‘Gente Hablando’ Creator Alvaro Carmona Teases Latest Atresmedia Launch ‘Show Yourself’: ‘Being Authentic Today Is a Real Challenge’

Stifled artist-in-wait Ana Callet (Macarena Sanz) lives in the chaotic shadows of her boss, clandestine creative phenom Bassil. When she notices a rare condition is slowly causing her to disappear, she’s forced to leave her lucrative career behind and set out toward the cure for her ailment, which consists of sifting through a winding personal purgatory that nudges her toward metamorphosis.

“Show Yourself” (“Dejate Ver”), the latest from International Emmy-nominee Álvaro Carmona (“Gente Hablando”), is a refreshing take on self-discovery that treads beyond the barrage of the madcap folly Ana’s forced to wade through, the plot dotted with heartwarming revelations throughout, turning the allure of surface-level acceptance on its head to champion deeper, steadfast connection.

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“The series has a strong authorial stamp, but nevertheless, it deals with universal themes that anyone can identify with, such as the concept of identity, personal fulfilment, the world of art and entertainment, loneliness, the idea of family or today’s relationship with technology, all of this through subtle and insightful humor,” José Antonio Salso, head of acquisitions and sales at Atresmedia, told Variety ahead of its debut this week at Series Mania in Lille, France.

Distributed internationally  by Atresmedia TV and commissioned for Atresplayer, Salso relayed that the series, “is already generating significant interest thanks to the unique and clever way in which it addresses the issues.”

A co-production between Atresmedia TV (“La Ruta”) and Buendía Estudios (“Veneno”), the series is a showcase of reluctant yet radical authenticity in an era where brand deals and social media followers dictate worth.

The eight-part series uses slight camp and satire to further comment on the trivial pursuit of fame and the high cost of sacrificing desires to appease the ever-vapid masses, something that comes naturally to Carmona and has been seen in his prior cultural critiques, most notably in his short film “The Treatment,” that utilizes the same tone to question the banality of an increasingly self-absorbed populace.

“I come from the world of comedy: Sketch comedy, late night TV, standup. Although my interests have expanded to more dramatic narratives, comedy is something that’s part of me, it’s my way of relating to the world and with people. In fact, it’s not even something I think about when approaching a project. The important thing is to find what I want to say. Once I have it, I know that one way or another, the comedy will be there,” Carmona admits.

The endearing ensemble cast is rounded out by Joan Amargós (“Cucut”), Irene Minovas (“Out of Synch”), Ivan Massagué (“The Platform”), Miki Esparbé (“Smiley”), Oscar Ladoire (“Opera Prima”), César Tormo (“Després de Tu”), “Nene” Carlos Librado (“La Moderna”) and Ramón Barea (“Cinco Lobitos”).

Together, they navigate a distinctive yet broadly relatable concept with absurd whimsy on board to usher an audience into the dystopian fittings of their universe. As binge-worthy episodes take flight, each zany character contributes en masse to the protagonist’s wild journey.

“One of the pillars of ‘Show Yourself’ was trying to do something that had a unique tone. I was very afraid to do something that the viewer would feel that they’d already seen. Nowadays, when dozens of series are released every week, it was quite a challenge,” Carmona shared.

“Being authentic today is a real challenge. Whether we like it or not, we’re bombarded daily with manufactured stimuli about what defines success; and we unconsciously create a kind of canon to aspire to. In the case of ‘Show Yourself,’ Ana’s also a painter; and often, we artists let the perception of what we create dictate not only the value of our work, but also our own value,” he added.

Glimpses of the surreal work to blur the lines between the imaginary and hyper-realistic portions of the storyline, a technique slowly becoming a hallmark of Carmona’s gripping, singular style and an aesthetic, on-screen, boon that draws viewers into increasingly bizarre happenings portraying amplified versions of current events and creature comforts increasingly familiar to modern-day-denizens.

“Without giving spoilers about the concept, the problem that Ana faces arose because it contained the perfect amount of magical realism that I sought for the series. At the same time, it opened a door to talk about topics that I found interesting: Identity, creative frustration, the circus that is the art world, family, superficiality, ” Carmona admitted.

“Even before I started writing, I was very clear that I wanted the series to criticize the universe we live in, but from a different perspective. Very slightly different, but enough to be able to look at ours with some distance,” Carmona relayed.

“In fact, this was one of the reasons I wrote the pilot before pitching: I felt that if I had to explain it, it would sound very complex, but I knew that narratively it would fit perfectly with the story in a simple way. The idea is that first you laugh at how crazy something is, and then you think ‘but we’re not that far from this actually happening.’”

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