Netflix has said it will clock more than 30 Spanish-language projects across film, series, and non-fiction documentaries by the year’s end. The news was unveiled by Verónica Fernández, Director of Series for Spain and Portugal at an event to mark the expansion of the streamer’s production hub in Tres Cantos, Madrid.
Netflix has been available in Spain since 2015. The streamer’s Tres Cantos campus opened in 2019 and has since doubled its stage capacity and now features ten sets and a multi-purpose space that includes the company’s first in-house post-production facility.
Fernández said the new facilities “guarantee” that creatives in Spain will have the “means to continue to tell their stories.”
“No one thought we would have so much ongoing production and Spanish content,” she said at a Q&A session during the opening event. “We are 500 million Spanish speakers, but this content has gone beyond.”
The Tres Cantos stages have housed some of Netflix’s biggest productions from Spain, including La noche más larga, Valeria, Fuimos canciones, and Money Heist (La casa de papel).
The growing slate of projects on the lot includes Carlos Montero’s popular high-school drama Elite, which moved to Tres Cantos to shoot its forthcoming seventh series as well as the Money Heist spin-off titled Berlin from the original series creators Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato.
Lobato said developing the series has been a “great responsibility” and a “burden” due to the popularity of the original show.
“It starts from a connection that already exists with the viewers and, as creators, we want to continue deepening this emotion,” Lobato said.
The pair also teased details of a second untitled series in production at Netflix, which will take place in an underground bunker. The pair shared drawings of the expansive set for the series, which they said was inspired by the “proliferation of bunkers around the world” during the COVID pandemic.
“We imagined a subway urbanization where the focus, instead of the apocalypse, was on those who lived in the space. The big question this project addresses is: does life still go on even while the world is ending,” Pina said.
Pina has also teamed up with director David Pastor for a Spanish-language spin-off of the Sandra Bullock hit Bird Box. Pastor said the pair decided to sign on for the remake because they believe the film’s narrative is one that has never existed in Spain. However, the pair said the flick will be “a great global story.”
Tres Cantos is also home to some of the streamer’s non-Spanish language projects such as KAOS, the latest series from The End of the F***ing World creator Charlie Covell. The series is billed as a “mythological dark-comedy” centered around six humans as they discover their connection to each other and to a long-standing ancient prophecy while they deal with corrupt and arrogant gods of the Greek and Roman mythologies. Jeff Goldblum will play Zeus in the series.
Executive producer Chris Fry was on the ground in Madrid and told visitors to Tres Cantos that the show would be thematically hybrid.
“It’s not togas and sandals, it’s tracksuits and trainers,” Fry said. “Zeus wears a Gucci tracksuit. Also, the worlds aren’t fantasy. It’s very much grounded in what we recognize as our real world. It’s just a bit more heightened.”
Fry added that he and his producing team brought the series to Spain because of the country’s climate, the quality of Spanish crew, and the generous tax rebate system offered to productions shot in the country.
“The Spanish have a very good tax rebate for productions. It’s a really important part of any film or television production being financed,” he said.
Spanish and international productions can currently access a tax rebate of up to 30%, with a maximum refund of €10 million.
Miquel Iceta, Spain’s Minister of Culture and Sport, gave an address at the event and described the current flow of production in Spain along with Netflix’s investment in Tres Cantos as a “sweet moment” for the Spanish audio-visual industry.
The minister also shrugged off the suggestion that Netflix and traditional exhibitors were in competition, citing a recent discussion he said he had with a “very well-known Spanish film director” who said: “Cut the crap. The platforms and theatres shouldn’t fight each other.”
He added: “People are not returning to theatres the way they used to and that has been our focus but that doesn’t make us reject the work that is being done and will be shown in different platforms.”
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