Paris and Los Angeles-based Federation Entertainment has acquired the TV format and remake rights to Alejandro Amenábar’s debut feature, “Thesis.” It’s a prime example of the value of key older movie titles from standout younger foreign-language auteurs.
Producer of “The Bureau,” “Marseille,” “Bad Banks” and “Hostages,” Federation Entertainment will produce a drama series based on the film along with Raphaël Rocher at Empreinte Digitale, a company with a strong line in genre and sci-fi which produced “Missions,” a TV Critics Award winner at the 2017 MipDrama Screenings.
Federation Entertainment’s Lionel Uzan is understood to have clinched the remake rights in a competitive bidding situation from Guido Rud’s FilmSharks-owned the Remake Co. and Enrique Cerezo’s Video Mercury.
The move opens up a whole new front for rights-holders to exploit the commercial and artistic value of past movies. Further movie-to-series deals in the Spanish-speaking world look set to be announced in the coming months.
Amenábar’s debut feature, “Thesis” has three elements that make it ripe for drama series adaptation: Sustained thriller tension as Ángela, writing a thesis about violence, stumbles onto a snuff video where a girl — who is a former student at her university — is tortured to death; complex characters, such as Angela’s prime suspect, played by Eduardo Noriega; a specific setting, here a university campus, capable of exploration in a longer format.
Written as well as directed by Amenábar, “Thesis” swept the 2002 Spanish Academy Awards, winning picture, director and original screenplay and making an instant star of the then-29-year-old filmmaker.
Cerezo, who has produced movies with Alex De La Iglesia, Penelope Cruz, Jose Luis Cuerda, Peter Weller and Maribel Verdu, will executive produce.
Latin America’s best-known movie sales agent, who has moved increasingly into production, Rud will also serve as an executive producer on the reversion. His recent producer credits include top Korean remake “All About My Wife” and “Padre No Hay Más Que Uno,” also an overseas remake of an Argentine original. “Padre” proved the highest-grossing local film in Spain last year for director, co-writer and producer Santiago Segura.