‘Next from Spain’: First Look New Series from Alex de la Iglesia, ‘Los Javis,’ Movistar+ and Aina Clotet

This Is Not Sweden
Credit: Kiku Pinol

This year’s Berlinale Series Market kicks off Monday as Spanish series “The Snow Girl,” a missing girl suspense thriller produced by Spain’s Atípica Films, has attracted huge heat for Netflix, punching 101.7 million hours watched in its first three weeks. Doing so, it ranked as the streamer’s No. 1 non-English show in the world over Jan. 30 – Feb. 5. 

In all, Spain has more shows and movies in Netflix’s all time non-English Top 10s than any other country in the world, seven to France’s two, for example. 

Spain, it could be argued, has cracked online. But its drama series industry wants to ring more options. 

As scripted commissions look to have dropped from second half 2022 in not only the U.S. but also Europe and Latin America, an energetic posse of Spanish producers and stars are rolling into Berlin to present new productions. These look set to explore an alternative business model which is building fast: International co-production, joint IP ownership and often territory-by-territory sales. 

This model looks will no doubt be broken down by a Monday morning showcase panel at Next from Spain, a three-day spread of presentations running Feb. 20-22, organised by Spain’s ICEX, its export and inward investment board, and Iberseries & Platino Industria, the annual TV forum.  

Speakers at the Feb. 20 panel, “Spanish Fiction Contents: New Releases & Financial Opportunities,” take in famed multi-hyphenate Álex de la Iglesia, actor-producer Carolina Bang, and producer Mike Hostench, all at Pokeepsie Films–Banijay Iberia. Further panelists are Gustavo Ferrada and Winnie Baert at Spain’s Mediacrest and Mónica Carretero, at Spanish financing org CreaSGR.

Alex De la Iglesia and Carolina Bang Credit: Juan Naharro Gimenez

Over Feb. 20-22, four series, in production or near completion or release in Spain, will be pitched to buyers, courting territory-by-territory sales.

A breakdown of the titles:

“Headless Chickens”

Produced for HBO Max by Alex de la Iglesia and Carolina Bang at Pokeepsie Films, now a Banijay Iberia company, and a mark of the outfit’s broadening out from its hallmark comedy horror basis, here in a soccer world dramedy. Hugo Silva, (“Nasdrovia,” “Witching and Bitching”) plays a soccer agent and ex-player and ex-alcoholic, who just as he thinks he getting it together, loses his girlfriend-mainstay (Dafne Fernández) and his big soccer star.  Created by Pablo Tébar (“Plastic Sea”) and Jorge Valdano Saénz (“Messi”) from an original idea by Bang. The series frames “a struggle between maturity and ambition, triumph and happiness, which don’t necessarily go together,” says Tébar. De la Iglesia and Bang and Banijay Iberia’s Rodrigo Ruiz-Gallrdon present at Berlin.     

“Rapa,” Season 2

Created by Pepe Coira and Fran Araújo, also behind “Hierro,” and shot in high style, as “Hierro,” by Jorge Coira, reuniting two “Hierro” production partners, Spanish pay TV/SVOD platform Movistar+ and crossover TV producer Portocabo. A crime drama, which moves in its second season from stunning rural Galicia to its port town Ferrol, confronting the sub-genre’s conventions with far more complex, darker and nuanced realities. “I love the poetry, the ability to use conventions of the genre to be able to enter and portray very different realities,” Pepe Coira has said. Stars Javier Cámara and Mónica López will talk an audience through the series seasons 1 and 2, accompanied by exec producer Susana Herreras at Movistar+ and Portocabo’s Nina Hernández. 

Rapa S2 Courtesy of Movistar +

“This is Not Sweden”

Created by Aina Clotet and Sergi Camerón and produced by Funicular Films and Nanouk Films in a pioneering co-production with Anagram Sweden for RTVE, Scandinavia public broadcasters SVT and YLE and Germany’s NDR. A dark dramedy tensed by suspense, says Clotet, Now shooting, it sees a Spanish couple moving into a swish neighbourhood in the Barcelona hills to ensure the best upbringing for their children. But tragedy strikes nearby, rocking the couple. “You try to give the best of yourself to your children. But there are no guarantees of success. The series explores that fear,” Clotet tells Variety. Funicular’s Marc Clotet and Marta Baldó, Camerón and RTVE’s Alberto Fernández present on Feb. 22, joined by Anagram Sweden’s Gunnar Carlsson, YLE’s Jarmo Lampela and NDR’s Sabine Holtgreve.  

“Vestidas de Azul”

An Atresplayer Premium Original and one of the first series out of the gate at Suma Content, the production house set up in 2021 by Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo, creators of global hit “Veneno.” A continuation of “Veneno,” set two years later, directed by one of its directors, Mikel Rueda, and its writers Claudia Costafreda (“Cardo”) and Ian de la Rosa (“”The Invisible Girl”). “‘Vestidas de Azul’ has similarities and differences with ‘Veneno’ but a certainty continuity in its axis: The vocation of impact, of bettering the life of a collective which needed its story told,” says Beltrán Gortázar, Suma Content CEO. Gortázar, Diego del Pozo (Atresmedia TV) and Rebeca Fernández (Atresmedia TV) will host the First Look, on Feb. 20.  

Vestidas de Azul Courtesy of Atresmedia