Exclusive: We Sit Down With the Director of ‘Labels,’ Colombia’s First LGBTQ Series Aired on Network TV
On Sunday, May 6, the first episode of the series Labels premiered on the Telepacífico network. As the first high production quality dramatic series made for network television in Colombia, it’s breaking down barriers, and the fact that it follows several LGBTQ characters makes it all the more important. Labels is available to watch every Sunday at 10 p.m. on Telepacífico and online every Monday at telepacifico.com/labels.
Throughout five episodes Labels shares four stories, several of which follow LGBTQ chracters. Among them is the story of Verónica and Alejo. She’s a trans woman in love with a straight cis man, until Alejo arrives (himself a trans man) and makes her rethink what she’s always believed about what ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are.
Jeffer and Nata are a couple of friends who test their friendship through an erotic game, the outcome of which makes them rethink what they’ve always believed about love and themselves.
Jacóbo and Andrés are a couple with a secret that puts their relationship at stake. Alcides and Fabio are two strangers who meet casually one night, and that’s how their story begins.
HORNET: How was this Labels project born?
EDWIN RESTREPO: It was born initially in 2011 as my thesis in university. I studied Cinema and Digital Communication. But years later I presented it to the directors of the Telepacífico channel, who were in agreement with the public policies of the Valle del Cauca government and with the support of the National Television Authority, decided to endorse it and take the project forward, respecting the creative decisions of its creators, including myself; Juan Pablo Florian, the director of photography; and Andrés Loaiza, Assistant Director.
Why is a project like Labels important in Colombia — and in the world — right now?
I think the cultural gap that exists between countries is increasingly reduced, and we must be consistent with the cultural and social advances that are occurring worldwide. Social networks are a very big window to reduce that gap. Colombia at the moment has just emerged from an armed conflict of more than 50 years, and it had saturated death and violence to several generations.
In this historical moment of the country, it’s important to take steps of forgiveness, reconciliation and above all respect to be able to build peace, and these manifestations of love and tolerance can help to build those ties that bring us closer together.
What motivated you to carry out this project?
It seems to me that the LGBTQ universe and the LGBTQ population has always been stereotyped and even caricatured on the national stage. All this was alien to the reality I’ve known for 25 years as a nightlife entrepreneur in the city where I’m originally from, Cali. That’s why I found it motivating to narrate with the greatest possible honesty this universe that I know, and to give dignity and respect to many people who have been underrepresented or distorted in other productions.
Was it easy to get the ‘Yes’ from the network?
The Telepacífico channel from the beginning was interested in the project, since it corresponds to the line of work of the government of Valle del Cauca that is totally inclusive in all its policies. This is how the steps were taken for the national television authority to disburse the resources for its execution.
Don’t miss Labels, airing Sundays on Telepacífico and online every Monday.
Featured image by Telepacífico