EXCLUSIVE: Spain’s flagship film event, the San Sebastian Film Festival, gets underway tonight. Ahead of the fest, Deadline sat down with Netflix ’s two top content executives in Spain to hear about…
AVALOS:It definitely was a game-changer. It truly connected globally, it wasn’t just a local show. That opened the possibility for the discovery of other global shows likeLupin. It also changed the trajectory of the Spanish audiovisual industry – it confirmed the talent that was already here, on a local stage. We may have a smaller market locally, but this industry is as strong as Hollywood. The talent behind and in front of the camera is at the world class level of any other industry.
DEADLINE:The finalMoney Heistseason is out this year, could there be any more down the line? A spin-off perhaps?AVALOS:Right now it’s too early to tell. Alex Pina’s ideation for the show was a two-season arc. When I sat with him to tell him that audiences were loving it, and we should tell it again, his first reaction was, ‘no, this story has been told, the characters have had their beginning and their end’. It wasn’t until he’d had a few weeks to think about it that he came up with the reason for it, not how to tell the story, but why to tell the story. That’s the first question you always have to ask when it comes to spin-offs. You want Alex to see that, we believe right now the story has been told.
DEADLINE:Clearly the show was big internationally, was it a similar success in Spain?AVALOS:It depends on what stage you’re talking about. Originally this was a co-production with a local channel [Antena 3], and it was an average-to-negative result based on the ratings. But eventually it discovered millions of audiences globally. Spain re-discovered, or discovered, the show for the first time on Netflix. It’s now as big in Spain as it is in all the other countries around the world, it’s one of our biggest titles here. headtopics.com
DEADLINE:Teresa, what has been a hit on the film side?MONEO:This year, more than 46 million households watched Below Zero (Bajocero)during the first 28 days on Netflix, that is an incredible milestone. Right now, I’m working with Juana Macías, director of
Fuimos Canciones, on an adaptation of the novels by Elísabet Benavent (writer and creator ofValeria) and I’m really excited about how how that is going to be received all over the world.DEADLINE:Is your focus entirely on Spanish-language content?
AVALOS:Our focus is on local content for local audiences, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in one language. For example, we haveSanto, which takes place in Brazil and Spain, and is told in Portuguese and Spanish.MONEO:Great stories are universal and given that viewing of non-English titles by Netflix members globally doubled in 2020 compared to 2019, we’re seeing that our members enjoy content in all languages.
DEADLINE:Tell me about your studio, you doubled the number of sound stages there this year.Below ZeroNetflixAVALOS:Right now, we have about 20,000 sq meters, and we’re going to increase that. We have five sound stages, the largest one is 1,500 sq meters, and we’re in the building phase of five more, some of which are larger in size. We’re also building a state-of-the-art post-production facility which is under construction now. We want to have state of the art facilities to provide to our producers. We’ve worked with more than 35 production companies in Spain to date. It’s a Netflix exclusive facility. headtopics.com
DEADLINE:What kinds of films are looking for Teresa?MONEO:We look for local stories that can move and entertain, and can resonate with a global audience. In doing so, we like to have something for everyone, from a high-concept comedy to an action-family film, a thriller… we’re investing in a variety of genres.
DEADLINE:Let’s talk about talent. We’ve seen Netflix tie-up talent with exclusive deals all over the world, is that also part of the Spain strategy?AVALOS:Our main focus is being the best place for creators to tell their stories. We do also have some deals and it is part of our strategy – we have an exclusive relationship with Alex Pina, thanks to that we’ve been able to tell
Money HeistSky Rojo.MONEO:We’re looking for talent that we believe in and if the opportunity arises we are open to it.DEADLINE:To what extent do you collaborate with other Netflix offices?AVALOS:We have great relationships between all our teams, and we give shared visibility on all our productions. The nature of co-productions goes back to the need to close financing. Where we do interact is when the shows require it organically. That sharing of knowledge is one of the greatest assets we have from having teams all over the world.
DEADLINE:The Audiovisual Communications Service Law is currently being debated all across Europe. An agreement seems fairly close in Spain, and it looks set to mandate that somewhere between 3.5% and 5% of streaming revenues will need to be reinvested into local content, does Netflix already meet that criteria? headtopics.com
AVALOS:For us, the most important thing is complying with the law. One way to look at investment is not just on percentage of revenue but also on the overall impact. In the last year, we’ve had 40,000 days of extras on our shows, more than 1,500 people have worked on our productions. That’s how we look at investment. We want the most flexibility to continue growing our investment, that’s our focus.
DEADLINE:If it came into effect tomorrow, would you tick that box?AVALOS:I think it’s a little early to tell, we don’t know where the law will end. There are various aspects and we need to wait and see how it goes through congress.DEADLINE:Are you optimistic it will work out for all parties involved?
AVALOS:Yes, on the latest draft I think the government has done an incredible job hearing from all parties, and really pushing to make this a strong industry and an attractive one for investors from abroad. The government has spoken about making the audiovisual industry a top priority for the country.
DEADLINE:The government has talked about investing €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) to “power up” production in Spain, does that benefit Netflix?AVALOS:I think it benefits the industry overall, the more investment, the more improvements to professional infrastructure, that creates more jobs and more opportunities.
DEADLINE:What else is coming up on the film side?MONEO:We’re finalizing the cast of theBird Boxspin-off, a film that will be shot in Barcelona with the talented Pastor brothers, and we have also just announcedA Man Of Action,a project directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera, starring the always charming Juan José Ballesta.Read more: Deadline Hollywood »
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