alex’s powerful film into a scripted series format that can reach an even broader audience.”
Gomez is a rising Queer-Latinx writer dedicated to telling stories that expand perspectives and impact social change. She directed, produced, and financed independent documentary American Dreamers centered on a group of undocumented youth who walked from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. for immigrant rights. While on the journey, she crossed paths with the real life Infiltrators. Currently, Gomez is writing on Starz’s Vida, and Facebook Watch series, Sacred Lies, a Blumhouse TV production. Gomez’s deal was made by Verve, Circle of Confusion and Stone Genow.
Blumhouse TV’s current and recent projects include Showtime limited series The Good Lord Bird, from Ethan Hawke, James McBride, Mark Richard and Anthony Hemingway; The Loudest Voice, the limited series, also for Showtime, based on journalist Gabriel Sherman’s reporting on former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, starring Russell Crowe, with Tom McCarthy writing and executive producing; and Sharp Objects, the limited series from Marti Noxon and Gillian Flynn for HBO based on Flynn’s best-selling novel of the same name, starring Amy Adams and directed by Jean-Marc Valle.