BERLIN — Barbara Lennie and Eduard Fernandez, two of the most admired actors of their generation in Spain, are attached to star in “Nada,” the first drama series from Aquí y Alli Films, one of Spain’s most successful young production houses.
Founded by Pedro Hernández in 2010, Aqui y Allí’s movie credits include 2012 Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prix winner “Aqui y Allá,” 2014 San Sebastian Golden Shell winner “Magical Girl” and “Life and Nothing More,” included by Variety’s Peter Debruge in his 10 best films of 2018.
Created and written by Argentine Nicolás Britos, whose web series, “Limbo,” opened last year’s Conecta Fiction, “Nada” will be directed by Jorge Dorado, director of episodes of celebrated Spanish time travel series “The Department of Time,” San Sebastian hit “Gigantes” and “The Pier,” created by “La casa de papel’s” Alex Pina.
Spain’s Luis Bermejo (“Magical Girl,” “Your Son”) is also attached to co-star in “Nada.”
“Nada” was unveiled as a project at the FilmMarket Hub’s Madrid TV Pitchbox in December.
The series begins, at least in chronological terms, with a death – the protagonist’s – when Nada, aged eight, fell through the ice of a frozen local lake, remaining under the water for twelve minutes, since her father didn’t even notice she’d gone missing.
Rescued, she survives, but a once brilliant little girl suffers brain damage, and is forced to use her mobile phone as a second memory.
There are noirish tints in the crimes of “Nada,” which broaden the story’s vistas, add a political edge to the drama. But its achievement is to place a human story at its heart: a woman’s journey back towards life.
Also written by Britos, “Nada” is the story of a one woman’s attempt at rebirth as Nada travels from Madrid back to her home village in Tierra de Fuego, when her father, a world-famous and egocentric crime writer has disappeared.
“Although she’s a fully grown up person by biological standards, Nada wasn’t allowed to grow up as a person, as a human being,” Britos told Variety. “One could say that she actually died under the lake, or that her soul was frozen,” he added.
Returning 30 years after her accident, Nada is forced to confront the figure of her father, and stumbles on her village’s sinister secrets. “In that journey, she’ll have to learn to move on and be her own woman,” said Britos.
But her investigations take her back to the lake and threaten her suffering a second, more permanent, death there.
Aquí y Allí’s criteria is creating narrative universes and Jorge Dorado’s know-how ensure an “extraordinary” aesthetic world, Britos said. “All the elements are there: the landscapes of Tierra del Fuego, the aridity of the small town on the island, the barren islets that almost no one can access, even the music, considering that Nada is a violinist.”
Adding the transmedia possibilities of a protagonist who is forced to constantly use her mobile phone, the result is “an exciting and original production design, something that hasn’t being seen before.”
Though acting since the age of 15, debuting in “Mas pena que Gloria,” Lennie really broke out playing a housewife suffering deep inner turmoil and a disturbing way of making money in “Magical Girl,” which won her a Spanish Academy best actress Goya. An actor who is always reliably nuanced in performance, from 2000, Fernandez has snagged a remarkable 10 Goya nominations and two wins, as well as a best actor award at San Sebastián for Alberto Rodríguez’s “Smoke and Mirrors.”
“Nada” has written a first episode screenplay, a map of the first season plot, and a concept for a second season, said Aqúi y Allí’s Hernández.