Wed. Feb 19th, 2020

Pablo Ibar: sentenced to death in the US, television character in Spain | TV

Pablo Ibar: sentenced to death in the US, television character in Spain | TV

The night businessman Casimir Sucharski and two women were murdered savagely in the first house, in Miramar (Florida). Two individuals did it. It was June 1994. Six years later, a Basque pelotari, Pablo Ibar, He was sentenced to death for the crime. There were two tests against him: that he resembled one of the assailants, recorded by a closed-circuit camera, and that a witness testified against him. In his favor, many details that his growing number of defenders was gathering and using as a weapon to demand their freedom. After a lengthy appeal process, the trial was declared null in 2016. It was repeated last January, and the verdict was the same: guilty. The sentence will be known next May 15. But as it unfolds in the real world, the story of the only Spaniard on the death row in the United States – a false culprit for many, a murderer for justice – will be told twice on television: in a fictional series of four chapters in Movistar + and, in parallel and with a quite different approach, in a documentary series.

"It deserves to be told, both from a journalistic and audiovisual point of view. He speaks of a specific case but also of universal things: an unjust system, the death penalty, the struggle of a family … ", explains the journalist Nacho Carretero. Your essay In the corridor of death (Espasa) is the base of the homonymous series prepared by Movistar + produced by Bambú, the same producer that was commissioned to adapt his other journalistic essay, Fariña. "He also talks about racism in the United States, it's a racist country with Latinos, and a Spaniard is still a Latino for them," adds producer and screenwriter Ramón Campos.

In its four chapters -without a date yet but whose filming is over-, the actor Miguel Ángel Silvestre plays Ibar. "He began to speak with an accent the day we told him he was inside," Campos praises. Silvestre had to gain weight and corpulence to try to physically resemble the character. "When I asked Pablo why he is on death row, He told me 'because I look like someone who appears on a video'. And he said: 'But you could be perfectly, I'm here, but it could be you, "says Carretero.

The corridor of death and the cell in which Ibar has spent the last 16 years until the trial is repeated in a ship in Madrid (other scenes have been shot in Panama, as if it were Miami). Here the cell measures a little more than the real, 3×2 meters, but the interior is the same: a bed, a toilet and a table with a small television with transparent box to check that the prisoners do not hide anything inside. The recreation has been made with the help of Joaquín José Martínez, the only Spaniard to leave the death row of the United States (in which he was accused of a double murder for three years, of which he was acquitted in 2001).

Pablo Ibar leaves the court of Broward (Florida), in an image of August of 2017.
Pablo Ibar leaves the court of Broward (Florida), in an image of August of 2017. / Cordon Press

So much realism involves another difficulty, at least for the last chapter: the parallel development of the new trial and shooting. "Nacho was sharing the information to develop the script for the last episode," says Campos. "But it affected more emotionally, because they were shooting something that was happening, and that is also very dramatic," Tercia Carretero. "Also, add a point of responsibility to tell this story," he adds.

Why then not tell it like a documentary? "It takes a lot of time for a documentary, and we wanted to arrive with a margin to help Pablo, as far as we can," says Campos. "This series is going to be practically a documentary because of the thoroughness of the investigation, how veracity has been sought up to the last detail", defends Carretero. "For many years it seemed that journalism was on the one hand and fiction and audiovisual productions on the other. In Spain since a few years ago that connection is happening and is giving very good results ", concludes Carretero.

Another of the audiovisual efforts on the case is one produced by Olmo Figueredo for his company La Claqueta PC with the title The Miramar Murders, a documentary series that has been underway since 2014. Its international sales are represented by Filmax and at the moment they are negotiating its television sale. In its first stage, it was directed by Manuel Martín Cuenca, who combined his work in Miami with the Goya race. The author– and currently the person in charge is Hernán Zin, former war correspondent and director of documentaries such as, among others, Born in Gaza Y Born in Syria (Platinum award for the best Ibero-American documentary).

According to Figueredo, after four years of filming (since 2015), they already have hundreds of hours of filming. The conclusion will not be as sharp as in The corridor of death. For Zin, the objective is that "the spectator decides, after considering the doubts", although he assures: "In a European judicial system Ibar would not have been condemned". They still have interviews to shoot – they return to Miami in mid-May – before facing the assembly of what is calculated will be six episodes.


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