Marginal MediaWorks has announced premium scripted series development with Hummingbird, a new horror drama that was sold to Amazon Studios in a competitive bidding situation. Primetime Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Rudy Valdez is developing Hummingbird, working closely with Marginal MediaWorks founder and CEO Sanjay Sharma, and writer Marcella Ochoa, with whom Marginal also partnered on the recently announced Blumhouse & Amazon film project “Madres.”
Hummingbird is loosely inspired by Valdez’s life, and is billed as a Stephen King-style American Gothic, from the perspective of a Mexican American family living in the Midwest whose search for the American dream finds them haunted by something far more sinister. Ochoa will pen the pilot, with Valdez directing, and with both serving as executive producers alongside Sharma on the series.
“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,” said Sharma. “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,” said 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.”
Rising star Valdez’s breakout feature documentary, “The Sentence”, was on the New York Times list of the 20 most definitive LatinX movies of the century. His list of active features and series runs across streamers, including a directing credit on a series for Disney+ with Blumhouse centered on the Detroit Youth Choir, and his current series “We Are: The Brooklyn Saints” has been critically acclaimed and is streaming now on Netflix.
Valdez has also been awarded the Roger Ebert Prize for Documentary, is a Sundance Festival Audience Award winner, and is a Critic’s Choice Award nominee for Best New Director. “Hummingbird” marks his entry into fiction storytelling.
Marcella Ochoa recently co-wrote the LatinX feature film “Madres” for Marginal MediaWorks, Blumhouse and Amazon. Currently, she is writing a supernatural thriller for Paramount Players. She previously wrote and directed an award-winning short film based on her family in South Texas, “My Name is Maria de Jesus,” which premiered on HBO Latino. Hummingbird marks her entry into scripted television.
Marginal MediaWorks has quickly gained traction in feature film, its first project premiering at TIFF and its second selected for Tribeca 2021. The last two years, the company has produced and set up features across streamers and major studios. Hummingbird is the first scripted series off the company’s growing slate of episodic projects in fiction, nonfiction and animation – all from a diverse, new generation of storytellers for U.S. and global markets.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Marginal MediaWorks by CAA and Granderson Des Rochers.
Valdez is repped by ICM.
Ochoa is repped by CAA, Inclusion Management, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.