One of the most anticipated of Spanish TV fiction titles for 2021, Movistar Plus’ Original Series “Antidisturbios” (“Riot Police”), the first full TV series created by filmmaker Rodrigo Sorogoyen (“The Realm,” “Mother”), was the subject of an international presentation on Tuesday at Conecta Fiction Reboot.
Part of the 4th Latin America-Europe TV co-production meeting, running June 15-18 in Pamplona, Spain, the event has been forced online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. An on-site edition is scheduled to return to Pamplona’s Baluarte Congress Center over Sept. 2-3.
Suggesting a strategic aim of strengthening its position not only as a global producer but also as a distributor of at least its key original TV dramas, Telefonica’s Movistar Plus is for the moment directly handling international sales on Sorogoyen’s “Riot Police,” the action thriller mini-series produced for Movistar by Sorogoyen’s Caballo Films and The Lab.
Previous Movistar Plus Original Series have been handled by some of Europe’s foremost TV sales companies such as Germany’s Beta Film (“Velvet Collection”), U.K.-based Sky Vision (“The Plague”), and About Premium Content in France (“Giants”).
“We are focusing on getting it right with ‘Riot Police,’ hoping the series will please and be very successful on its international sales journey,” Nicolás Lecocq, senior manager International Sales at Movistar Plus, told Variety.
Currently, ”Riot Police” is available for all territories except Spain and Andorra, Lecocq added.
The thriller series, with a social edge, propulsive action scenes and character studies, was one of the highlights of Tuesday sessions at Conecta Fiction Reboot.
The series presentation to buyers, which included a Q&A, was led by Domingo Corral, head of original programming at Movistar Plus, accompanied by series co-creator, co-writer and director Sorogoyen and Sofía Fábregas, The Lab executive producer.
“Riot Police” explores the lives of six members of Furgón 93, part of Spain’s Police Intervention Unit, its National Police Corps riot police, who execute a highly complicated eviction in the heart of a Senegalese community in Madrid. When that goes tragically awry, an Internal Affairs team is charged with investigating the events.
Laia, the only woman on that team, becomes obsessed with the case and ends up discovering that something much larger lies behind the failed eviction.
“Riot Police” marks Sorogoyen’s first show as a showrunner. The origin of the series, he said, is in 2016’s feature “May God Save Us,” in which explored the world of two troubled detectives, then that of a hauntingly brutal killer. There, the character of Javier Alfaro -played by Roberto Álamo- was originally conceived as a member of a riot police unit.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the figure riot police strike in society. Here, we’re interested in the human being who returns home to his family having been in hugely violent situations, the human drama of these people,” Sorogoyen said.
He also explained how the camera work contributes to bring large tension and truth to the series. “Shooting a street riot, Ep. 1 is filmed in-your-face style allowing us to be very close to the actors, and gives you the sensation of being with them into the scene. We wanted to see what went down there, what the riot sees.”
“As the episodes go by, we changed optics, using wider lenses, taking the camera away from the characters,” he added.
Asked about what Riot Police” will say about the current debate generated by police force used in evictions, Sorogoyen said: “Time will tell. I think we have made a tremendously realistic series without judging people, trying to show in a rigorous and accurate way how difficult reality is.”