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Netflix opens Madrid production hub

Netflix has opened its first European production hub, in Tres Cantos, Madrid, as part of its multi-million-euro investment in Spanish-language content.

Ted Sarandos

The global streamer held an event in Madrid yesterday with CEO Reed Hastings leading a discussion about creativity and production in Spain and announcing two new original shows.

El Inocente is an adaptation of a bestseller by Harlan Coben, with whom Netflix has an overall deal, and was created by Oriol Paulo.

The eight-episodes series, produced by Sospecha y Think Studio, follows an ex-convict who receives a phone call that destroys his life.

Six-episode series Los Favoritos de Midas, meanwhile, is created by Mateo Gil and Miguel Barros and is based in a short story by Jack London, published in 1901. It will be produced by Nostromo Pictures and its cast includes Luis Tosar.

Netflix announced plans to open its first European production hub in Madrid last year after agreeing a partnership with local media company Grupo Secuoya.

Netflix is gearing up to launch a number of Spanish-language shows, including High Seas, a mystery series set in the 1940s that will launch globally this spring.

Other shows on its 2019 and 2020 slate include the latest season of La Casa de Papel – the most-watched non-English-language show on the platform – along with Alta Mar, Las Chicas del Cable S4, Paquita Salas S3, Elite S2, Criminal, El Vecino, Hache and Días de Navidad.

Its forthcoming Spanish-language feature films include Elisa y Marcela, A Pesar de Todo, A Quién te Llevarías a Una Isla Desierta?, Diecisiete, Klaus and Hogar.

In 2018, a total of more than 13,000 cast, crew and extras have worked on Netflix originals. This year that number is set to increase to 25,000.

“Our aim is to be part of the Spanish creative ecosystem. We are investing for the long term. We are here to stay and to participate,” said Hastings during the presentation.

“Our goal is to work with the best storytellers to create great shows and films that delight our members. It has been amazing to see Spanish shows like Elite and La Casa de Papel win the hearts of fans, not just in Spain but globally. This is our first European production hub and we’re excited about the great stories that will be produced here in Spain, and watched by the world.”

Hastings was joined by Francisco Ramos, VP of international originals, María Ferreras, VP of business development, along with writer and creator Álex Pina, executive producers Teresa Fernández-Valdés and Belén Atienza, writer, director and president of the Film Academy Mariano Barroso and actor Álvaro Morte.

“Traditionally, Spanish fiction has always been much more watched in Spain than American fiction. Now I believe that the challenge ahead is to make the leap to other markets. With La Casa de Papel, we are experiencing success in many countries with cultures very different from our own, such as Saudi Arabia, which is incredible,” said Pina, showrunner of La Casa de Papel and who has an overall deal with Netflix.

Fernández-Valdés, co-creator of Las Chicas del Cable and Alta Mar, said that Spanish creators now have the “resources to dream and develop more ambitious projects,” having been badly affected by the recent financial crisis in Spain.

In related news, Netflix has teamed up with Sean Hayes, Mike Schur and Gabe Liedman for an adult animated sitcom about a handsome secret agent and his team of fellow LGBTQ superspies.

Written by Gabe Liedman, Q-Force (10×30′) follows the team as they have to prove themselves time and again on extraordinary professional, and personal, adventures.

It is produced by Universal Television in association with Hazy Mills, Fremulon and 3 Arts Entertainment.

This week Netflix renewed After Life, the series created, written and directed by Ricky Gervais, for a second season of six episodes. Gervais stars in the show, which is produced by Derek Productions and will return in 2020.


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