What is Yonkoma Pitch?
Yonkoma is a 4 panel comic format from Japan. «Yonkoma Pitch» is a project where through that format I explore possible IP ideas that have been brewing on my mind. An illustrated «I have a great idea for an X» if you will.
A couple of years ago I came across this video detailing an in-universe parody of Star Wars comic book series called Tag and Bink are Dead, about how two unknown characters called Tag and Bink were the cause various of the plot holes of the first two trilogies. The name itself a homage to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which in turn is a play that follows two minor characters in Hamlet and their inconsequential lives inside a play were their fates are sealed.
Months after watching this, me and a friend thought it be a great idea to do a movie with the same premise except instead of being part of a fictional story it would be set in the almost cinematic universe-esque world of... the wars of independence of Spanish Colonies.
I present to you The "Libertarados" (a play on words of libertador, meaning liberator, and tarados, meaning dumbasses):
Two ne'er-do-wells escape the chaos and uncertainty of the conquest... I mean the occupation of Spain by the French during the Peninsular War, inside a ship of which the destination they don't know.
Unfortunately for them, they end up in a continent going through a chaos similar in tone and greater in scale than the one the ran away from. Their only objective now is to escape these hostile lands by any means available, but the further they con their way to safety the more involved they end up. Meeting thusly the legendary liberators of Latin America, like Bolívar, Sucre, Morelos, Hidalgo, Martín, Artigas y Garibaldi.
At the tail end of their odyssey they end up in Chiloé, Chile. The last bastion of royalist resistance in the American Colonies of Spain. When the royalist surrender they are given safe passage back to Europe.
Unfortunately, after 30 years they end up in the most chaotic place of all of Europe: Paris, 1830. The July Revolution.
The Pitch: A historical comedy about what ties us together.
Nowadays we have entire divisions within streaming platforms dedicated to getting the attention of Hispanic and Latine audiences. Although we have our hits, we have only recently hit the base level of production value of Hollywood movies (eg. Roma, The secret in their eyes), but it's not enough, we latines have yet to crack the Genre Movie.
With the exception of horror, the gap in resources for genre movies in Latin America is still big. And not for lack of expertise, most of our VFX houses are world class, and because of that, working for Hollywood at rates latine productions can't afford. Which is funny because back in the 70s we made a lot of genre fare, particularly in Mexico, starring luchadores like El Santo. Although now dismissed as schlock, it was an earnest effort to give audiences variety. While also broadening the collective imaginarium, making our brown skins part of the fantastical too.
Nowadays, Latin America is ace at making misery porn, festival circuit content, and comedy, but if we dare venture outside that territory (eg. sci-fi, fanstasy, et al) audiences reject it or worse dismiss it. But why? Well, frankly, because we suck at those genres, and we suck because we lack practice.
It'd be impossible to land our latine equivalent to Star Wars in our first try. Baby steps, we have to ease ourselves and audiences into it. What better way to do that than with something genre adjacent we actually do quite well, the period film. This pitch is not for a period drama, but an all out period comedy, about the things that connect all latines, the madness and drive to move forward in the midst of chaos. Comedy is part of the genres latine audiences trust local film makers to make well, combined with a nice, finite, and wide format as is the theatrical feature film (not everybody has streaming services in a region that still isn't a credit economy) you have a great shot at a regional hit.
I imagine these two characters as conmen from Andorra telling their tale as the framing device. How they escape the Peninsular War à la Forrest Gump. They end up in the haciendas, bureaus and quarters of the latine equivalent to the US's founding fathers. We would treat these liberators not as the heroes we see printed in our colourful bills or posing solemnly for portraits, but as human beings with faults, vices, and objectives that go further the the altruism of freedom from colonial rule.
The plot would culminate after a near two decades. Escaping battle after battle through charm, fraud, and deceit, they end up in Chiloé as soldiers manning the last bastion of Spanish until their surrender and annexation to Chile (historically the last bit of territory to become independent in the American continent). The framing device of them recounting their story revealed to be their testimony to their chilean captors. Feeling sorry for them, and seeing their are conmen, they grant them safe passage to a ship in Buenos Aires heading to Europe. Luck is not on their side though, as they arrive a just before the beginning of the July revolution in Paris. Doomed to be followed by chaos wherever they go.
These characters, by going through the whole of Latin America, would highlight what connects us (besides our coloniser's language) while also dispelling the myth of a latine monolith. Content with more regional appeal for the Latin America, impossible.
Let me know what you think.