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Netflix Orders First Original Series From Spain (EXCLUSIVE)

Bambu Producciones produces drama, which reteams ‘Velvet’ and ‘Gran Hotel’ director, creators, producers

MADRID – “Velvet” and “Gran Hotel” director Carlos Sedes and producers Ramon Campos and Teresa Fernandez Valdes (pictured) at Bambu Producciones will reteam to make the first Netflix original series shot and produced in Spain.

With no official title for the moment, the 16-episode Spanish-language drama, set in the 1920s, centers on four women from different backgrounds hired as switchboard operators at Spain’s sole telephone company in central Madrid.

Co-created by Campos and Gema Neira, his long-term writing partner, and produced by Madrid-based Bambu Producciones, Spain’s first Netflix original series will start production in Madrid in 2016, debuting exclusively on Netflix around the globe in 2017.

Bambu founders Campos and Fernandez Valdes will serve as executive producers. Episodes will run an international standard 50 minutes, shorter than Spain’s norm.

After the 1905-set mystery-romance drama “Gran Hotel” and “Velvet,” a romantic drama set in a rambunctious and stylish high-fashion house in ’50s/’60s Spain, Bambu’s Netflix original series returns to history to tell the story of four women from all over Spain who come to work at the forefront of a communications revolution in the middle of Madrid – a place which represents progress and modernity. As in other Bambu Producciones dramas, emotions run a wide gamut. Jealousy, envy and betrayal mix with a hunger for success, with friendship and love but, above all, with dreams.

“It is incredibly exciting to have Netflix in Spain. We are enthusiastic fans of its original series, and it is a real honor for us to now be part of this project,” said Ramon Campos. “It is a joy to work with Netflix’s extremely talented team, which is revolutionizing the television industry worldwide,” added Teresa Fernandez Valdes, executive producer of the series.

“We’re delighted to be working with Bambu Producciones, director Carlos Sedes and co­-creator Gema Neira on our first original series filmed in Spain,” added Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix. “We’re huge fans of their work on ‘Gran Hotel’ and ‘Velvet,’ epic romances that have been embraced by our members around the world. We’re certain that our members will love this unique and engaging drama created by some of the best storytellers in Spain.”

The Netflix-Bambu commission builds on a relationship, with Netflix having acquiring both “Gran Hotel” and “Velvet.” It is also marks further recognition for a group of TV creatives from Galicia, North-West Spain, which broke through mid-last decade with Sedes directing the Campos-created 2006 drama “Life Ahead,” about fishermen’s widows.

Influenced by the U.S. mid-last-decade drama boom, and moving to Madrid where Fernandez Valdes and Campos launched Bambu Producciones in 2007, their primetime series, though produced with free-to-air broadcasters, such as Atresmedia Group, have often pushed the envelope, bringing some neo-cable edge sense of something different to productions: 2006’s “Desaparecida,” produced by Madrid’s Ganga but created by Campos, brought a sense of serialized “Twin Peaks” intrigue to a lost-daughter thriller; “Velvet” is set in an (obviously) fictionalized Spain.

Toplining heartthrob Spanish TV stars, Bambu has produced surefire primetime TV hits in Spain, a country where local fiction has, since the launch of private networks in 1990, often blown U.S. drama out of the water.

Making series which Campos termed as melding “telenovela melodrama, a British look and an American pace,” Bambu has also, however, been at the forefront of Spain’s more recent TV revolution: its international export success.

“Gran Hotel” ran for three seasons on Atresmedia over 2011-13, punching a first season 18.5% audience share. Sold and co-produced by Beta Film, the Italian reversion aired on RAI primetime in Italy. Original has broadcast on major Gallic broadcaster M6, U.K.’s Sky Arts and, in the U.S. on VmeTV. Beta Film senior VP Christina Gockel described “Gran Hotel” as one of Beta’s “biggest sales hits and franchises of recent years.”

In a pioneering move, Bambu also teamed with Atresmedia and BBC Worldwide to produce the high-concept English-language sci-fi drama “The Refugees.”

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