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‘The New Years,’ From ‘The Beasts’ Rodrigo Sorogoyen: Arte France Joins Movistar Plus+ on Awaited Series

UPDATED LILLE, France —  One of Spain’s most awaited drama series of the year, Rodrigo Sorogyen’s ‘The New Years’ will be co-produced by Spain’s Movistar Plus+, its original backer, and new partner Arte France, the upscale French public broadcaster.

Going into production last year on Oct. 2, and shooting in Madrid, Lyon (France) and Berlin (Germany), the series is produced in collaboration with Madrid-based independent production house Caballo Films (“Riot Police,” “The Route”), co-founded by Sorogoyen.

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Movistar Plus+ International will handle distribution outside Spain and France. Arte France’s involvement guarantees the 10-part series’ distribution in all the territories where it operates.

Set on the same day every year for a decade, New Year’s Eve, “The New Years” stars Iria del Río (“El Inmortal,” “El increíble finde menguante,” “Riot Police”) and Francesco Carril (“Un amor,” “La reconquista,” “Galgos”). Ana and Óscar, meet at 30 and start a relationship which lasts 10 years.

The period from 30 to 40 is “a crucial decade for all of us,” Sorogoyen commented when the new series was announced. “During these years, we make vital decisions and we have a sense of maturity, but it’s hard to leave youth behind,” he added.

The series’ Episode 10 is a 40-minute sequence shot, an instance ofSorogoyen’s signature technical virtuosity. “The New Years” has just finished filming after shooting in the Madrid region,  Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha, Lyon in France and Berlin.

Executive produced by Sorogoyen, the series is created by Sara Cano, Paula Fabra and Sorogoyen, who directs with Sandra Romero and David Martín de los Santos.

It marks the latest production from Sorogoyen, director of “The Beasts,” the Best Foreign Film winner at France’s 2023 Cesar Awards, which followed on his acclaimed “Riot Police,” and his episode in “Offworld,” chosen by Variety as one the best international series of 2022.

“The New Years” underscores Movistar Plus+’s talent-driven production strategy which offers creators the possibility of making both series – “The New Years,” “Riot Police,” “Offworld” – and now movies, Movistar Plus+ unveiling its first movie slate in January, which includes a new feature by Sorogoyen, ““El ser querido.”

Arte France’s co-production of “The New Years” was announced Wednesday at a Series Mania keynote by Domingo Corral, director of fiction and entertainment at Movistar Plus+.

Arte France’s “vision about content and huge experience in producing distinguished and touching stories, will add great value to ‘The New Years,’” Corral said Thursday in a written statement.

“It’s a true pleasure to renew our production commitment with our friends from Movistar Plus+ after the two great seasons of ‘Hierro,’” said Alexandre Piel, Arte France deputy head of drama.

“The co-production with Arte France is very important for Caballo Films. It’s a great boost and it comes to reinforce Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s career in Europe,” noted Nacho Levilla, a partner-producer at Caballo Films.

“We are truly pleased with the final outcome after the shooting, and we are sure that Movistar Plus+ and Arte France partnership will give the series a relevant reach and a great international exposure,” he added.

Arte France’s co-production of “The New Years” was announced Wednesday at a Series Mania keynote by Domingo Corral, director of fiction and entertainment at Movistar Plus+. At it, he drilled down on Movistar Plus’ original content, interviewed by Variety’s Marta Balaga.

Long before the streamers’ pullback, Movistar Plus+ produced 10 original series a year. “We’ve been doing that for nearly the last ten years now. It’s going to be ten years next year. This, I would say, is unbelievable, being part of a telco company,” Corral commented on stage at Series Mania.

“I think TV is about quality,” citing the three years of production of “La Mesías.” You have to have talent with a vision, give them confidence,” said Corral.

“I don’t know how to do shows which are not local. If you have to make a show  which is authentic it has to be grounded in a reality,” he added.

Shows highlighted took in a “La Mesías,” seen via a trailer, written-directed-produced by Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo, following up “Veneno,” and a big-budget. genre and period-hopping tale of a brother and sisters’ battle with childhood trauma which was the only European drama series selected for this year’s Sundance.

“We’re trying to do is cutting edge programming, high quality content, stories with a vision,” Corral said.  “You need to have talent with a vision. That’s critical. And you have to share the same vision that they do. And then to help them bring their best version of themselves and you have to give them the confidence and resources to tell the story that that they want to,” Corral added. “With those elements, probably there are others, but I think with those, at least you have a good start to keep making shows of these type of shows.” 

In a far different vein, but another significant play for Movistar Plus+, criminal comedy “Marbella” turns on a sweet-talking defence attorney, Cesar, who defends mafias which live happily enough side by side in Marbella, “the U.N. of organised crime,” he says. But his ambition lands him in deep waters.

Corral also talked up “Querer,” the first TV series from Alauda Ruíz de Azua, whose feature debut, “Lullaby,” was described by Pedro Almodovar as the “best debut in Spanish cinema in years.”

An intimate family drama mixed with elements of psychological drama, said Corral, it is set in Ruíz de Alauda’s lush native Basque Country. The story, like “Lullaby,” delivers once more some uncomfortable home truths about women’s role in traditional family structures. It turns on a woman who, after 30 years of seemingly perfect marriage, files for divorce, accusing her husband of sexual abuse.

“Alauda has an ability to look at people with compassion but without judging them, and it puts you in a position in which you don’t know who’s telling the truth.” Corral said. “The series explores micro machismo, which is probably the most difficult machismo to fight.”

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