Confirming the large interest of Europe’s foremost TV sales houses in handling original series produced by Telefonica’s Movistar+, ITV Studios Global Ent. has acquired international distribution rights to Cesc Gay’s drama “Felix.”
Starring Argentina’s Leonardo Sbaraglia, “Felix” forms part of Movistar+’s ambitious original production plans, which sees an annual investment of €70 million ($83 million) in TV fiction productions.
This bet is allowing Movistar+, Spain’s leading paybox, to launch its first four original series -“The Zone,” “The Plague,” “Velvet Collection” and “Vergüenza”- by 2017, and release some 10 further new titles by the end of next year.
“Felix” is an instance of close creative collaboration between audience-friendly auteur Gay (“Truman,” “Krampack,” “In the City”) and thesp Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”).
An eight-episode romantic thriller with doses of humor and mystery, “Felix” filmed on location in Andorra, Madrid and Barcelona for 19 weeks, enough time for a director and an actor “to construct a role and interpretation, as in cinema,” in Gay’s words.
Taking place over ten days, where nothing is what it seems and where everything becomes possible, the series follows Felix (Sbaraglia), a man searching for Julia, the possible love of his life, who embarks on a journey where he will make discoveries beyond his imagination. He will risk everything, coming face to face with some of the country’s most dangerous criminals, and find out whether he is ready to face the truth of Julia’s disappearance.
The series will be available by 2018 via Movistar +’s TV service in Spain. Movistar+ has previously clinched international distribution deals on a clutch of premium TV productions with key sales companies such as Sky Vision, which handles Alberto Rodríguez’s “The Plague;” Jan Mojto’s Beta Film, seller of both Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo’s “La Zona” and Bambú Producciones’ “Velvet Collection,” and with Paris-based About Premium Content, for Enrique Urbizu’s “Gigantes.”
“At Movistar+ we are concerned about producing high-end local content combining innovative narratives and best-in-class production values, so that the content becomes international,” said Ismael Calleja, Movistar+ head of business affairs, series & movies original programming.
He added: “This approach requires us to work with the best partners, such as ITVS GE, and we are really proud to welcome them to our distributors network.”
“Our continued aim is to be a truly global distributor with an increasingly international portfolio, and this is another example of how we are implementing our strategy. We are delighted to be working with Movistar and excited that ‘Felix’ is now part of our diverse drama catalogue,” said Julie Meldal-Johnsen, director of Global Content at ITVS GE.