Los Angeles and Mexico City-based studio Exile Content has teamed up with Spanish journo Ana Pastor’s media company Newtral to produce long-form unscripted premium content in Spanish and English. The joint venture’s first project is a documentary series about the genesis of the first-ever women’s soccer team at Real Madrid, Spain’s most renowned soccer team and winner of the FIFA World Cup a record-breaking four times.
Spurred by the growing interest in women’s soccer — especially after the 2019 Women’s World Cup triumph of the U.S. soccer team led by Megan Rapinoe and in Spain, where Spanish female soccer teams at rivals Atletico Madrid and Barca played to a record-busting crowd of 60,000 — Real Madrid opted to absorb Club Deportivo Tacon, a small neighborhood women’s soccer club in Madrid.
The docuseries, co-directed by Pastor and Alfonso Cortes-Cavanillas, has been chronicling, since September, the trials and tribulations of the small rural soccer club as it transforms into an elite team. “The culture clash between a small women’s team as it joins a world class soccer club like Real Madrid is what will make it a fascinating series,” said Daniel Eilemberg, Exile’s president of content. “Although Spanish in nature, we think this series will resonate worldwide. It’s a good sample of what we want to create with Newtral.”
Tentatively titled “Un Sueño Real” (“A Real Dream”), the series will delve into some of the players’ life stories, some of whom are only 18 or 19 years old, said Pastor, whose two-year-old media startup has produced such premium content as “The Objective of Ana Pastor,” “Franco, the Last Chapter” and “Narcos del Estrecho.” Newtral’s team of journalists and engineers also excel in data journalism and fact-checking (similar to snopes.com) in Spain.
“It is a great opportunity for a young company like Newtral to show our team’s talent in searching for stories that originate in Spain, but are of great international impact,” said Pastor.
She added: “We are taking this step with Exile as part of Newtral’s strategy aimed at developing new narratives and expanding our work to new content platforms that overcome barriers and transcend borders; that is a priority for us.”
“We are currently developing two other projects with Exile, which like this docu-series, combines reality with current events,” she told Variety.
“Newtral has the pulse on the most important and interesting stories for the audience in Spain, which should not surprise anyone given the quality of Ana Pastor as a journalist,” said Alejandro Uribe, CEO of Exile, which, earlier in January, forged an agreement with Spanish publishing house Planeta and Spanish author Elvira Lindo to produce a Spanish-language TV series based on Lindo’s most famous comic novel character, Manolito Gafotas.
In recent years, Spain has become a top-rated production hub for premium TV content thanks to several critically acclaimed fiction series that have been massive hits around the world, led by “Money Heist” and “Elite” on Netflix. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) reports that Spain produced 38 scripted series in 2015, which grew to 58 in 2018, an estimated GDP contribution of 655 million euros ($726 million). PwC foresees Spain producing up to 72 series a year, an estimated GDP contribution of 812 million Euros ($900 million).
Isaac Lee, former chief content officer of Univision and Televisa, along with partners Eilemberg, Tere Pérez, Uribe and Julia Saenz, launched Exile at the end of 2018 with a focus on developing, packaging and producing premium, long-form content for the global market. It formed a partnership with Endeavor Content last year to finance, develop and produce Spanish-language scripted television projects as well as to create a fund to acquire IP and pursue development deals with high-profile and emerging talent across Latin America and Spain.