MADRID — David Victori‘s “Burn Barcelona,” Guille Bandrés’ “Fuera de campo” and Pau Escribano and Oriol Jara’s “Barcelona 93” were standouts at TV Pitchbox, a pioneering pitching event for Spanish TV drama projects, organized in Madrid by online platform Filmarket Hub.
With more than 10,000 users across Europe and Latin America, Filmarket Hub aims to give visibility to film and TV projects in development stage and encourage new production deals. Filmarket Hub also organizes Sitges Pitchbox, hosted by Catalonia’s Sitges Film Festival, whose recent edition, held in October, was conducted by Guillermo del Toro.
Chosen from a total of 200 submitted TV series projects, the seven finalists were pitched to a selected group of TV executives, which included Spain-based SVOD operators Amazon Prime Video, Telefonica-Movistar+ and HBO España; top free-to-air broadcasters Mediaset España, Atresmedia and RTVE, plus global sales and rights management company Eccho Rights.
Produced by Miguel Angel Faura (“Enemy,” “Escobar, Paradise Lost”), “Burn Barcelona” adapts the same titled best-selling novel written by Guillem Martí. Based on true events, it turns on the forgotten heroes who saved the city of Barcelona and the lives of maybe hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants during the Spanish Civil War.
The story starts days before the Franciso Frabco’s Nationalist Army entered Barcelona, when Moscow’s Stalinist Comintern ordered to destruction the city, leaving nothing for the enemy. Miquel Serra, a minister in the Catalan Government, in alliance with Corbacho, a veteran Republican army sergeant, risked their lives by sabotaging the plans and saving the city.
Victori, whose feature debut, horror-thriller “The Pact,” co-produced by Sony Pictures International Productions, is scheduled for a 2018 release, bought “Burn” TV adaptation rights from Planeta, the giant Barcelona publishing group.
A screenplay analyst at Barcelona-based Filmax, Bandrés has sifted through thousands of anecdotes from the sport press and professional soccer world, to put together a behind-the-scenes take on the tribulations of soccer in “Fuera de campo.”
Designed as a 10-part one-hour TV series, “Fuera de campo” follows Javier Canseco, a sports director in a mid-range soccer club in Spain’s the Soccer League who wants to hide the skullduggery and sheer corruption of the soccer world from his young son.
Although “The Newsroom” and “Friday Nights Lights” were references for the story, Bandrés said in his presentation that he drew his largest inspiration from his father, a former sports director at a Spanish soccer club who abandoned his job in disillusion.
“Fuera de campo” joins to a wide list of current TV drama projects focusing on the soccer world and surrounding interests, such as Mediapro and DirecTV’s “El fútbol no es así,” directed by Daniel Calparsoro. With “Burn Barcelona,” “Fuera de campo” was one of the TV Pitchbox’s project that a priori looked a better fit for free-to-air TV audiences’ tastes.
Developed at Barcelona-based Minoría Absoluta (“Crackovia”) and backed by Onza Partners, “Barcelona 93” was presented by its development head Albert Val (“The Red Band Society,” “Rec” saga) as a eight-episode, one hour series, which comes with a first season bible.
A drama-thriller with mob movie elements co-created by Pau Escribano and Oriol Jara, “Barcelona 93” is set on the burgeoning nightclub scene e in a thriving post-Olympic Games Barcelona. “The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Deuce” figure among the project’s inspirations.
Silvia Espín’s “Revival” weighs in as a eight-seg dramedic half-hour about a rock star in Madrid ’80s Movida who tries to become a reality TV star as a way to back from present-day anonymity. The series will show the pathetic side of its characters through the use of a dark humor, Espín said.
Among projects, José Joaquín Rodríguez’s social thriller “Hijos del agobio” and Frank Lucas’ teen drama “WV$P” suggest the influences of theme and visual aesthetics of Spanish noirish director Alberto Rodríguez (“Grupo 7,” “Marshland,” “La Peste”).
Inspired by true events, “Hijos del agobio” is a 10-episode thriller set against Andalusia’s drug trade. Street dance drama “WV$P” portrays the descent into hell of a Barcelona teenager.
Influenced by “The Truman Show,” “Black Mirror” and “30 Rock,” Josep Miquel Jové’s transmedia comedy “Streisand Effect” turns on a young boy who becomes an Internet celebrity. much against his will. He attempts to recover his anonymity, helped by a vlogger and a hacker.
The pitching sessions at TV Pitchbox underscore TV market trends in Spain – such as that thrillers continue as the fiction genre of choice among Spanish creators, often mixed with doses of social-issue concerns, historical settings and character drama.
The lion’s share of the Pitchbox projects target potential Generation Z audiences, digital natives highly familiarized with online and SVOD TV proffered by top local and international TV players.
Near all of the creators, writers and producers behind these Pitchbox projects are based in Catalonia, where pubcaster TV3, once a pillar of the region’s film and TV industry, has seen its financing capacities significantly curbed by Spain’s economic crisis.