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“Demokracy,” a period women’s emancipation tale plus crime thriller, has walked off with the biggest prize at Conecta Fiction Reboot, a development deal from Spanish public broadcaster TVE.

Written by Spain’s Rodrigo Martín (“Mis adorables vecinos,” “Fuera de control”) and screenwriter-producer Pedro García Ríos (“Manos de Seda,” “Lex”), “Demokracy” is set in 1979, during Spain’s transition from Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in 1975 to supposed full democracy in 1982. In it, Clara, one of Spain’s 42 first ever women police officer graduates, is assigned to a conflictive police station in Madrid, and begins to aid an undercover operation. This exposes the station to both the heroine trade and far right factions, which were eventually to launch Spain’s 1981 near-run coup d’etat. A drug trade subplot links her to two other women, one the wife of a drug dealer who suffers domestic abuse, but is unable to divorce, the other the mother of a drug addict. Clara’s battle to advance in a world of prevalent machismo anticipates a battle still being fought down to this day, Martín and García Ríos told Variety.

The TVE development prize represents a coup for Spain’s SGAE Spanish Authors Rights Collection Society, where “Demokracy” was put through eight months of development at the 7th SGAE Foundation TV Series Creation Laboratory, under the tutorship of screenwriter Alberto Macías. “Demokracy” now has a pilot written, said Martín. The development award increases the chances of RTVE putting the series into production, García Ríos added.

“The female world at a time when Spain was very machista and with a certain sense of chaos yields very strong drama and story potential,” Fernando López Puig, RTVE content director, told Variety. 

Presented as part of Conecta Fiction Reboot’s CoPro Pitching Session, serial killer thriller “Lisbon Noir” won one of the two other plaudits up for grabs for full series, scooping a best series nod from Arpa Abogados, a Pamplona-based law firm.

Another crime thriller – it remains Europe’s program genre that travels best – “Lisbon Noir” marks a potential move into premium TV production by Plural Entertainment, one of Portugal’s biggest TV groups, in a serial killer tale that mixes U.S. beats – it’s described as “‘Mindhunter’ meets ‘The Alienist’ meets ‘True Detective’” – and at least two notes of originality. The thriller is set in Lisbon, under-featured in international drama; the modern-day psychopath now terrorizing Lisbon by throwing his victims from the top of the city’s high-rise towers and tourist sites is inspired by Portugal’s first-known serial killer, Diogo Alves, whose perfectly preserved head, staring out at the world with near nonchalant calm, is preserved in Lisbon’s Faculty of Medicine. Plural Ent.’s Tiago Pires brought a replica of the head on stage to present the show on stage in Pamplona.

Otherwise, Conecta Fiction’s three other prizes were split between two short-form series and a series pitch from a member of Spain’s scriptwriters guild, Alma.

The biggest remaining plaudit, a development deal at TVE’s online platform Playz, went to the nine-part half-hour comedy-drama, “Unreal,” written by Paula Sánchez and Alberto Utrera.

A promising premise, it sees Elena, whose sister has disappeared without trace, agree to let Lucia, a nerd with a super-heroine ambitions, kidnap the main suspect to force him to confess. The gameplan soon spirals out of control.

The Acorde Award, covering the cost of creating a series’ music score, went to short-form series “In the Mood” (“Sin hora”), a six-part sci-fi comedy in which a graduation party gets stuck in time, trapping its students in a perpetual party.

Envisaged as a six one-hour series, “Madrid Apollo,” created by Fran Ventura, weighs in as a period political thriller in which bungled espionage mission at Madrid’s Nasa station ends up endangering the Apollo XI mission.

2020 Conecta Fiction Reboot Awards

TVE Development Prize, Series

“Demokracy,” (“Demokracia,” Pedro García Ríos, Rodrigo Martín Antoranz, Spain)

Playz Development Prize, Short Form Series

“Unreal,” (“Yrreal,” Paula Sánchez, Alberto Utrera. MOA Studio, Spain)

Arpa Award

“Lisbon Noir,” (Artur Ribeiro, Plural Ent., Portugal)

Alma Award 

“Madrid Apollo,” (Fran Ventura, Spain)

Acorde Award

“In the Mood,” (“Sin hora,” Efrén Tarifa, Álvaro Valmorisco Mammut, Spain)