MADRID — Marta Hazas, who has leapt to fame as the absolute lead of “Velvet Collection” – Movistar + first original series which it sold to Netflix – will now star opposite series creator Javier Veiga in “Pequeñas Coincidencias,” a more unusual romantic comedy which marks several new milestones in Spain’s fast evolving high-end production industry.
Produced by Atresmedia Studios, Onza Entertainment and MedioLimón, “Pequeñas Coincidencias” (“Little Coincidences”) is Amazon Prime Video’s first fiction series in Spain. Amazon Prime Video has rights to Spain and Latin America. Otherwise, Onza will sell the world, with Onza’s Gonzalo Sagardia bringing one of the highest-profile of new productions from Spain onto the market at Mipcom.
Onza is in discussions for a U.S. sale on “Pequeñas coincidencias,” Sagardia said.
Spanish free-to-air rights are held by broadcast network Atresmedia, Atresmedia Studios’ parent company.
In a Spanish TV industry whose main challenge, at least for independent producers, has been to retain any rights at all to their productions, “Pequeñas Coincidencias” also takes another bold step forward.
“The big difference is that it’s the first project produced in Spain with no broadcaster behind it as a producer and owner of rights,” said Nacho Manubens, Chief Content Officer, Atresmedia Studios.
He went on: “Normally when Atresmedia buys a show it acquires the IP. Here, Atresmedia Studios, with Onza and MedioLimón, have sold the Spanish free-to-air rights to Atresmedia.”
“Multi-window formula offers a great interest, allowing to have high quality content with lower investments from TV operators and a subsequent exploitation possibilities for producers,” said Sagardia, who’s replicating the same business model in the project about Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, teaming with Mexico’s Dopamine.
“Pequeñas coincidencias” also marks the second production announced at Atresmedia Studios, a production company launched by Atresmedia in December to produce series for third party digital platforms or pay TV operators, taking advantage of Atresmedia’s internationally recognized scripted drama production brand.
“The Series Atresmedia brand is established. ‘La casa de papel’ has helped us a lot to position ourselves worldwide. Atresmedia Studios is the result of the vision that executives like Javier Bardají, Carlos Fernández and Sonia Martínez had 10 years ago,” Manubens said.
Here Atresmedia Studios allies with Jose Maria’s Irisarri’s Onza Entertainment, a driving force behind one of Spain’s biggest international TV hits, pubcaster RTVE’s “The Department of Time,” which Onza co-produced and partially handled with regard to sales – reaching pioneering deals such as a deal on Chinese redo rights.
That fact has large consequences for “Pequeñas coincidencias” itself. Described by Onza Ent, as a “atypical and playful” romantic comedy, “Pequeñas Coincidencias” turns on a perfect couple who have never met. Commitment averse Marta, 37, has just opened her fashion store, and jettisons her boyfriends every five years. Javier, 40, a successful food critics, dedicates himself to a blow-out bachelor existence in body and soul.
The suddenly both sense their biological clocks ticking.
“It’s not a niche romantic comedy but one with a very personal touch and notwithstanding aspirations of reaching a large audience,” Manubens commented.
“In Spain we’re good at comedy which has a bit more dramatic development. Here the characters aren’t so much sitcom style: Every one has their personal arc.”
“It is an original product: there are many romantic comedy movies, but romantic comedy TV series is a rather unusual genre,” Sagardia said.
From Ramon Campos’ first drama series in Madrid, “Desaparecida,” Spanish productions have also increasingly pushed the envelope on free-to-air productions with a cable TV edge from Campos and Teresa Fernández Valdes’ “Velvet” and now “Fariña” to Alex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato’s “Vis-a-Vis” and “La Casa de Papel.” All of these series have been produced with Atresmedia.
“Pequeñas coincidencias” can also be seen to be in this middle ground. As Javier and Marta’s biological clocks switch on, he suffers apparitions of an eight-year-old girl and, in Marta’s case, a boy of the similar age: Their potential children to be.
Hazas and Veiga are joined by a large ensemble of supporting actors, often very well-known to Spanish viewers, such as Juan Ibañez (“El Hormiguero”), Mariano Peña (“Aida”), Alicia Rubio (“Tiempos de guerra”) and Unax Ugalde (“Vivir sin permiso”). Spanish guest stars in the series take in Loles León (“La que se avecina”), Kira Miró (“Los abrazos rotos”), Fele Martínez (“Estoy vivo”) and Ana Risueño (“Cuéntame cómo pasó”).