VALLADOLID, Spain — Spurred by ratings and its public service brief, Spain’s Radio Television Espanola is ramping up TV movie production.
In the biggest industry announcement at the Valladolid Film Festival, Javier Pons, director of TVE, pubcaster RTVE’s TV arm, announced that TVE would co-produce five two-part TV movies for broadcast next year. More are under consideration, said TVE director of fiction David Martinez.
All are 150-minute, two-part minis, aimed at playing primetime on RTVE’s mass audience TVE-1 channel.
Pursuing RTVE’s public service remit, all explore true events. Many even push the envelope.
Silvia Quer’s “El Rey en el 23F,” for example, looks like the first Spanish TV fiction to have Spanish King Juan Carlos as its protagonist, turning on his decisive roll in putting down an attempted military coup in 1981.
Two more may prove polemical. Both “Coslada Cero,” helmed by Manuel Estudillo, and “Operacion Malaya,” recreate corruption scandals, “Coslada” involving local police extortion of small retailers in a Madrid neighborhood, “Malaya” turning on backhanders paid to Marbella Town Hall politicians by real estate companies and constructors over 2004-06.
Mar Targarona’s “Ojo por ojo” opens the lid on violent anarchist-government face offs in ‘20s Barcelona.
“Operacion Jacque” narrates the liberation of Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, held hostage by FARC guerrilla troops for six years.
“Spanish cinema portrayed real-life political events during the ‘70s. TVE is returning to this tradition,” Gustavo Ferrada, TVE head of cinema, told Daily Variety.
RTVE has financed TV movies before.
The move into their systematic production, however, reflects tumbling ratings for feature films on TVE and other Spanish broadcasters, due to the emergence of the multiple windows for movies that precede the broadcast network runs.
“New windows and the need to connect with audiences with greater immediacy entails a search for new distribution models,” Pons said at Valladolid.
Broadcast June 16 and July 3, the true-life two-part TV movie “El Caso Wanninkhof,” based on a girl’s murder, notched up a satisfactory 18% share, Martinez said.