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CONTENT LONDON ON DEMAND
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Buendía Estudios

Programming Profile

Buendía offers ‘glocal’ content from Spain

13-11-2020

The Content London On Demand campaign from new Spanish company Buendía Estudios showcases the diversity of its programming output, executives from the joint venture tell C21.

 

The Spanish audiovisual industry has a big new player. Buendía Estudios is the ambitious joint venture set up by telecoms operator Telefónica and broadcaster Atresmedia, with the aim of producing high-end content for international audiences.

 

After receiving the green light from the European Commission last June, the new prodco is choosing Content London On Demand to showcase its first projects to the international market.

 

Conceived to produce for third-parties from its headquarters in Madrid, Buendía Estudios takes over the whole team and production slate of Atresmedia Studios, the production firm launched by the private broadcaster in 2018.

 

Consequently, Ignacio Corrales, previously MD of Atresmedia Studios, is now MD of Buendía. Meanwhile, Atresmedia veteran Sonia Martínez has become Buendía’s editorial director. During her 14-year tenure as head of drama at Antena 3, Martínez executive produced hit dramas such as The Time in Between, Grand Hotel, Locked Up, Velvet and Money Heist (aka La Casa de Papel), series that helped to position the Spanish scripted industry in the international spotlight.

 

Martínez
Sonia Martínez,
Buendía Estudios

“Spain is exporting emotions as well as the way we narrate them, with high production values and under tighter budgets than other countries. Emotions are universal and that is why local stories can travel abroad,” says Martínez.

 

A great example of Buendía’s ‘glocal’ approach is Veneno (8×50’), an event series about Cristina ‘La Veneno’ Ortiz, a Spanish LGBTI icon back in the 1990s. The drama has been created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi, a young and successful creative duo working exclusively for Buendía Estudios.

 

Veneno, an original production for Atresmedia’s SVoD service ATRESplayer Premium, which was released earlier this year, has already been acquired by HBO Max for the US and Latin America. International sales are handled by Atresmedia.

 

Within Buendía Estudios and as part of an independent structure, Domingo Corral will remain as head of original productions at pay TV platform Movistar+, accompanied by his own team. The platform, with more than four million subscribers in Spain, will keep its strategy of offering about 12 original series per year, investing €70m (US$82.4m) annually. Corral stands as head of shows produced by either Buendía Estudios or independent producers.

 

Veneno
Veneno

In 2019, Movistar+ and Atresmedia Studios jointly produced The Pier, a drama series with a hint of thriller and eroticism created by Álex Pina (Money Heist) and Esther Martínez Lobato and sold into more than 100 countries via Germany’s Beta Film.

 

Additionally, Buendía Estudios’ theatrical supports Atresmedia Cine, under the lead of Mercedes Gamero, who has recently released hits such as Padre no hay más que uno, 2 with a great success as the highest grossing movie of the year in Spain, and the prestigious Klaus, released at the end of 2019 and awarded best animation feature film at the BAFTAs and nominee for the Oscars 2020.

 

Leading Buendía Estudios’ unscripted department is Jorge Pérez, executive producer of factual series Road Trip, aired by WarnerMedia pay channel TNT in Spain and acquired by HBO Max for the US. Pérez is also in the credits of several documentary productions for Amazon Prime Video, such as its recent documentary film about football player Fernando Torres. Buendía Estudios is currently producing a new Amazon Original docuseries about GEO, the special force of the Spanish police department.

 

Valenzuela
María Valenzuela,
Buendía Estudios

New to Buendía Estudios’ team is María Valenzuela, senior VP of business development and international, reporting to Corrales. She spent 16 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, the last five as senior VP for Iberia, running the studio’s distribution operations. Valenzuela was previously at Huawei Video, where she was head of global content strategy and partnerships.

 

At Buendía Estudios, she is in charge of international coproductions and sales and also oversees the international distribution of Movistar+ originals as well as future coproductions, with Laura Miñarro and Nicolás Lecocq part of her department.

 

Completing the international structure is Isabel Durán overseeing unscripted formats. She won the pitching competition at MipFormats 2020 with gameshow Before You Hit The Floor and, together with ITV Studios-backed Possessed, is co-developing another gameshow titled Trust Me I’m a Six-Year-Old. “Several companies have already shown their interest in these paper formats. We are excited about their international potential on a very competitive field of entertainment,” says Valenzuela.

 

Road Trip
Road Trip

“For us it’s natural to produce in our own language, Spanish. We are currently working on over a dozen Spanish-language projects. We consider Latin America and US Hispanics as our natural markets. We are having a warm reception over there already and we expect to work more in America during 2021. But we don’t stop at Spanish, we feel very very European and we are very comfortable addressing the European market.”

 

In fact, one of the projects that Buendía Estudios is launching at Content London 2020 is Phase 4, a horror anthology series created by Guillem Morales, the Spanish writer and director who has already worked on the BBC’s darkly comic anthology series Inside No.9 and period drama The Miniaturist. “The script is written in English, since Guillem is bilingual. Fase 4 is an ambitious series for young adults. Every episode will have a different cast, which gives the series a very international taste. We are looking for partners,” says Valenzuela.

 

Buendía Estudios aims to coproduce internationally and Corrales says it is “open to any business model and we will adapt to the needs of each project. We are comfortable as a majority coproducer and adding value on the creative side. But we would adapt depending on the project.”

 

La Templanza
La Templanza

The company will showcase its line-up of projects looking for coproducers and will be open to third-party projects in which it can participate as a partner.

 

Buendía Estudios is also developing a comedy series, a period drama and several thrillers. “We also have two science-fiction series in an early stage of development. This genre has not been explored that much by Spanish companies and we feel enthusiastic about going deeper,” says Martínez. “Buendía Estudios has a diverse portfolio of scripted series. The only specialisation that we have is quality production and great stories, no matter the genre.”

 

Among the Atresmedia Studios productions that Buendía Estudios has inherited is La Templanza, a period drama commissioned by Amazon Prime Video to premiere worldwide in 2021. “By comparing Veneno with La Templanza you will have a clear overview of the diversity of our portfolio,” says Martínez.

 

With its own development team, Buendía Estudios “is willing to collaborate with creators, showrunners and producers around the world. There is no doubt that talent is key,” adds Valenzuela.

 

Another project that Buendía Estudios is unveiling at Content London is La 9, a drama series set during the Second World War. It is based on the true story of a group of Spanish soldiers fighting with the Allies and the role they played in the liberation of Paris from the Nazis.

 

“La 9 is a very European series; the story begins in Africa, then it moves to the UK and ends in France. It is a character-driven projectwith dialogues in several languages. We are looking forward to find the right partner for it” says Valenzuela.