VARIETY: Beta Film Rolls Out Alex Pina, Esther Martinez Lobato’s ‘The Pier’
MIAMI — Clinching more deals on one of Mipcom's highest-profile premieres, Beta Film has closed early major territory sales on Movistar + Original "El Embarcadero" ("The Pier"), Alex Pina and Esther Martínez-Lobato's follow-up to Netflix phenomenon "La casa de papel" ("Money Heist"), identified by the streaming giant in its first-quarter results last April as its most-watched non English-language series ever.
Starring Alvaro Morte, "Money Heist's" Profesor, and produced in association with Atresmedia Studios – one of the first series to see the light of day at the new Spanish studio – and Pina and Martinez Lobato's Vancouver Media, the romantic thriller has sold to HBO for Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Portugal. Yandex has bought rights to Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and all CIS countries.
A comparably rare production which, despite the large standing of its creators – now signed up by Netflix in an output deal – has not been picked up by a global digital platform, "The Pier" will also air on Belgium's Telenet, the Netherlands Ziggo, and HOT in Israel. Blue TV has acquired rights to Turkey.
Movistar Telefonica's pay TV/OTT platform holds Spanish distribution rights. The series looks set to air in some sold territories soon after its Spanish premiere last Friday when Movistar + released all eight episodes to strong local reviews, newspaper ABC calling Alex Pina the "one of our fiction Messis," in reference to the soccer genius.
Described by Pina and Martínez-Lobato as writing without the safety net of "guns," and a conscious attempt to move outside their comfort zone of penitentiary ("Vis-a-Vis) and heist ("La Casa de Papel") genre thrillers.
A sensual emotional thriller, in Martinez Lobato's words, "The Pier" is set in a near futurist-looking Spanish-city of Valencia, packed with gleaming modern architectural standouts which form a marked contrast to the spectacular Albufera National Park, a network of lagos and rice fields. It turns on an accomplished architect Alex (Verónica Sánchez, "Morocco") who is confronted with the alleged suicide of her husband. Investigating on her own, she discovers the secret double-life he had led with another woman Verónica (Irene Arcos, "Vis-a-Vis"). Alex takes on a false identity and moves in with Verónica to find out why she pushed Oscar to lived this other existence. But she begins to discover her own unsuspected new depths and desires.
"La Casa de Papel" already pushed the envelope on conventional morality siding much more with the bank robbers than the forces of order, and suggesting everyone, however marginalized has a complex inner life. "The Pier" looks set to continue this – Season 2 is already in post-production – questioning such concepts as monogamy and fidelity. Jesús Colmenar and Alex Rodrigo direct a series whose shot set-up style is far closer to cinema than traditional TV.