The episodic series is described as “a Stephen King-style American Gothic,” loosely inspired by the life of Emmy-winning documentarian Rudy Valdez, who directs. It centers on members of a Mexican American family living in the Midwest that are haunted by sinister forces, while searching for the American dream.
Valdez developed Hummingbird in concert with Marginal MediaWorks’ Founder & CEO, Sanjay Sharma, and writer Marcella Ochoa. Ochoa will write the pilot. She will also exec produce, alongside Sharma and Valdez.
The announcement of Marginal’s first foray into scripted TV was made by Sharma.
“We are thrilled to delve into the world of what we call Mexican Americana – a story about a family lured in by the American dream, only to become haunted by it,” he said. “With Rudy & Marcella, we have crafted a first of its kind exploration that imports supernatural and psychological horror elements into what, at the end of the day, is an aspirational American family drama that will be intriguing to audiences around the world.”
“I’ve spent my career building my voice in documentaries, but more importantly telling the stories of underserved and marginalized communities through giving them agency and light,” said Valdez. “Marcella’s personal background, her growing body of work in the space, and her keen sense of Mexican American lore, coupled with Sanjay’s own immigrant background and story development expertise, made us the perfect trio to bring this vision to life.”
“I grew up loving horror, but never saw myself represented in the genre,” added Ochoa. “Taking our culture, our ancestors’ stories and oral histories, and crafting a commercial, broadly accessible but culturally specific series with a prolific filmmaker like Rudy was nearly effortless. I’m thrilled to bring this vision to the world in series form with MARGINAL with whom I also did my second feature film.”
Making his feature debut with The Sentence, which made the New York Times‘ list of the 20 most definitive Latinx movies of the century, Valdez has numerous other features and series in the works. While his football docuseries We Are: The Brooklyn Saints is currently streaming on Netflix, he is also directing a series for Disney+ and Blumhouse on the Detroit Youth Choir. Valdez’s work has been recognized with numerous accolades, including a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best New Director, the Roger Ebert Prize for Documentary, and the Sundance Festival Audience Award.
Recently co-writing the LatinX horror feature Madres, for Marginal, Blumhouse and Amazon, Ochoa is currently penning a supernatural thriller for Paramount Players. Hummingbird is her first scripted series, as well as Valdez’s.
Founded by Sharma in 2018, Marginal MediaWorks is a production company focused on “popular storytelling from outsider voices.” Taking its award-winning first feature, The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, to the 2019 Toronto Film Festival, the company boasts a growing slates of episodic projects across fiction, nonfiction and animation, which it is bringing to both U.S. and global markets, including Paramount horror feature Whitney, an animated series featuring rapper, Quavo, and the music-driven podcast, Corner Wolves.
The Hummingbird deal was negotiated on behalf of Marginal by CAA and Granderson Des Rochers.
Valdez is repped by ICM. Ochoa is repped by CAA, Inclusion Management, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.