Venezuelan writer Leonardo Padrón was on #PRODUprimetime with Ríchard Izarra from his residence in Miami, talked about the exile he was forced to undertake in 2017 and the telenovelas and series he wrote for Televisa, ViX, and Netflix, concluding that the series is the most powerful narrative project of the 21st century is series. Padrón is a man of the media and social networks, a film and television scriptwriter, and one of the most important contemporary intellectuals in Venezuela.
EXILE AND DIASPORA
Padrón traveled to a ten-day event in Miami and he was warned to not return to Venezuela because they were waiting to arrest him. He claims that he had to start from scratch, he even had to buy a computer and a desk. “The political situation and, above all, the government officials forced me to leave the country. They considered me a sort of uncomfortable figure because of what I wrote persistently in my Sunday column in El Nacional, through my social networks and my very clear position in rejection to everything that was happening to my country," said.
He pointed out that he cannot complain about how things turned out. “I never thought of wielding the pole vault of exile because you never know how you’re going to land, and exile is a world full of very hard and heavy stones, and there is that rootlessness and facing that sense of belonging to your country and people. I built my entire television and literary career in Venezuela,” he said.
But his long flight hours in the industry helped him a lot. “I was like a fish in water again, because one of the most lacerating and terrible things that happen to anyone who to face that huge and dark word that is exile, is that many times you have to start from scratch and in a discipline that has nothing to do with your natural job, or on working in any profession that is available. But I have had the opportunity to continue doing what I know how to do, which is telling stories,” he said.
Since he has been in the US he has written three stories for the Univision and Televisa screens, all of them successful (Amar a Muerte
and Si nos Dejan
). He recently made La Mujer del Diablo
for the TelevisaUnivision screen, and for Netflix, Pálpito
, which have not yet been released.
The offer to write for Netflix was “one of the happiest” he has received. “It has really been an extraordinary experience from every point of view, because Netflix lays out a red carpet for the writer, in the sense that part of its premise is to vindicate the figure of the writer. Getting him involved in all the creative processes of the story, because, to be blunt, no one knows a story more than the person who procreated it, generated it, developed it,” he said.
He is also the executive producer of Pálpito, the series he wrote for Netflix. For Padrón, the term “showrunner: has many interpretations, but in the specific case of Pálpito, he prefers to say that his role is that of an executive producer.
SERIES: POWERFUL NARRATIVE PROJECT
Regarding the narrative language of the series, he affirmed that they have another syntax, another plot betting, so there is greater freedom of expression than on the open screen, so much so that “for a writer, it is like being in a kind of land of grace.”
“I think the series is the most powerful narrative project of the 21st century. As in the 19th century was the literary novel represented by authors such Gustave Flaubert, Honoré de Balzac, Alejandro Dumas, and the cinema for the 20th century; for the 21st century, I believe that the great storyteller is precisely the streaming, which is making the public even re-encode their way of reading stories, of elucidating them, of looking at the world. Because what we storytellers do, in a way, is to offer people windows to look at the world, try to explain it, ask questions, challenge themselves.”
Padrón also shared the way he works with his team of writers, his past as a writer in Venezuela, the interview program “Los Imposibles” that later became a book, among others. “I think that those of us who make audiovisual fiction in Latin America have the challenge of taking on discourse even more daring and even better executed, not only regarding the plots but also in technical, direction, and production terms,” he said.
View interview here