Books and audiovisual platforms: a serial romance | Culture

The audiovisual and literary world have maintained a long relationship, with specific meetings and sustained rivalries. But in recent times books have become a valuable and essential ally of home screens.

A good thermometer of where things are going is the agreement that the legendary scout New Yorker literary (scout) Maria Campbell established with Netflix just three years ago. “The books are living a golden age with adaptations and platforms that grow like mushrooms. Content is king, ”he says in a telephone conversation. Campbell, who founded his agency in 1987 and works with publishers in 20 countries, remembers that one of Netflix's first big hits, Orange Is the New Black, came from a novel. The flexibility of the new model, he says, allows each book to be adapted in the best way, either as a documentary or even as an animated series. “Borders have been torn down and this is an exciting time, whether or not there is a bubble. The books are in everyone's mind. Scriptwriters want to have basic material and producers also love it, ”he explains.

Just take a look at the on-demand television menus to check the success of the alliance of literature and platforms: there are bombings like The maid's taleby Margaret Atwood, and Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin; or great productions such as the series made from the tetralogy of Elena Ferrante. The list is long and does not stop growing, and the Spanish market is not far behind: serve as it shows the adaptations of Homelandby Fernando Aramburu, and Tell me who I am, by Julia Navarro, whose premieres are planned this spring, or the production of the Elisabet Benavent saga.

In the heat of the television-literary fever, publishers create new divisions to manage the sale of audiovisual rights, producers strive to opting and present projects to the platforms, and new companies that move literary catalogs emerge. After 20 years linked to the publishing sector, Barcelona's Misia Sert launched herself as a scout or literary scout, and the first client who knocked on her door was the Brutal producer Half. "For the scouts the audiovisual market is the present, I don't know if it will be the future, "he says.

In search of nonfiction

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Not only fiction live the series, and good examples of this are recent successes such as Chernobyl, that part of the work of the Nobel Prize Svetlana Aleksievich, or at the national level Fariña, based on the book by Nacho Carretero. “There is a lot of voracity for content and nonfiction is not left out,” says Álex Martínez Roig, of Movistar +. Juan Cerezo, from Tusquets, says that there is a lot of interest but still nothing closed to adapt At the end of January, Javier Padilla's book about Enrique Ruano who won the Comillas award. The books on real people pose some challenges and difficulties in their adaptations, sometimes several books serve as the basis for Amenábar's film about Miguel de Unamuno, While the war lasts. Another interesting front is the adaptations that start from articles and journalistic reports. "The New York Times, the Count Nast group and magazines like The Atlantic they have departments focused on the sale of audiovisual rights, "explains scout Maria Campbell from New York.

Last week, 245 professionals involved in this plot - well from the literary side, well from the audiovisual side - met in the third edition of Rolling page. The books go to the screens, a day held at the Casa del Lector de Matadero, in Madrid, organized by the Madrid Audiovisual Association (AMA) and the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain (FGEE). "There are similar events at the Berlinale, the Cannes Festival and even at the Sitges festival, but we saw that there were missing places in Spain to connect," said Mario Madreño, of AMA. “There is a strong need for stories. That's why books, comics, children's albums are pulled. More series are claimed. ”

In the discreet scenario of the Casa del Lector were presented 14 titles covering a wide range: from Long live the colored nails, a children's book that deals with "toxic masculinities," explained writer and editor Luis Amavisca, until Anna Pacheco's first novel, Beautiful, clean lists. This author was accompanied by Conxita Estruga, director of rights sales for the Penguin Random House group. “The arrival of the platforms has really revitalized the adaptation market and has put the entire industry in motion: publishers, televisions and producers. Hunger does not end, ”said Estruga.

Palmira Márquez, from the literary agency Dospassos, agrees. “It's a sweet moment. They're opting many books, the freezers of the producers are filling and, although everything is not going to be produced, an important line of business has been opened for the authors. Before, they asked about the sale of translations and now they care more about audiovisual rights. ” From his agency he has started to “packetize”, He explains, looking for directors, producers and actors to set up the package and present it.

Untouchable Authors

Producer Enrique López Lavigne confirms the boom. “Great untouchables like García Márquez or Bolaño, which were previously complicated to sell or adapt, now sound on the platforms. We are in the process of a kind of audiovisual digitalization of the masterpieces of literature, and increasingly close to exploiting, together with the publishers, their translation into images, ”he explains by message from a shoot. He has partnered with Mexican Pablo Cruz in El Estudio and the result is “the acquisition of the right of choice of six novels” to adapt to series. This, he says, will bring its authors closer to people “who have read nothing about them; some may not even a book. "

Ignacio Martínez de Pisón worked on the film adaptation of his novel Back roads, but not in the series based on his novel Tomorrow. "I like others to contribute," he explains, and argues that the format of the series has great advantages for novels. "You don't have to compress the story of a book in 90 minutes."

Álex Martínez Roig, Movistar + content director, has seen how the demand for adaptations has grown since it was released Crematorium, based on the novel by Rafael Chirbes. "It is a natural evolution: the novels emerged from the nineteenth-century brochures," he says. “Today the segmentation of the public and voracity makes all kinds of books, not just the best sellers, have the option of being adapted ”.

The editor Juan Cerezo, of Tusquets, tells that Homeland, of Fernando Aramburu, one of the great successes of his label, had many boyfriends, but Aitor Gabilondo was the first and he reached the agreement with HBO. Almudena Grandes, Luis Landero and Leonardo Padura are other authors whose works are in different phases of adaptation.

The boom It does not only affect large publishing conglomerates such as Planeta or Penguin Random House. Jane Pilgrim, in charge of the rights of the Anagrama seal, recognizes that they receive almost half a dozen consultations a week for possible adaptations. The Pilgrim boom does not doubt, but points out that it moves in many directions and talks about the case of the British Nick Hornby, whose new upcoming novel is part of what was originally the series State of the Union.


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