Spanish broadcaster and streaming platform Movistar Plus has made major strides in the world of premium original production by teaming up with renowned creative talents to produce some of the Iberian Peninsula’s finest series.
One such example can be seen in the upcoming dramatic thriller “They all lie», Produced by Filmax. It recently premiered at Vitoria FestVal and will feature in this year’s Mipcom Beta Film lineup as a market screening before it airs in Spain in December.
“They All Lie” (“Todos Mienten”) marks the latest offering from the designer Pau Freixas, one of the most prolific creators of Spanish television who now works as a showrunner.
The series takes place in Belmonte, a posh town on the Catalan coast, the series takes place in a tight-knit community of friends and colleagues, where everyone knows too much about other people’s affairs. Things especially heat up when a video goes viral of popular local high school teacher Macarena (Irene Arcos) having sex with her 18-year-old student Iván (Lucas Nabor), who is also the son of her best friend. and colleague.
Co-writer and director of Albert Espinosa’s hit Filmax “Polseres vermelles”, the most remade Spanish drama format of all time – including the American adaptation “The Red Band Society” at ABC – Freixas’ recent credits include Netflix’s “Welcome to the Family” and “Three Days of Christmas”, also reformatted, as well as “I Know Who You Are”, a critical and audience hit produced by Filmax and Mediaset España.
Freixas’ impressive curriculum vitae and his ability to strike an often difficult balance between author storytelling and wide commercialization make him one of Spain’s most sought-after creators and an ideal candidate to be among the top performers. big hitters creating original content at Movistar Plus.
However, while some of the company’s broadcasts have conformed to an increasingly standardized international model both thematically (abandoning traditional Spanish melodrama for more subdued realism) and in format (abandoning traditions of several decades of 75-minute episodes), Freixas’ work often finds its charm and commercial appeal in sticking to long-standing Spanish television customs. They still feel like TV series.
In the format, however, Freixas has conformed in many ways to the new status quo, opting for a tight six-episode streak to tell the story of “They All Lie” and using cutting-edge production techniques. The series looks and sounds as good as anything produced in Europe, and demonstrates the ambitious nature of the original Movistar Plus range.
For Barcelona-born Freixas, a series that takes place almost in his own garden had to retain a uniquely Spanish authenticity in its narrative, while adhering to the ever-changing standards of high-end international drama. The characters’ demeanor and language have a colloquial expression that is complemented by popular Spanish music, celebrations and, most importantly, a sense of melodrama that has always been a distinctive part of local storytelling. It also features a dark Spanish sense of humor which, unlike the more traditional comedy produced for national television, tends to travel well and gives “They All Lie” an added level of attraction for foreign broadcasters and platforms. interested.
“The moments of tension in the show, the emotionality of the characters, the drivers that drive the story and the codes of the genre must all be universal,” explains Freixas. “But what is true is that the world in which these things happen, the culture that surrounds the characters, has to come from a genuine starting point.”
Commissioned by Movistar Plus, the pay-TV and streaming arm of European telecommunications giant Telefonica, for the show to be successful it must first make it in Spain and attract a large and diverse audience. For Movistar, working with Freixas is hardly a gamble in this regard. Few of the resumes among Spanish television screenwriters have as much audience success as Freixas, and few creators seem to get along so well with domestic audiences.
“I have a pretty broad perspective on things as a storyteller, and I don’t make series that are so complex that they turn viewers off or forget anyone,” he says. “I don’t intentionally write for large audiences, but the kind of series I do tends to do well with mainstream television audiences. “
That’s not to say that Freixas’ series, especially “They All Lie”, are straightforward. In fact, his latest is loaded with twists and time jumps to keep audiences on their toes. However, Freixas doesn’t cheat or lie to his audience, instead letting the characters do it for him, as his story answers most of the questions he asks himself along the way.
Freixas’ strong relationship with the national public is reinforced by the recent introduction of the role of showrunner in the Spanish industry. In Spain, very few creators enjoy a level of autonomy granted to Freixas, who received full creative control with “They All Lie” and is credited as creator, screenwriter, director and producer.
The last time Freixas got that chord length from a broadcaster, he did “I know who you are,” and Movistar is hoping for similar results when they air “They All Lie” in December.