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Netflix Announces Second Spanish Series, ‘Elite’

Variety logo Variety 7/13/2017 Jamie Lang
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Following the success of its first original Spanish series “Las chicas del cable”, released in April, Netflix is teaming with Spain’s Zeta Audiovisual, producer of milestone teen-targeting movies such as the Warner Bros. distributed “I Want You,” to develop and produce its second Spanish original series, “Elite,” set for global release in in 2019.

Two prominent Spanish TV writers – Carlos Montero and Dario Madrona -have created “Elite.”

Montero wrote Daniel Calparsoro’s 2013 action-romance movie  “Combustión,” produced by Zeta, which near sold out worldwide, and 2016’s femme-skewed romcom, “Don’t Blame the Karma For Being a Jerk,” a Zeta Cinema-Sony Pictures Spain co-production. Madrona spent the last decade writing for some of Spanish TV’s most popular series including, “Acusados”, and “Génesis.”

A teen murder mystery, “Elite” takes place in Las Encinas, the most elite high school in Spain. The students at the school belong to families of high status and significant financial means, apart from three newcomers who were granted admission after their public school was destroyed by an earthquake. The clash of cultures leads to an escalating series of confrontations, culminating in murder.

“Elite” will focus on a Montague-Capulet dynamic as forbidden friendships, loves and sex will threaten the established fabric of the school’s social hierarchy.

The film and TV arm of Spain’s Zeta Group, one of its biggest publishing and communication conglomerates, Zeta Audiovisual has been behind such successes as 2016 breakout romcom “Now or Never,” which earned $9.5 million in Spain in 2015,  romantic melodrama “I Want You” which tallied $15.2 million) in Spain and a remarkable $5.8 million in Russia, and upscale espionage thriller “Smoke & Mirrors,” which won Eduard Fernandez best actor at San Sebastian last year.

Erik Barmack, Netflix international vice president of original series, commented: “We are excited to be working with producers and writers so relevant to the Spanish industry on a very different teen thriller that will push across borders and thrill a global audience.”

“Making series for young people is very exciting because it is a time in life in which everything is transcendental,” added Zeta Audiovisual’s Francisco Ramos, “Elite”producer.

He observed: “We are really delighted to be working on a series about the desire and need to fit into a society in which everything is seemingly perfect, but in which everything can get worse.”

Zeta Audiovisual produced TV series “El síndrome de Ulises” and “Cazadores de hombres” but to date it has scored its biggest triumphs with movies, producing a wide-ranging slate.

This includes multiple big-screen adaptations of Zeta’s publishing properties (such as for “Superlopez,” now in production, and one of the biggest upcoming comedies in Spain), auteur thrillers (“Smoke & Mirrors”), comedies and teen melodramas, such as romancer “Three Meters Above the Sky,” the highest-grossing Spanish film of 2010, earning $10 million ($11.4 million) in Spain. No other Spanish movie producer has shown such a sure grasp of the interests of Spanish teen audiences.

Ramos’ career dates back to the early 1990s, when he handled film buys and production at the then-Zeta owned broadcast network Antena 3 TV.

“I am excited at producing ‘Elite’ at this stage of my career. This is a lot of fun. with the golden age of series, I can now achieve in TV what I wanted to do with movies in the last few years,” Ramos said.

He added: “Producers, directors, and writers can now go back and forth between film and TV. Netflix especially has been very good in this sense in that that they bring together two different media.”

Shownrun by Ramon Campos and Teresa Fernandez-Valdés at Bambu Producciones (“Velvet,” “Grand Hotel”),“Las chicas del cable” has been renewed by Netflix for a third season. Its second will be released by Netflix this December.

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