With 577 million Spanish speakers, according to data from the Cervantes Institute in 2018, the international weight of Spanish in the series is understandable. In addition, sharing the same language makes collaboration between Spain and other Latin American countries more and more frequent when developing television projects. Co-production is a common formula, but also the series add efforts and talent with productions that incorporate artistic and technical equipment from other countries. Spanish is the vehicle that allows that connection.
Géraldine Gonard directs Connect Fiction, an event that this year will celebrate its fourth edition in Pamplona and that tries to be a place of union of international talent to facilitate joint work and television co-productions. She highlights the “vital and natural” growth of co-productions and joint work between countries. “The series are so global, budgets have risen so much, that alliances are essential for chains to be at the level of international platforms, which have much higher budgets,” says Gonard.
Among the alliances that have already been forged in Conecta Fiction is the one that made it possible Agnes of my soul. The adaptation of the homonymous novel by Isabel Allende is a co-production of RTVE, Boomerang TV and Chilevisión that has been shot in locations in Spain, Chile and Peru. The series, which follows the story of Inés Suárez in the New World, has both cast and Spanish and Chilean technical team.
A somewhat different case is that of Lost. The series that broadcasts on Tuesday Antena 3 is a Spanish production but combines Spanish and Colombian equipment. Approximately 30% of the series was filmed in Valencia, compared to 70% recorded in Bogotá and surroundings. “Antena 3 wanted to develop a series that had that Latin American point of view, a history of Spaniards but that took place largely in Colombia,” says Natxo López, creator of Lost. He highlights the “internationalization of the series in general and of the Spanish in particular.” “Before in Latin America came a lot of Spanish fiction, but sometimes it came later. Now in Spain you start thinking about that market too; not only that you like it in Spain, but also outside. Lost it is a series designed for that, it will have a later tour and we believe that in Latin America it can have a good fit, “says López.
For Géraldine Gonard, in recent years there has been a change in the consumption of series in Latin America that has driven this greater link: “there were many soap operas there, but the platforms arrived and the audience began to see other content with seasons shorter. The chains then needed to produce shorter series, and narratively they didn’t know how to do it. They have spectacular knowledge in many things, but not in the short story. In addition, they financially needed partners, because a soap opera costs much less to produce than a series ” .
As a sign of the great moment of Spanish in the series and the breaking of the frontiers of Spanish-speaking productions, this year the first edition of May will be held in Granada between May 25 and 30 Iberseries, festival of television series in Spanish. “It is time to value Spanish-speaking talent and the connection and encounter between the two shores. It makes more sense than ever co-productions, mixing talent, for actors to travel to both sides,” says Raúl Berdonés, president of the Secuoya Foundation, promoter of Iberseries.
Another proof of the power of Spanish in the audiovisual world is Netflix’s decision to move its headquarters in Latin America from São Paulo to Mexico City. “Consumers across the region have joined Netflix,” the company said in a statement. A year ago, the platform has already declared its intention to expand its presence in Mexico with the launch of more than 50 projects. In addition, Netflix established its first production site in Europe in Madrid, in the town of Tres Cantos, which serves as a port of access to the European and Spanish-speaking markets at the same time.
This bet has contributed to increase relations in Netflix productions in Spain and Mexico. An example is the series The house of flowers, by director Manolo Caro, a success – difficult to quantify, because the platform does not provide audience data – in Spain and Latin America. If in the first season the Spanish actor Paco León already appeared, in the second the cast added the additions of María León, a brief appearance by Eduardo Casanova and Eduardo Rosa. The second season also shot some scenes in Madrid.
In his second series for the platform, Caro moves filming to Spain in a new union between the two countries. Someone has to die, a three-episode miniseries that will be released in the fall will reflect the conservative society in 1950s Spain. The series is starring Spanish, Mexican and Argentine actors such as Carmen Maura, Cecilia Suárez, Ernesto Alterio, Alejandro Speitzer and the dancer Isaac Hernández.