Netflix and Federation Spain, the Spanish division of Paris and L.A.-based Federation Entertainment, are teaming to produce “Las niñas de cristal,” a psychological drama set against the world of classical ballet that toplines “Money Heist” and “Elite” star Maria Pedraza.
The movie is one highlight in Netflix’s first announcement of a production-distribution slate focused entirely on Spanish original movies. The eight titles it profiles that are moving into production or set for release in 2021 and 2022 are a sign of Netflix ramping up its production of Spanish movies as part of its bet on Spanish scripted TV and movies, with Spain punching above its weight in the number of Netflix originals compared to Spanish subscribers. The Netflix slate highlights:
“Las niñas de cristal”
Alison Parker in “Money Heist” and Guzmán’s fated sister Marina in “Elite,” in “Las niñas de cristal” Pedraza plays Irene, a classical ballet dancer who replaces the prima ballerina at Spain’s Ballet Clásico Nacional after her predecessor’s suicide. Irene will be directed by famed real-life Spanish choreographer Antonio Ruz. The first production announcement from Federation Spain, which aims to take new talent to the next level in Spain and overseas, “Las Niñas de cristal” is produced by Federation Spain’s Nacho Manubens, Juan Solá, Toni Sevilla and Mark Albala. Directed by Jota Linares, who already helmed “Who Would You Take to a Deserted Island?” for Netflix, the new film, which went into production in Madrid on Feb. 8, turns on a theme which obsesses the director, he said: “Finding a place in the world.”
Coming in 2022,“La Bestia,” (The Beast), from David Casademunt, an former participant in the Madrid ECAM film school’s prestigious Incubator program, tells the frontier story of a family which lives isolated from the rest of society and whose peaceful lifestyle is upended by the looming presence of a terrifying creature that will put to test the ties that bind them. Produced by Rodar y Rodar, the screenplay started as an idea in 2014, but truly kicked off in 2017 when it was selected at Filmarket Hub’s Sitges Pitchbox to head to Ventana Sur where it participated in the Blood Window pitching sessions, later featuring at Toronto’s TIFF Industry: Filmmaker Lab.
“A mil kilómetros de la Navidad”
Comedy ace Álvaro Fernández Armero has teamed with Netflix on his latest feature, “A mil kilómetros de la Navidad.” Written by Francisco Arnal (“Allí abajo”) and Daniel Monedero (“Perdiendo el Este”). the film is produced by Kiko Martínez (“Orígenes Secretos”) and Nadie es Perfecto and started shooting over the 2020 Christmas holiday season across Spain. Lead actor Tamar Novas, who was announced last year, will be joined by Andrea Ros, Peter Vives, Fermí Reixach and Verónica Forqué. Scheduled to launch for the 2021 holiday season.
“Crazy About Her”
Arriving later this week, Feb. 26, “Crazy About Her” is produced by Mad About You and Saturday Movies. Directed by Dani de la Orden (“Barcelona Christmas Night”), this romantic comedy stars Adú Álvaro Cervantes (“Hanna”) as a man lucky enough to spend the night with the girl of his dreams, played by Patria Susana Abaitua (“Compulsión”), before learning that she has just escaped a mental hospital. Undeterred, the young man decides to falsify medical records and free his idyllic love, but in doing so learns that he might not really know what he wants after all.
Another 2022 title, “Xtremo,” billed as one of Spain’s first full-on action thriller movies, stars Oscar Jaenada (“Luis Miguel,” “Hernán”) and action specialist Teo García. Directed by Daniel Benmayor, “Xtremo” also marks the first production of Showrunner Films, the new production company set up by Spanish sales agent Vicente Canales and partner Julieta Videla.
Based on Elísabet Benavent’s best-selling novel “Canciones y recuerdos” (Songs and Memories), “Fuimos Canciones” stars María Valverde (“Exodus: Gods and Kings”) as Maca, a 30-year-old woman doing her best to find happiness in the world, but unfulfilled in her career working for a Miranda Priestly-like boss in the fashion industry. Just as she starts finding her way, her ex-boyfriend Leo, played by Alex González (“X-Men: First Class”), reappears, opening old wounds. Goya nominee Juana Macías (“Planes para mañana”) heads the project, written by Laura Sarmiento. Longtime Netflix contributors Zeta Studios (“Élite”) produce.
Coming in 2022, “Centauro” is billed as an adrenaline-pumping thriller from director Daniel Calparsoro (“Sky High”), based on the 2017 French-Belgian film “Burn Out.” The Spanish version will star Àlex Monner (“Polseres Vermelles”), Begoña Vargas (“Alta Mar”) and Carlos Bardem (“Cell 211”).
“Amor de Madre”
“Amore de Madre,” also slotted for 2022, is the latest comedy from director Paco Caballero (“Perdiendo el Este”) which stars Carmen Machi (“Criminal”) and Quim Gutiérrez (“Advantages of Travelling by Train”) as a mother and son who share the young man’s honeymoon after he is left at the altar. Morena films and Lab Cinema produce with Netflix.
Made on Feb. 24, the Netflix slate announcement comes as more Spanish movies are demonstrating a break-out appeal in international mirroring that of Spain’s famed TV series, tapping into a new generation of cineastes who draw on Spain’s rich tradition of social issue genre movies.
Socially resonant sci-fi horror movie Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s “The Platform” (“El Hoyo”), bowed on Netflix in March 2020 to become for some days the most-watched movie on Netflix in the U.S.
Netflix’s new Spanish movie slate comes less than a month after the release of “Below Zero.” Produced by Morena Films and marking the second movie from Spain’s Lluis Quílez, the jail break come revenge thriller bowed on Netflix on Jan. 29 to become its No. 1 most watched movie in 55 countries according to independent website FlixList.
Netflix is producing more upcoming originals in Spain than any other country outside the U.S., apart from the U.K. and Japan, according to London-based Ampere Analysis.