July 27, 2021

"The audiovisual industry has its eyes on television" | TV

"The audiovisual industry has its eyes on television" | TV

"It's not television, it's HBO" is a very popular slogan that was coined in 1997 by the US cable channel and that marked distances between its productions of those years (Oz, The Sopranos, Two meters underground) with those of the "silly box". In recent years, the format by chapters has begun to deal with you to the cinema. Festivals such as Cannes, Sundance or San Sebastián include television productions in their screenings. The highest formal quality and greater narrative ambition, in addition to the great acceptance and dissemination among viewers thanks to technological advances (better TVs, the explosion of video on demand platforms …), has made two audiovisual formats such as movies and series are closer than ever. The borders are so diffuse that sometimes some creators talk about their series as "long films". The transfer of professionals from one medium to the other is also continuous.

Professionals from both sectors spoke at this Wednesday's event at the Cinema Academy about the interplay between television and film at the round table "New series: television or cinema?". The screenwriter Ángela Armero, the producer Fernando Bovaira, the audiovisual communication teacher Concepción Cascajosa, the producer and screenwriter Teresa Fernández-Valdés, the screenwriter Alejandro Hernández, the film critic Fernando Lara and the director Ramón Salazar, with the screenwriter Isabel Vázquez as moderator.

Goya Award for the best series?

Whereas the United Kingdom includes cinema, television and videogames in the same academy (BAFTA), in Spain they are still separate universes. Will the Goya come to include the series in their awards? "It is an option; another is to stick to the cinema on the big screen; another is to make other awards … From the Academy we do not want to close ourselves to be the ones who respond, but to press the feeling of the sector ", says Mariano Barroso. For example, at the round table, Fernando Lara defended the creation of a category in the Goya for the series with conclusive stories, something to which Teresa Fernández-Valdés objected: "why do some yes and others not?" I asked.

Another problem is posed by films produced by platforms released directly on the web. Netflix has changed its strategy, with premieres also in cinemas, so movies like Rome, of Alfonso Cuarón, can compete in the cinematographic awards, including the Goya.

According to Mariano Barroso, director of the Film Academy, the talk was born of "the question that many people ask us about the limits of cinema and series: how far are we films, how far are we audiovisual fiction …". Thus, the Academy aims to "pull the debate, because we know that it is something that must be answered, although I still do not know which," Barroso adds to EL PAÍS.

When it comes to finding differences and similarities between the cinema and the series, Ángela Armero highlights the different dramatic conception of the two formats and the form of consumption by the viewer. "But I do not see much difference in terms of demand, ambition and budget," he says. "If people now say that the series are just as good as movies, they have been in a cave for at least 20 years, because the series have been more demanding than many movies or more expensive for more than 20 years. fact, it is the cinema that intends to go towards the series. Star Wars It started as a trilogy and now it's a series. Seriality prevails in cinema rather than the other way around ", adds the writer.

Concepción Cascajosa appreciates the effort of the Film Academy to incorporate the series in its field but remember that the relationship between both worlds comes from behind: "many of the great series of the eighties and early nineties are made by film directors , with thematic, visual ambition, a production model similar to that of cinema … ". Cascajosa remembers titles like The riders of the dawn or The forging of a rebel, They had big budgets.

For Fernando Bovaira, film and television are different media. "On television you have to be aware of the rhythm, have more dose of melodrama and formal clarity and narrative, and take into account how you are going to consume it, cinema was the main course and now it is just another ingredient in the soup", says the producer. For Fernando Lara, series and cinema have the same elements but a different narrative structure.

Teresa Fernández-Valdés recalls that television has been "the little sister of cinema" for a long time and celebrates that this has changed. "The audiovisual industry has its eyes on television, and that is known not only for media attention, but also for money, we produce money that we have never had before."

Life between the two screens

Alejandro Hernández, screenwriter of films like 1898, the last of the Philippines or The author and of series like Ours (Telecinco) or Tomorrow (Movistar +) does not find difference between working for a feature film or for a production by chapters. "Television and the platforms have become a haven for screenwriters that come from the cinema, I've made my film career especially, and you look at the industry how it goes and the cinema goes down and the platforms are making fiction in series be your way of life and what more compensates you ". Although he does not believe that the sensation of television being the little brother of the cinema remains, he does recognize that some complexes are still crawling today. "The first time they invited me to do a series, Salvador Calvo called me[directorof[directorde1898, the last of the Philippines]and the first thing he said was 'I'm sorry he asks you for this' because it was a series for Telecinco. I saw it as an opportunity and I confronted it with the professionalism with which I make films, "he recalls.

Ramón Salazar, a newcomer to television from the cinema who has directed episodes of Vis a vis and of Elite, sees as a novelty in current series the way in which they are consumed, where the viewer not only chooses the rhythm to which he sees it, but also has the option to see them on different screens. "They are made thinking of being consumed in a certain way, as a creator, I face a film and a series with the same passion and dedication, the dynamics are different, but as they are from one film to another." Salazar highlights television as a learning school. "The mechanisms, the speed with which your head starts to work, is fascinating," he explains.


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