EXCLUSIVE: It’s a big week for high school mariachi bands.

Fremantle is developing a drama series set in the world of competitive mariachi bands in the United States.

It comes as Going Varsity in Mariachi, a documentary directed by Sam Osborn and Alejandra Vasquez stars a talented group of students at Edinburg North High School in South Texas who compete for the title of the state’s best mariachi band, is hitting the Sundance Film Festival.

The Mosquito Coast producer Fremantle has been bolstering its scripted business in recent years and has splurged $270M on 11 companies, many of which are helping this drive.

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The company is basing its drama series on Cecilia Ballí’s reporting in the New York Times article, A Championship Season in Mariachi Country.

The series will explore the complex world of the Mariachi community.  The series showcase the bonds that exist among Latino youth as they prepare and compete in this epic and resonant competition.

Cecilia Ballí, who is repped by Anonymous Content, will exec produce.

Fremantle is currently searching for prospective writers and directors to adapt the drama series.

Separately, the company, which is best known for non-scripted series such as American Idol, is developing a non-scripted series focused on the high school teams that battle it out – many who reside along the Texas and Mexico border. 

The company is also in talks with doc filmmakers and producers for this project.

“This is a vibrant, captivating and emotionally engaging world which is attracting the interest of notable scripted and documentary filmmakers alike,” said Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted Programming, Fremantle U.S.  “In following the true stories of these students and their communities, Fremantle aims to shine a light on authentic personal stories while also celebrating the endless universalities that tie our communities and our country together.”

“Mariachi is growing throughout the country as a virtuosic art form and as a school music program,” added Cecilia Ballí. “I love that this project tells a quintessentially American story about Latinos and the U.S.-Mexico border, and I’m excited that television will help bring it to larger audiences. It’s one of the most special things happening in arts education nationally, and the music will fill you with pride and joy.”

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