×

Mediapro, Oficina Burman Strike High-End Drama Development Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

Woody Allen and Netflix producers aim to develop a minimum three TV series in first year of their partnership

MADRID — Aligning two of the most ambitious TV drama producers in the Spanish-speaking world, Spain’s Mediapro Group and Argentina’s Oficina Burman have struck a strategic co-development deal for high-end fiction TV series and formats aimed squarely at international markets.

Under the deal, Mediapro, a producer with Sky, HBO and Canal Plus of Jude Law starrer “The Young Pope,” and Oficina Burman, which is set to produce Netflix’s first original series in Argentina, will join forces to co-develop a minimum of three TV series in a first year of collaboration, said Javier Mendez, Mediapro head of contents.

Mediapro will cover co-development costs with the right to produce series that come out of the co-development deal, he added. Mendez is scheduled to travel to Buenos Aires, where Oficina Burman is based, on Wednesday to advance on the first potential co-development slate.

The deal coincides with the inauguration of Mediapro’s new offices in Argentina. It comes as the battle heats up for the writing and show-running talent needed to produce the best high-end TV drama.

Launched in 2014 by Daniel Burman, a leading light of the New Argentine Cinema (“The Lost Embrace,” “El rey del Once”), Oficina Burman made waves at January’s Natpe, announcing with Brazil’s Grupo Globo that the two companies would jointly produce “Supermax,” Globo’s first Spanish-language production to be made out of its Rio studios. It is now in post-production.

Burman’s biggest achievement has been to focus Oficina Burman’s operations on the creation and development of original stories, launching a writing room headed by the company’s contents head, Mario Segade.

Daniel Burman is a magnificent director and a great person, with a large capacity to identify creative talent and lead teams, as is suggested by the series he made with Globo and his deal with Netflix,” said Mendez.

What Oficina Burman lacked was international reach.

“Oficina Burman has grown hugely from its creation two years ago, but it lacked a partner in Spain which, as a Spanish-language contents company, is fundamental,” Burman said.

“Nowadays, companies and projects need framework alliances in both creative and production terms. Exclusivities and limitation are no longer possible. That is a paradigm change,” Burman added, commenting that the two companies could bring in third-party partners on projects.

Partnered with Mexico’s Televisa, ad media giant WPP and investor Torreal, Mediapro owns a 7% stake in Spanish broadcast giant Atresmedia Group. Their joint conglom, in which Mediapro holds a controlling 48% participation, posted revenues of €1.509 billion ($1.7 billion) in 2015, per company sources.

Mediapro is teaming with the Qatar-based beIN Media Group on sports-rights brokering operations across the world. For its production of feature films, however, it has placed a large emphasis on linking up with auteurs, including Woody Allen, for whom it co-produced three titles, including “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” and Spanish talents Isabel Coixet (“Nobody Wants the Night”) and Fernando Leon (“A Perfect Day”).

Its pact with Oficina Burman puts Mediapro together with arguably the highest-profile of Latin America’s new generation of show-runners, who make series in limited-episode international formats. “Supermax” comes in at just 10 episodes. “Edha,” set to roll early next year, is a 13-part series.

The Mediapro-Oficina Burman deal also comes as both companies attract key talent to build their drama development operations.

For Mediapro, the pact kicks in just weeks after Ran Telem, a Primetime Emmy Award-winning producer on “Homeland,” joined Mediapro. The longtime V.P. of programming and content at Israel’s Keshet Broadcasting has been appointed to the newly created post of head of international content development.

Oficina Burman will establish a writing room in Spain, headed by young Spanish screenwriter-director Clara Roquet to advance the joint development of projects with Mediapro, Burman said. Roquet broke through co-writing Carlos Marques-Marcet’s “10,000 KM,” a best acting winner at 2014’s South by South West. She recently teamed with Burman to adapt Spanish-language international bestseller “This Too Shall Pass” into a feature film.

In Argentina, Mediapro already owns PromTV, a services company for ESPN. Argentina’s Mediapro has also produced local versions of “Survivor” and “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Metro 2033

    Cult Sci-Fi Novel 'Metro 2033' to Be Adapted as Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    Russia’s TNT-Premier Studios Company, TV-3 Channel and Central Partnership Film Company – all part of Gazprom Media – have come together to produce a movie based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s sci-fi novel “Metro 2033,” which has also been adapted as a video game. Filming is due to start next year. The Russian premiere of the movie [...]

  • Beforeigners

    'Beforeigners’' Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  HBO Europe’s first Norwegian original series, which debuted Aug. 21 exclusively across HBO’s territories, has garnered rave reviews in the Norwegian press. It is also a perfect fit for HBO’s brand and goal to create bold, smart and author-driven shows. Produced by Endemol Shine’s Norwegian prodco Rubicon TV, “Beforeigners” is helmed by [...]

  • Refugees from the besieged Muslim enclave

    Sarajevo’s True Stories Market: Documenting the Atrocities of War

    Reconciliation and dealing with the tragedies of the Yugoslav Wars has been a major focus of the Sarajevo Film Festival and its CineLink Industry Days event in recent years. The True Stories Market, launched in 2016, aims to connect filmmakers with organizations that are researching and documenting the Yugoslav Wars that spanned 1991 to 2001 [...]

  • Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’

    Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ Wins Top Prize in Sarajevo

    “Take Me Somewhere Nice,” Bosnian director Ena Sendijarević’s coming-of-age story about a teen raised in the Netherlands who returns to Bosnia to visit her ailing father, won the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival Thursday night, earning the Amsterdam-based helmer the coveted Heart of Sarajevo Award. The jury heralded the “beautifully photographed, acted, scripted [...]

  • Khadar Ahmed - BUFO - photo

    Bufo Sets Key Cast for Co-Production ‘The Gravedigger' (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —   Actor Omar Abdi, who starred in the Ahmed-scripted short “Citizens,” and actress Yasmin Warsame, who made her name as a Canadian model, will topline romantic-tragedy “The Gravedigger,” the latest big screen project from Bufo, the Helsinki-based outfit behind Berlinale winner “The Other Side of Hope.” The film follows a Djibouti gravedigger [...]

  • Jacobs Ladder Movie 2019

    Film Review: 'Jacob's Ladder'

    It’s understandable that someone would want to remake “Jacob’s Ladder,” Adrian Lyne’s 1990 head-trip thriller about a Vietnam veteran haunted by fragmentary nightmare visions. I was far from alone in finding the original to be an overwrought but rather thin “psychological” horror film that was more punishing than pleasurable. And it wasn’t exactly a hit, [...]

  • Fiddler A Miracle of Miracles

    Film Review: 'Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles'

    Still beloved and routinely revived 55 years after its Broadway debut — including a Yiddish-language version now playing in New York — “Fiddler on the Roof” is a popular phenomenon that shows no sign of subsiding. Max Lewkowicz’s “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” provides an entertaining if hardly exhaustive overview of how the unlikely success [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content