PAMPLONA. Spain — Chile’s “The Cliff,” Argentina’s “In Search of Spring” and Spain’s “The Yellow Bird” feature in a 10-title lineup of drama series projects at the 3rd Pitch CoPro Series, the industry centerpiece of Conecta Fiction, the world’s foremost Europe-Latin American TV co-production and networking forum.
“Strong on genre and historical dramas,” observed Conecta Fiction director Geraldine Gonard of this year’s CoPro Series, the lineup shows its project creators plumbing Spanish and Latin America history via bio series (“Dolores”) and crime (“Lost Toys”) and action (”Spring”) thrillers, suspense drama (“The Saddest Gaol”), and an adventure format (“The Yellow Bird”).
Two series projects are sci-fi (“2050,” “Fountain Mothers”), another horror (Dutch series “Greed”) as fantasy genre thrillers grounded or not in social realities, demonstrate a ready appeal both in linear TV and most especially for streaming platforms.
Nearly a third of the projects come from Chile, a sign of the country’s build as a TV production power.
Crime thriller “The Cliff” (“El Acantilado” ) is a case in point, the first drama series from Mediapro Chile a potentially key production-distribution force,”The Cliff” stars Benjamín Vicuña (“Locked Up”) and Mariana de Girolamo (“Ema”) in the redemption drama. It turns on a 50-year-old bus driver who, after a tragic accident, tries to save lives, talking people about of suicide at a cliff. But the deaths there, he discovers, are not always what they seem.
Following up on Netflix pick-up “Bala Loca,” Filmo Estudios’ crime drama-thriller “The Frontier,” show-run by David Miranda Hardy, delivers a noir-ish take on the conflict between indigenous communities and government in Chile’s deep South.
Produced by Macarena Lopez’s Manufactura de Peliculas (“Rara”), a third Chilean project, “The Saddest Goal,” represents a four-part miniseries version of the feature starring Luis Gnecco and Alfredo Castro, inspired by Chile’s two-leg qualifier for the 1974 Word Cup. Extraordinary but true the FIFA authorized return match with the Sovietr Union was played in Chile’s National Stadium, then by used by Augusto Pinochet as a torture center.
“The Saddest Gaol” is one of five historical projects at Conecta Fiction this year. It’s also film production house Manufactura de Películas’ first series. Other titles – “In Search of Spring,” “THe Cliff,” “The Yellow Bird,” see renown filmmakers crossing over into historical fiction.
The two – the crossover, historical fiction – may be linked. As Europe and Latin America’s movie industies pile into TV, one way they can leverage their expertise in cinema is via the studied use of sets, costume, VFX and crowd scenes more common in movies and especially historical fiction than other TV.
Again, in a market where many potential broadcaster partners look for an immediate local audience impact, and international audiences crave local detail, past events satisfy both criteria, without implying a necessary loss of universal resonance.
Historical drama series also often require an ambition and scale which allows them to stand out in a crowd. This may be the case of two of the most ambitious projects at this year’s Pitch CoPro Series: “In Search of Spring.” “El pajaro amarillo.”
The first crossover into scripted drama by Buenos Aires-based Cepa Audiovisual, after 25 features, such as Julia Solomonoff’s “Nobody’s Watching,” and Darín starrer “Séptimo,” the true-facts inspired action thriller series turns on an extraordinary escapade in 1924 when Buenaventura Durruti (28) and Francisco Ascaso (23), the future leaders of Spain’s anarchist movement, are sent to America to raise money. Cold-shouldered by Latin America’s left, they end crossing Latin and North America robbing banks.
Set up at actor-producer Antonio Resines’ Madrid-based Producciones Clandestinas and billed as an adventure series, “The Yellow Bird” turns on the tenth French attempt to cross the Atlantic in airplane in just the first six months of 1929.
Written and to be directed by Anna Maria Bofarull, “Morir de Pie” is a bio series, tracing the life, womanhood and contradictions of Dolores Ibárruri, known an La Pasionaria ,sn inspired Republican troop orator during the Spanish Civil War, faithful Stalinist, and woman in the world of men.’
The latest project from Nacho Viale and Diego Palacio’s StoryLab, producers of the Netflix-acquired TV series “Estocolmo” and co-producers of Intl. Emmy nominated “La casa del mar,” “Lost Toys” jumps between two time-frames – 1936 Madrid and present-day Spain and Argentina set against the backdrop of the rise of extreme right and left-wing movements in these two historic periods. It is written by Lucas Molteni and Diego Vago, who were both co-writers on “Estocolmo.” –
As European scripted series at large, Conecta Fiction also pays witness to the rise of genre. Three of its 10 titles are “hard” genre – sci-fi or horror – many more series noir.
Of sci-fi titles, produced by Mondo TV Iberoamericana,VIP 2000 TV and Casablanca “2050” is set in a post-apocalypse dystopia where art is illegal, feelings suppressed by a mandatory chip, and literature one of the only hopes for revolution.
Created by Spain’s Fernando Cámara and Angel Ortega, and described as a “scientific thriller,” “Fountain Mothers” is set in the stunning valley of Panticosa, in the high Pyrenees, where a pregnant woman’s death appears linked to a local clinic.
Directed by Eché Janga and lead-written by Oscar van Woensel, the six-episode horror-drama “Greed” is set up at Dutch production house Lemming (“Fenix”). In it, a group of Rotterdam restaurant workers are offered all the money they could ever wish for. They soon learn why.