One of Spain's most successful producers has launched "Mientras dure la guerra" by Amenábar, and is preparing his debut in made-for-TV fiction.
Last September 27, MOD Producciones, the company headed by Fernando Bovaira, premiered the movie “While at war” ("Mientras Dure la Guerra"), which represents Alejandro Amenábar's return to directing in Spanish after “The sea inside" (“Mar Adentro”), winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005.
"While at war" was recently screened in the Toronto and San Sebastián film festivals and is distributed internationally by Film Factory Entertainment. The film topped the box office during its first weekend in Spain, taking 1.2 million euros and cinema audiences of 182,439. "We are very satisfied with this result, which has exceeded our expectations. We are hopeful it will be sustained through the second weekend – just as important as the first – which will give an idea of the film's commercial trajectory", says Bovaira. "This is a film that does not a priori have a very commercial concept, but Amenábar is an excellent communicator and the movie is making a significant impression on audiences," he adds.
Bovaira is one of Spain's most successful producers and has long-standing international experience. As the head of Sogecine since 1996, Bovaira has been responsible for some of the biggest movies in the Spanish film industry in recent decades, including "The others" (2001) and "The sea inside" (2004), both directed by Amenábar, or "Mortadelo and Filemón's big adventure" (2003), by Javier Fesser.
Bovaira launched MOD Producciones in 2007, and the first movie it produced was "Ágora" (2009), also by Amenábar, which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and was the highest grossing film of the year in Spain.
MOD has also produced "Biutiful" (2010), by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, for which Javier Bardem won the Best Actor award at Cannes, and which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
In 2010, the company headed by Bovaira was a pioneer in the production of fiction for pay TV in Spain, with "Crematorio", screened on Canal+. Last year, in partnership with Movistar+, it produced the mini series entitled "El día de mañana".
"We are boutique production company and so far we have produced made-for-TV fiction in the form of miniseries based on novels or real stories, with the exception of "Cuerpo de élite" [a televised version of the movie of the same name produced for Atresmedia]", he says.
"When you're planning to produce a series, it's hard to know how much international scope you're going to have", he says.
"If you're making a series here for the local market, you shouldn't be aiming for the series to be an international smash hit. That will come later. What you have to make is a series that meets the goals you've set yourself from the start", he adds.
Although in recent years MOD has established solid links in the film world with producers from other countries such as Argentina when undertaking new movie projects ("While at war" and "Heroic Loosers” (“La odisea de los giles") are two recent examples), the option of co-producing fiction is approached with caution.
"Co-producing fiction with international partners is a difficult route to take, because the people who run this market – the platforms – want 100% control of intellectual property, and except in very specific cases, that's very difficult to accept", he says. "It's much simpler to offer a project to a platform and for them to take care of 100% of the funding".
In association with Movistar+, MOD is already working on the preparation phase of the project "El tesoro del Cisne Negro", an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Paco Roca and Guillermo Corral, which will mark Amenábar's debut as a director of made-for-TV fiction.
"This is our most ambitious project, and has a very high budget. The idea is to shoot in April next year, partly in the United States, practically half in English and half in Spanish and with a Spanish and international cast. It's a series with a degree of complexity."
The miniseries, which will have six episodes, transforms Spain's real-life struggle to recover the treasures from a frigate which sank in the 19th century, and subsequently located by the American marine salvage company Odyssey in the Gulf of Cadiz in 2007, into a story of political intrigue and adventure.