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Mipcom: France’s TF1 Swoops on Alex Pina’s Movistar + Original ‘The Pier’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Deal with one of the biggest commercial networks in Europe marks first major territory sale on awaited follow-up to ‘La Casa de Papel’

CANNES — In one of the biggest deals to go on a major Mipcom title, involving some of Europe’s largest TV players, France’s TF1 has acquired Alex Pina’s Movistar + Original “The Pier,” sold by Beta Film, and produced with Atresmedia Studios.

Numerous additional deals are already in negotiation, Beta Film revealed Saturday.

Also produced by Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato’s Vancouver Media, “The Pier” marks the showrunner duo’s follow-up to “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”), declared by Netflix this April to be its most watched non English-language series ever.

Alvaro Monte, the Professor in “La Casa de Papel” plays the male lead. Capturing a near futuristic Valencia, and the nearby Albufera National Park, an expanse of marshland and rice paddy fields where time seems to move at another race, Pina has commented, the cinematography looks stunning.

In other ways, this is a departure, a sensual romantic thriller in which an accomplished architect (Verónica Sánchez, “Morocco”) is confronted with the alleged suicide of her husband. Investigating on her own, she discovers the secret double-life he had led with another woman (Irene Arcos, “Vis-a-Vis”) and also her own unsuspected new depths and desires.

The main cast, co-director Jesús Colmenar (“La Casa de Papel”) and the producers will be present when “The Pier” celebrates its red carpet world premiere at Mipcom on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes.

The fact that the first big deal on ‘The Pier’ has gone down on with one if Europe’s biggest free-to-air broadcast networks says a lot about TF1, the state of French TV and the huge caché in France of Pina and Martínez Lobato.

Confronted by competition from OTT platforms, France’s major players are investing big time in event series, both acquisitions and own productions.

“As a leading channel, TF1’s role is to create events and to work with the best talents and partners. ‘The Pier’ and the work of Alex Pina meet our requirements,” said Fabrice Bailly, head of program and acquisitions, TF1 Group, who added: “After the excellent performances of ‘Good Doctor’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on our channels this year, we are sure that ‘The Pier’ will add to our success.”

“We are thrilled to welcome TF1 as the first broadcasting partner on this unique and innovative show, which clearly distinguishes itself within the general market,” commented Jérôme Vincendon, Beta’s VP international sales.

“The fascinating storytelling of Álex Pina and Esther Martínez makes ‘The Pier’ a must-see for a broad prime-time audience.”

Known as “La Casa de Papel” rather than its English-language title, “Money Heist,” Pina and Martínez’s stylish, innovative and morally ambiguous money mint robbery thriller was a huge hit in France. In its take on modern sexual relations, “The Pier” is likely to maintain their envelope-pushing on traditional morality.

In “Vis-a-Vis” and “La Casa de Papel,” both originally produced for free-to-air Atresmedia, Pina and Martínez brought a cable edge to originally free-to-air thrillers. “The Pier” is a woman’s drama, Martinez has said, where “women behave as women.”

Pay TV/VOD platform Movistar + has called “The Pier” “free-to-air premium” fiction.

“‘The Pier’ has already been met with overriding interest internationally,” said Christian Gockel, Beta Film EVP international operations.

“In this specific case, however, we believe that despite its origin as a platform series, ‘The Pier’ has the potential to capture and fascinate virtually all traditional female prime-time audiences of large-scale European and international channels, slots traditionally filled with pricey local productions.”

“The Pier” is co-directed by Jorge Dorado (“Gigantes”) and Alex Rodrigo (“La Casa de Papel”). Beta Film, which also distributes the Movistar+/Telefonica series “La Zona” and “Velvet Collection,” handles all international rights.

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