Via Digital signs up producer Querejeta

Film vet enters TV sector with 'Barrio,' music show, docu series

MADRID — Leading Spanish pic producer Elias Querejeta has inked a wide-ranging film and TV production pact with satcaster Via Digital which marks Querejeta’s definitive entry into TV production.

Under the new production pact, digital platform Via will co-finance a spinoff of Querejeta’s recent production “Barrio,” as well as a Spanish music program, a docu series on human relations around the world and an edutainment slot on filmmaking. Via will also back new films from Querejeta’s stable of directors such as Fernando Leon (“Barrio”) and daughter Gracia Querejeta.

The Via deal signals the end of a highly successful three-year pic production pact with the Sogecable-owned Sogecine (aka Sogetel), which for nearly the first time since the early 1980s saw art pics such as Leon’s youth meller “Barrio” cross over from arthouse to multiplex auds. “Barrio” grossed $2.6 million in Spain, a remarkable figure for an austere social drama.

What Sogecine, which solely makes features, could never offer Querejeta, however, is the range of TV production opportunities that Via has brought to the table.

Audience reach

The deal signifies for Querejeta the realization of a long-term dream: to reach wide audiences with upscale programming turning on contempo issues, a kind of programming almost entirely absent from Spanish TV schedules.

For Via, the deal consolidates its powerful push into local pic production and its ongoing repositioning as an upscale pay TV.

Via launched in 1997 with no studio contracts as a cut-price rival to Sogecable’s Canal Satelite Digital (CSD). Under managing director Juan Ruiz de Gauna, however, it has inked weighty programming deals with many companies, now shares soccer rights with CSD and, with the Querejeta deal, has snared Spain’s most prestigious art pic producer.

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