Filmax Closes 3Cat Hit ‘Dating in Barcelona’ to Prime Video for Latin America, as 3Cat Readies Johan Cruyff Doc ‘The Signing’ (EXCLUSIVE)

MIAMI — In two signs of the growing dynamism of Catalonia’s TV scene, Barcelona-based film-TV indie studio Filmax has licensed “Dating in Barcelona” to Amazon’s Prime Video.

Produced by Filmax, Catalan public broadcaster 3Cat and Prime Video in Spain, “Dating in Barcelona” bowed last year in Spain to big ratings, both on its first-window debut on 3Cat and on Prime Video, where it bowed to become one of the streaming service’s most-watched debuts. A modern take on romance and sex in an online age, “Dating in Barcelona” also reflects a swing in TV towards a lighter, more episodic fare, whether in crime thrillers or other categories. Each episode features two dates which, as Variety has observed, play off each other.

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Powered in creative terms by Pau Freixas, behind iconic series from “Red Band Society” to “I Know Who You Are” and “Todos Mienten,” all produced by Filmax, “Dating in Barcelona” features a top-tier cast, taking in Carmen Machi (“La Mesías”), Laia Costa (“Un Amor”) and Carlos Cuevas (“Smiley”).

“We’re extremely happy that Prime Video is bringing our beloved show “Dating in Barcelona” to Latin American audiences. It’s been great to collaborate with the Prime Video team in Spain, and 3Cat, to make this season happen and we’re so much looking forward to a possible new one,” said Iván Díaz, head of international at Filmax, which sells all rights outside Spain.

“We’ve done regional deals in the past with global clients like this one and we think it’s a model that works well for both parties. Selling is about getting the right client for the product in every territory and frequently the shows can get a better exposure if we combine several clients and different types of companies,” Díaz added. “Prime Video has been generous enough to understand this and make this non-exclusive acquisition for Latin America.”

Airing on 3Cat as it builds its AVOD streaming service, which last week reached 750,000 subscribers from an October 2023 launch, said 3Cat Pío Vernis, “Dating in Barcelona” is a star product, a flagship of the reconfiguration of the Catalan public broadcaster, which will turn ever more on its streaming service.

Nominated for Content Americas’ Rose d’Or Latinos, awarded Tuesday night, “Dating in Barcelona” reflects the fluid mix of Catalan and other languages, such as Castillian, in social life in much of Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia. The fact the series is traveling with Catalan in its original version is great,” he said, instancing prior examples of “Polseres Vermelles,” the Catalan original engendering format hit “The Red Band Society” and “Merli.”

“We have the firm intention to make a second season,” he added.

Following the launch of its streaming service, 3Cat is powering up Originals to drive its subscriber base. One which is sure to cause waves is “The Signing,” showrun by Justin Webster, behind non-fiction series “Six Dreams” (2018, 2020) and “Nisman – The Prosecutor, the President and the Spy” (2019), a large hit at 2019 San Sebastian Festival.

Heavily nuanced and hugely researched, Webster’s films and series include character-driven investigations, constructed through testimonies, archive and recreations, and vérité style personal stories, unfolding in the present,” according to a self-description.


Dating in Barcelona
Dating in Barcelona

That will dovetail very well with “The Signing,” an investigation of how on earth F.C. Barcelona managed to sign Cruyff in 1973 when foreigners were banned from playing in Spain. By then, Cruyff had emerged as the architect of the modern soccer game, revolutionizing its pace and mobility and passing game. Why did he leave Ajax, where he won three European Cups in a row over 1971-73, for Barcelona, not then near to the soccer powerhouse it now is?

Inherited by Pep Guardiola as a player and manager, Cruyff’s spirit shaped the playing style of one of the greatest sides in history, the early Messi Barcelona.

Cruyff’s signing was also an early sign as well of Catalonia’s headlong dash for modernity, after obliteration under arch conservative Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.

“’The Signing’ is about a soccer transfer that changed soccer history, and went far beyond sport: it was an operation full of intrigue, in defiance of a dictatorship, that made a natural rebel, Johan Cruyff, into an emblem of a changing Spain,” said “The Signing’s” executive producer Webster.

“I fell in love with soccer thanks to Cruyff’s attitude to the game – which I’d call existential. So it’s a joy for me to help tell the thrilling inside story of how he came to save Catalonia,” he added.

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