Behind the Scenes of See You in Another Life

Jorge and Alberto Sánchez-Cabezudo talk to World Screen about their critically acclaimed Disney+ Spanish original See You in Another Life (Nos vemos en otra vida), which tackles the devastating March 11, 2004, terrorist attack on the Madrid commuter train line.

Brothers Jorge and Alberto Sánchez-Cabezudo have been behind some of Spain’s most high-profile scripted series of the last few years, including Gran HotelVelvet and La Zona. With their latest project, See You in Another Life (Nos vemos en otra vida), for Disney+ around the world and available on Hulu in the U.S., the duo opted to take a deep dive into one of the darkest periods in contemporary Spanish history: the 2004 terrorist attack on the Madrid train system that resulted in the deaths of almost 200 people and injured more than 2,000.

“It’s the 20th anniversary of the attacks,” says Jorge. “It’s time to talk about it so the deep wound in Spanish society can be healed. When we met the victims of the attacks, we shared that we needed to have a common account of the facts.”

The victims “needed to be placed in the forefront,” adds Alberto. “Even if the story starts with the point of view of the criminals, our concern was to place the victims at the forefront, like a moral light on what happened. It was also important for us to talk about the pain it provoked.”

To tell the story of the 11M attacks, the Sánchez-Cabezudo brothers teamed with respected Spanish journalist Manuel Jabois, whose book Nos vemos en esta vida o en la otra explored the tragedy through the lens of Gabriel Montoya Vidal, nicknamed “Baby,” the teenager who unwittingly became involved in the incident when he agreed to transport a package that he thought contained drugs but actually was filled with dynamite.

“The first reaction when we read the book was, I’m not sure if a lot of people, even in Spain, know that the first person convicted for those crimes was a 16-year-old boy,” Alberto notes. “That really happened here in Spain? We thought it was an interesting starting point to talk about the bombing attacks.”

“There are two scales,” Jorge adds. “There’s the story about a neighborhood and a boy, with the scale of the bigger bombing attack in Europe. We thought it talked about the banality of evil. It’s a very everyday story, in everyday life, and confronting horror.”

Over six episodes, the production—made in collaboration with Kubik Films—touches upon three different time periods: 2004, 2007 and 2014. On how they mapped out the arc of the show, Alberto notes, “Baby doesn’t regret what he did. It’s very uncomfortable. You follow the boy because he doesn’t know what he’s doing in the beginning. But you have to confront that he doesn’t regret it and the consequences. We wanted this timeline from the moment he was convicted till the trial. That allowed us to have, in the fifth episode, the testimony of the victims. The victims are at the forefront of the TV show and have their own words to talk about the bombings.”

The Sánchez-Cabezudo brothers have been at the forefront of Spain’s rising profile in scripted and have been eagerly taking advantage of opportunities to bring their storytelling to outlets around the world.

“Spain has grown a lot, and there are possibilities of being global in that way,” Alberto says. “We are now able to do a local show, and it could be placed globally. It’s amazing, and we are quite sensitive to that. We try to look for those stories that can be local but also are human and can compel an audience everywhere.”