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Netflix Orders Fifth Original Series From Spain: ‘Hache’

“Money Heist,” the streaming giant’s most watched non-English-language original thus far, has solidified Spain as a powerful production ally

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain — Continuing its push to produce local content in Spain, Netflix has announced the commission of new original series “Hache,” created and written by “Velvet Collection” scribe Verónica Fernández.

Her 2001 feature “El Bola” earned the writer a Spanish Academy Goya nomination for best original screenplay.

The series’ eight hour-long episodes are based on real events surrounding Helena, a woman at the heart of 1960s heroin trafficking in Barcelona. Helena will be played by Goya-nominated actress Adriana Ugarte (“The Time Between,” “Julieta”), joined on screen by Javier Rey, who this year took home the best actor award at Malaga Film Festival for his performance in “Sin Fin.”

The series is scheduled for release in more than 190 territories in 2019.

Since first launching in Spain in 2015, Netflix has embraced local content production. “Hache” will be the VOD platform’s fifth original Spanish fiction series production. The first, “Cable Girls,” launched in April of 2016. Since then “Elite,” “Paquita Salas” and the next season of “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) have all joined their Spanish originals slate. Announcing its first quarter results in April, Netflix confirmed that its first. two-part season, produced by Atresmedia and Vancouver Media, and acquired by Netflix, had become its most-watched non English-language show,

A new Spanish outfit, Weekend Studio, founded by veteran film and TV producer Tomás Cimadevilla and director Jorge Iglesias, will produce.

“We are very proud that our first project is an original series of Netflix,” producers Cimadevilla and Jorge Iglesias said in a statement.

“Our vocation as a company is global and with Netflix that objective is assured. We hope that this is the first stage of a long and fruitful collaboration.

“The world that Tomás and Jorge have created is unique, fresh and attractive for everyone,” said Erik Barmack, vice president of international originals at Netflix, via a statement. “We are ready to add ‘Hache’  to our growing list of Spanish-language series for a global audience.”

Cimadevilla saw large success last decade as a producer of upscale relationship comedy movies, such as “The Other Side of the Bed,” set in modern-day Spain. Launched by Cimadevilla and Iglesias in 2017, Weekend Studio is an entirely different proposition, aiming to create upscale scripted drama for the digital space which consolidate screenwriters as show runners. The series will run a large gamut of genres, Cimadevilla told Spanish news site Audiovisual 451 in March.

Cimadevilla and Iglesias will present Weekend Studio at this week’s Conecta Fiction.

With rumors that Netflix has placed an order for a new series with Bambu Productions, producers of “Cable Girls,” and Netflix doc series “El crimen de Alcàsser,” the large question is whether the U.S. streaming giant will soon have built a Spanish drama series portfolio which can rival Movistar +, Spain’s biggest pay TV platform, in not only the quality of such series but also their production volume.

Owned by telecom Telefonica, Movistar+ looks set to release 11-12 Movistar original series in 2018.

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