What better way to kick off the Texas summer than celebrating all things television with fellow TV junkies? ATX Television Fest, co-founded by Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson, returns in its fifth year—AKA season five—from June 9-12 this weekend at various downtown Austin locations.
Recap and photos by ChinLin Pan
The festival kicked off its opening night with the red carpet premiere of USA Network’s upcoming drama “Queen of the South.” Based on the book “La Reina del Sur” by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the series centers on Teresa Mendoza, whose drug-dealing boyfriend is killed unexpectedly, which sends her on the run from Mexico. In the process, she teams up with someone from her past to bring down the leader of the drug trafficking ring.
The 13-episode series stars Alice Braga, Gerardo Taracena, Hemky Madera, Joaquim de Almeida, Jon Ecker, Justina Machado, Peter Gadiot, and Veronica Falcon. The show is also executive produced by David T. Friendly (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Courage Under Fire”), along with M.A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller (“The Final Girls”).
At the red carpet premiere, we spoke with actors Hemky Madera, Joaquim de Almeida, Justina Machado, and Peter Gadiot about their roles and their current favorite TV shows.
Madera plays hitman Pote. To prepare for the role, Madera “read a lot of open cases” and watched documentaries. One of the reasons why he pursued the role was because he enjoyed Pérez-Reverte’s book. Currently, he watches USA Network’s “Mr. Robot.”
Joaquim de Almeida
De Almeida plays drug dealer and patriarch of the Vargas family Epifanio whose wife leaves him. He hopes the network picks up a second season.
Machado plays Brenda. Her character died early on in book so Machado had a lot of creative freedom to approach her character. Currently, her favorite shows are “Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Her next project is Netflix’s upcoming comedy “One Day at a Time.”
Gadiot plays James, the number two guy in the Vargas cartel. To prepare for his role, Gadiot watched a plethora of diverse films and TV shows on Netflix and YouTube. He realized, “there is no stereotype for drug dealers. There are many real examples of drug dealers who look like anyone.” When describing an internally-conflicted James, Gadiot calls him “a good man who’s forced to do bad things.”
“Queen of the South” premieres on Thursday June 23. Check out the official trailer!