Beta Film Acquires Movistar + Original ‘Arde Madrid’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paco León’s Ava Gardner comedy has just been selected for the Berlinale’s Drama Series Days Market Screenings


MIAMI —  Jan Motjo’s Beta Film has acquired worldwide sales rights to one of the most singular of Spanish comedy series released last year, Paco Leon’s “Arde Madrid,” a Movistar Original.

Beta Film made the announcement just after “Arde Madrid” was confirmed as one of the series at the 2019 Berlinale Drama Series Days Market Screenings.

Movistar’s most binged series ever, Telefonica’s pay TV unit announced after the six-part series’ commercial release in November, “Arde Madrid” is written by León and Anna R. Costa. It turns on Ana Mari, a right-wing governess sourpuss who begins the series instructing a class of young wives. “If your husband beats you,” she tells a packed hall, “it’s because you’re doing something wrong.”

Ana Mari is dispatched to the household of Ava Gardner to spy on her. The clash and gradual confluence of Gardner, Ana Mari and the other domestic staff, the cocky petty criminal chauffeur Manolo (played by Leon himself) and maid Pilar, all from Spain’s working classes, allows “Arde Madrid” to describe the Spain of its time, Rodríguez said at September’s San Sebastian Festival where the series world premiered.

A comedy thriller, said Costa, “Arde Madrid” yokes Spain’s grand movie tradition of caustic comic neorealism – think Rafael Azcona and Luis Berlanga – and a modern feminist filter.

Gardner celebrates the happiness of living, León has commented, noting that she “helps Ana Mari change from an emotional and sexual illiterate to a woman with a desire to discover everything.”

“‘Arde Madrid’ diverges from the norm. It is black and white series but high-end, with scenes of elaborate cinematography. It’s highly exceptional,” added Christian Gockel, Beta Film EVP international operations, who also observed that “Arde Madrid” also lifts the lid on Spain’s Dolce Vita, unknown to many Spaniards, let alone foreigners.

The series suggests, moreover, what an extraordinary person Ava Gardner was, someone who is still ahead of modern times, might have failed at marriage but was determined at least to live out her sexuality. Costa and León are now preparing Season 2.

“Arde Madrid” recently won best comedy at Spain’s Feroz Awards, the country’s Golden Globes.

At Berlin, “Arde Madrid” will also be featured in a showcase of recent Spanish series on Monday, Feb. 11, which unspools parallel to the Drama Series Days.

Beta Films has already handled world sales outside Latin America on Movistar +’s murder mystery thriller “La Zona,” “Velvet Collection” and “The Pier.”

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