'Ermessenda' spinoff adds to Spain's historical TV fiction boom

BARCELONA — Ovideo TV, Catalan pubcaster TV3 and the creative team behind hit historical fiction “Ermessenda,” are reuniting for a spin-off, “Almodis.”

“Ermessenda” was a two-part miniseries turning on the indomitable Ermessenda, Countess of Barcelona.

The most powerful woman in Catalan history, she governed Barcelona and Girona through force of personality, immense wealth and support from the church and Norman mercenaries from 993 to 1057.

Another two-part mini, “Almodis” focuses on the bloody face-off between the twin sons of Almodis, the cultured last wife of Ramon Berenguer I, Ermessenda’s grandson, Ovideo TV exec prexy Antoni Camin told journalists.

El Cid, immortalized by Charlton Heston, also makes an appearance.

Ovideo may seek international co-production coin to cover 15%-20% of budget, Camin said.

“Almodis” reteams “Ermessenda” director Lluis Maria Guell and screenwriters Nuria Furio and Merce Sarrias.

Rolling October 2012, “Almodis” is budgeted at around Euros2.8 million ($3.9 million), over three times the cost of most TV movies in Spain, Camin said.

Sold abroad by Imagina Intl. Sales, “Ermessenda” aired Tuesday March 22 and March 23 on TV3, notching up a 22.3% market share, way above TV3′s channel average of 13%-15%.

Founded in 1985 as a TV production and commercials company, Ovideo went on to produce the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and hire Martin Scorsese to helm a celebrated 2007 Yuletide commercial, a Hitchcock spoof, for Catalan cava company Freixenet.

Ovideo TV is also developing two international TV movies: “Hotel Majestic” and the Robert Dornheim-directed thriller, “Love and Fear in Barcelona,” with Austria’s Epo Film.

Co-produced again by Epo, as well as Belgium’s Esterhazy & Dienst Prod., the World War II-set “Majestic” is a high comedy based on true events: a caper to spring Belgium prime minister Hubert Pierlot from confinement by the Gestapo at Barcelona’s Hotel Majestic.

Guell directs from a screenplay by film director Julio Wallovits (“Smoking Room,” “The Chair”). Costing $2.75 million-$3 million, “Majestic” will go into production 2011/12, Camin said. “Love” is skedded to roll spring/summer 2012.

TV3 will co-produce “Majestic” and “Love.”

Pioneering a new mix between TV content and advertising, Ovideo TV has produced music docu series “Entre 2 Aguas.”

Airing late night on pubcaster TVE’s culture channel, “Aguas” is sponsored by telco Telefonica brand Movistar.

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