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Top Spanish Titles brought to market at MipTV:

“Dating in Barcelona,” (Filmax)

Produced by Filmax’s Arca, Catalan public broadcaster 3Cat and Prime Video in Spain, a first season of “Dating in Barcelona” bowed last year in Spain to big ratings, both on its first-window debut on 3Cat and on Prime Video, where it became one of the streaming service’s most-watched debuts. A modern take on romance and sex in an online age, “Dating in Barcelona” also reflects a swing in TV towards a lighter, more episodic fare, whether in crime thrillers or other categories. Each episode features two dates which, as Variety has observed, play off each other. Powered in creative terms by Pau Freixas, behind iconic series from “Red Band Society” To “I Know Who You Are” And “Todos Mienten,” All Produced By Filmax, “Dating In Barcelona” features a top-tier cast, this time round in Season 2 led by such Spanish stars as Anna Castillo (“Nowhere”), Natalia Tena (“Harry Potter”), Óscar Casas (“The Orphanage”), Leonor Watling (“Talk To Her”) and Verónica Echegui (“Fortitude”).

“Detective Touré,” (RTVE, Detective Touré AIE, Tornasol Media, DeAPlaneta, EITB)

Based on the book saga by Jon Arretxe, and impactfully located in Bilbao – from its San Francisco multicultural barrio to its docks and chic new high rises, the tale of a cheery, attractive but paperless Guinea immigrant with acute skills of deduction hired to get photos of a husband with his lover. The smartest sleuth in Bilbao still stumbles on something far more sinister, a Nigerian drug cartel. Selected for 2022’s Series Mania Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, an achievement in itself, and a sneak peak hit at last October Iberseries, Also featuring “Money Heist” and “Intimacy” star Itziar Ituño, with director David Pérez Sañudo (“Ane is Missing”) straddling multiple genres – film noir, comedy, social drama, crime thriller – with a fluidity in a lighter-toned procedural which explains why he’s emerging as one of the most-courted young helmers in Spain today.  

“Dreams of Freedom,” (“Sueños de libertad,” Atresmedia TV, Diagonal TV)

One of the Spain’s big fiction swings of 2024 from the broadcaster behind “Money Heist,” “Locked Up” and “Velvet,” made moreover along the growth axis of premium daily series. Set in 1958 Spain, Begoña Montes, trapped in a toxic marriage, yearns for freedom and her brother-in-law as the country begins its long modernisation. Produced by Banijay’s Diagonal TV, a specialist in long -unning period soaps, such as Atresmedia’s “Amar para Siempre,” aired over 2013-2024, “Dreams” bowed with a 14.1% primetime share, the best fiction premiere in Spain in the last two years, with a 14.3% share for Ep. 20. “‘Dreams of Freedom” is a step forward in the production of a telenovela series,” says Montse García, Atresmedia fiction director. “Its production quality sets it apart within the daily telenovela series, featuring extensive outdoor filming. As a result, we are delighted to announce that our bold efforts are paying off, making ‘Dreams of Freedom’ a resounding success.”

Dreams of Freedom
Credit: Jose Alberto Puertas

“Heartless,” (“Perverso,” Onza)

First seen in “Parot,” Haro, a refined, Machiavellian aristocrat serving a sentence for rape and murder, agrees to cooperate in the investigation of the kidnappings, in order to exact revenge on the judge who sentenced him. Created by Alonso Laporta (“Parot,” “The Department of Time”), “Heartless” “merges thriller with melodrama boldly,” he says. “The subtle manipulation among its characters, where nothing is as it seems and everyone harbors ulterior motives, raises a profound reflection on justice, loyalty, and revenge in a universe filled with nuances and secrets,” he adds. Showrun by Laporta and Gustavo Ron (“Velvet Collection”), set to release on April 19 on Prime Video, produced and sold by Onza and one of its major 2024 bets.

“The Law of the Sea,” (“La ley del mar,” RTVE, À Punt)

Based on true events, José Dura, skipper of Spanish trawler, rescues 51 immigrants adrift in mid-Mediterranean. Arriving at Malta’s Valetta, his boat is barred entry, sparking a full-blown E.U. diplomatic crisis.  “A calculated risk,” says RTVE’s José Pastor, “The Law of the Sea” shot 18 days at sea and cast movie actors, Luis Tosar and Blanca, reuniting after Icíar Bollaín’s “Maixabel.” “If you want a series to look like cinema, you have to cast film actors,  he says. The risk paid off. Created by Enrique “Flipy” Pérez Vergara, at Studio 60, the mini-series, broadcast in its entirety on Sunday primetime, Jan. 21, hit a 13.1% share, RTVE’s best fiction result in nearly a year. 

