This month, in the picturesque northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela, content executives from Latin America, the U.S. Hispanic market and Europe will convene to facilitate a new age of collaboration at the inaugural Conecta FICTION taking place from June 20 to 23.
“I had an idea to create an event, a moment, where we can put together the two continents and cultures—the European and Latin flavors,” says Géraldine Gonard, the director of Conecta FICTION. “I had received calls like, I’m looking for a Chilean director, I’m looking for an Argentine actress; could you recommend someone? Or a call from Mexico saying, We are looking for a huge co-production between Spain, Mexico and the U.S. I was like, Wow, let’s find a place and a moment to have these people meet and find common projects.”
Backed by Axencia Galega das Industrias Culturais (AGADIC) of Xunta de Galicia, ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones and Fundación SGAE, Conecta FICTION comes in response to the changing dynamics in the Spanish-language content landscape. After years of seeing its scripted sector contract since the 2009 downturn, Spain is witnessing new life—and money—coming into the drama business. And Latin American content producers are responding to changing consumer trends as viewers demand more than long-running soapy telenovelas.
An example of a new breed of Spain-LatAm collaboration is IOSI, the Repentant Spy, based on the novel by Miriam Lewin and Horacio Lutzky, which hails from Oficina Burman in Argentina and is being developed with Spain’s MEDIAPRO. The two companies are also collaborating on Stroke, penned by Daniel Burman, and Edha, which is the first Argentine original for Netflix. MEDIAPRO’s U.S. base in Miami, Imagina US, meanwhile, is working with Argos on Habeas Corpus and The Lord of Money.
“LatAm is a strategic territory for MEDIAPRO Group, and we have offices in Miami, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico and Cuba,” says Javier Méndez, the company’s head of content. “We are working with the best talent and developing amazing content for key players, including platforms, broadcasters and production companies in the region. Latin America is a natural market for Spain—we share the language and part of the history. For us it’s a key territory to determine new trends. LatAm and Spain are open to taking risks in content production and broadcasting, both becoming innovative territories inside the audiovisual market.”
“South America is doing more and more short formats, not just long soap operas or telenovelas,” Gonard observes. “There are Europeans who are more experienced in co-producing, who have been doing it for a long time and are also looking for new talent, new ideas, new creatives. Everybody is looking to South America as a new source of innovative creations.”
Gonard stresses that Conecta FICTION is a networking event rather than a market. “We are going to focus on talent and business topics. We are going to speak about the work of directors, scriptwriters, producers. Conecta FICTION wants to connect both worlds: the talent world with the industry.”
Attendees can participate in a wide range of pitching sessions, conferences and roundtables, as well as share and exchange their experience in co-production through case studies. European companies such as Mediaset, TF1, ARTE, ZDF and Pinewood will attend the event, which will also see large participation from Latin American and U.S. companies such as Univision, Telemundo, RCN, Televisa and TV Azteca, to name only a few.
Among the conference highlights are a panorama on Spain, Europe and Latin America, including a specific spotlight on Argentina, which is the country of honor for this first edition. Roundtables will address the challenges of co-producing between Europe and the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets. The discussion will also touch on the tax incentives offered in various countries.
Additionally, ten international TV co-production projects selected by a prestigious editorial committee and six Spanish TV projects selected from the SGAE laboratories will be presented during the pitching sessions in front of the key players from the audiovisual industry. Movistar+ and RTVE will each grant a development contract to a project. The ten finalist projects of Conecta FICTION’s International Co-Pro Pitching Session 2017 are Ines of My Soul (Chilevision), Strange Fishing Sundays (Laniakea), Penumbra (Dynamo Producciones), Amargura Street (Ficción Producciones), Invisible Heros (YLE Drama), Crack (StoryLab), Madame (Endemol Shine Israel), Sixth Sense High (beActive Entertainment), Love in Times of Tinder (Belle Films) and Malinche, The True Conquest of an Empire (Eureka TV).
Conecta FICTION will also give the floor to creative talents such as music composers and directors to talk about their works and international experience. The event will additionally place the spotlight on new and innovative ways of storytelling through branded content and digital series.