Canal Plus to develop original prods

First project will be 'Crematorium' adaptation

MADRID -- In a monumental shift in strategy, Spanish pay-channel Canal Plus announced Wednesday it will start with original productions, departing from its tradition of buying finished product and promising ambitious and daring projects.

"We believe the time has come for Canal Plus, as all the brand leaders in pay-TV in different markets, to put into play ambitious, original productions of high quality that mark a difference," Canal Plus Director Miguel Salvat said. "It's a long-term and strong plan, decided as part of a strategy upon which to base the identity of Canal Plus in the future."

The projects lined up boast top drawer credentials, with "Sea Inside" producer Fernando Bovaira producing the first series, "Crematorium," based on the 2008 National Critics' Prize novel of the same name and directed by Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo.

"We want to create the conditions so that the best talents of our country can develop with the greatest creative freedom possible. We aspire to do things that no one is doing on television," said Canal Plus' Director of Content and Acquisitions Alex Martinez Roig. "The better our collaborators, the better the result and more satisfying for our clients. We think the first two projects satisfy all the criteria."

"Crematorium," which will be produced by Bovaira's Mod Productions, chronicles the past 15 years in Spain, starting with tremendous economic growth; increased wealth and purchasing power; and the hard-hitting financial crisis.

"The brand of Canal Plus has always been associated with quality," Bovaira said. "Developing original fiction for the channel is great news for its clients and for production in Spain since it opens doors to entertainment series with greater risk, distinction and innovation than what the free-to-air channels can offer."

The second project on the slate is defined by Canal Plus as a high-risk "disturbing game between fiction and reality" produced and directed by David Trueba.

"Canal Plus is the perfect place for this experience," Trueba said, "because it's a container that allows for risk and adventure, without being enslaved to fight for a mass audience.

"It's a challenge to develop an ambitious and disturbing project that breaks the limits of conventional fiction, without losing entertainment value and the viewers' enjoyment," continued Trueba.

The announcement comes less than a week after the government-approved legislation that effectively drops the obligatory 5% of revenue quota broadcasters are required to invest in domestic film production to 3%.
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