PAMPLONA, Spain — For the third consecutive year, the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) hosted a pitching session for TV projects from the Fundación SGAE Laboratory at Spain’s Conecta Fiction co-production and networking TV event, held this year in Pamplona.
The SGAE Laboratory gives participants an opportunity to fill out their projects over a six-month tutoring process in which they are given access to industry professionals who can provide advice and share their own experiences.
The first project to pitch on Tuesday was Beatriz García Alós’ “The Factory.” Set in this Spanish city of Sagunto on Valencia’s Mediterranean coast, the period drama begins in 1966 as economic crisis reaches the blast furnaces of the area used in mining operations which fuel the local economy. It was hardly the ideal situation for Begoña, the beautiful young daughter of one of the bosses, and her lover Mario, the son of a unionized worker, but their relationship flourished nonetheless.
Fast forward 17 years and things have only gotten worse. The wealthy managers and labor union leaders must come to an agreement to save the factory, and by extension the town, as Begoña and Mario reignite something long-lain dormant, she now a successful businesswoman and he a would-be engineer never allowed to reach his potential.
The series proposes a classical Romeo and Juliet storyline laid atop a social issue protest narrative the likes of which Spain has been lacking for some time now.
“La Loba Dance Club” from Mallorquín journalist and writer Emilio López Verdú was the second SGAE project pitched on Tuesday. Set in the Balearic Island party capital of Magaluf, the series is an organized crime drama meant to show a side of the tourist haven few outsiders know exists. López pointed to series like “The Sopranos” and especially Italy’s “Gomorrah” as major influences.
Lola Barrios, the larger-than-life founder and iron-fisted leader of the “La Loba Dance Club” and a slew of other businesses which spawned from it, has built her empire from nothing, using any means necessary along the way. Having achieved wealth far beyond any level she could have imagined, her only remaining desire in her twilight years is to give her family name status. The quest to that end proves the beginning of the end for the overly ambitious matriarch and the walls start to crumble around her.
In total, 18 potential series pitched as part of three competitions on Tuesday, and Pepe Macías and Carla Guimaraes impressed as much as anyone with their literally-named fantasy series proposal, “Why Did Men Disappear?” Pitched as a mocumentary in the style of “The Office” or “Parks and Rec,” the series looks to explain a world why 98% of all men have slowly but surely disappeared.
A host of distinct characters were introduced including: The scientist in charge of maintaining earth’s population; the scorned wife who’s husband was the first to disappear 30 years ago when he went for cigarettes and never came back; and the series’ main character Soledad, a common Spanish name that literally means Loneliness in English.
A woman sure that her failure to ever secure a second date is the fault of whatever has caused the men to disappear, Soledad decides to kidnap one of the planet’s last remaining men. The series’ writers had the pitch crowd laughing from start to finish, when Guimaraes boasted that should Macías joins the 98% of disappeared men, she will be thrilled to keep all the royalties generated by the sure-to-be-a-hit show.