“El Mal,” (The Mediapro Studio, Spain)

A serial killer prowls the streets of locked-down Barcelona in March-April 2020, hunting for victims among those still out on the streets: the homeless. Based on a true story. Created and lead written by Lluís Alcarazo, creator of crime thriller “Night and Day” and doc feature “Special Case,” both well received in Spain. “‘El Mal’” is different in tone and in terms of setting, situation. The series, with a classic narrative, maintains a disturbing atmosphere, in line with great masters of contemporary cinema such as David Fincher or Michael Mann and with echoes of films such as “Seven,” “Zodiac” and “Collateral,” and series such as “Mindhunter,” thoroughly introducing us to the investigation of these crimes in the context of a less luminous Barcelona, but fascinating in its portrait and photography,” says Javier Mendez, The Mediapro Studio head of cinema and co-head of television. 

“Marbella,” (Movistar Plus+, Buendía Estudios)

A sweet-talking defence attorney, Cesar defends mafias which live happily enough side by side in Marbella, “the U.N. of organised crime,” he says. But in Cesar’s efforts to land the biggest new contract in town, he crosses the line, beginning to commit criminal acts and endangers all that’s dear. A deep dive into the sybaritic criminal classes of La Costa del Sol, written by Alberto Marini and shot in hallmark kinetic style by Dani de la Torre, re-teaming after “La Unidad.” “The tone is fiction, artificial and highly entertaining, but the background is painstakingly researched,” says exec producer Fran Araujo.

“The Marquess,” (“El Marqués,” Mediaset España, Unicorn)

Spain, 1977 Onofre, a journalist, returns to his hometown to investigate a series of murders committed in 1975, the series shuttling between the two periods as he exposes a corrupt aristocrat and a clash between a Spain set in immobilism and another fighting for a modern future. “Five people are murdered in Los Galindos, Seville in 1975. The culprit was never discovered. Inspired by this real event, shot on natural locations, this crime portrays Spain in 1975. Detail of setting, costumes and a detailed script along with actors in a state of grace take us to a not-so distant-period that left victims without justice,” says Arantxa Ecija, Mediaset España production manager. Written by Ignacio del Moral, behind classic social issue movie screenplays for “Mondays in the Sun” and “The Sleeping Voice” and head writer on “Cuéntame cómo pasó,” and Begoña Álvarez, executive producer on classic Spanish series such as “The Serranos” and “Aguila Roja” as well as director of 2018’s “Skam España.”

“Mountain Rescue Academy,” (“Escuela de Rescate,” Dokumalia Producciones, Mediterráneo, Unicorn)

A fast-paced docuseries training chronicle with 19 candidates to become Civil Guard mountain rescuers arrive at the Candanchú Mountain Rescue Academy in Spain’s Western Pyrenees. Against a spectacular background of limestone cliffs they are put through their paces from hill runs to higher-grade rock climbs. Not all of them will make it. Directed by Dani Salas, a hit on Spain’s Prime Video, offering a Big Brother scenario in a fresh real-life context.

“Red Flags,” (Atresmedia TV, Zeta Studios) 

“You see porn and you imitate it,” Luna’s best friend Alba tutors her before Luna loses her virginity to boyfriend Jorge. The yet-to-air portrait of the often pained sexual and emotional awakening of four Gen Z teens: Macho gay Toni; Erika, with an eating disorder; Luna, riled by Jorge’s budding patriarchy; and Walter, pushing back at peer pressure to be one of the boys. Together they create an online network to navigate early coming of age. Written by laureled novelist-playwright Nando López and produced by Atresmedia TV and “Elite” creator Zeta Studios. “‘Red Flags’ shows us in a raw and realistic way the emotional and sexual lives of four teenagers,” says López. “Mental health or the influence of pornography are some of the topics of this portrayal of the Gen-Z,” he adds. 

Red Flags

“Traffic Jam,” (“Atasco,” Onza)

Made in association with Prime Video and Publicis Rebellion, written and showrun by Rodrigo Sopeña (“La hora de José Mota,” “Club Houdini”), an ensemble comedy set at a huge gridlock as evening falls, affecting thousands of drivers: a couple in crisis, a happy family, strangers sharing a car, a second-hand car driven by a salesman with his customer, an indecisive bride, a flamenco group….“‘Traffic Jam’ digs into a complex universe full of personal conflicts and relationships. It turns the commonplace into a funny and friendly situation thanks to an all-star cast comprised of top-notch comedians,” says Gonzalo Sagardía, Onza executive producer. “The audience will easily engage with the series and follow up each storyline as it is universal. This will be a friendly and funny traffic jam for the first time ever.” 

“This Is Not Sweden,” (RTVE, 3Cat, Spain, Anagram Sweden, SVT, Sweden)

First fruit of a mega-grant system for higher-end Catalan-language series of international ambition and a pacesetting northern-southern European public broadcaster alliance driven by co-creator and star Aina Clotet. Mariana and Samuel join other aspiring young professionals in a chic-back-to-the-woods village outside Barcelona, to give the best to their young children. Tragedy leads Mariana to question prior certainties about Northern European role models and indeed parenting, as the series, a distinctive family dramedy with an indie air, builds with sense of menace to an unpredictable ending.

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