CTV, Promoting the Internationalization of Galician Fiction

Emiliano de Pablos
13 April 2023
Motel Valkirias

Motel Valkirias

“We're trying to find what it is that really sets us apart at a time when there's such an abundance of content.” Ghaleb Jaber Martínez, producer, CTV

Founded by Ghaleb Jaber Ibrahim in 1985, Santiago de Compostela CTV enjoys a privileged position among Spanish producers, with three entertainment programs in the weekly primetime slots on Televisión de Galicia. The company's move into international fiction production has been successful, and the aim is to continue growing. 

In 2018, CTV Producciones Audiovisuales, in partnership with TVG and Mexico's Comarex, produced the Galician thriller O Sabor das Margaridas, which was acquired by Netflix and remained in the streamer's Top Ten most watched non-English-language series in the UK and Ireland for several months. A pioneering move for Spanish fiction.
Motel Valkirias, co-produced with Portugal's SPi and with the participation of TVG and RTP channels, has been available since March 1 to be enjoyed as part of the HBO Max offer, and has been sold to operators such as GloboPlay in Brazil through the Spanish agency Onza Distribución.
“Both O sabor das margaridas and Motel Valkirias, filmed in Galician, have served to coin the term Galician Noir, almost a sub-genre of Spanish fiction,” says Jaber Martínez, creator, producer and co-writer of both fiction series at CTV.
In the case of production company SPi, which collaborates very closely with Portuguese public broadcaster RTP, Motel Valkirias marked a step forward in the strategy initiated in 2017 aimed at developing content in co-production with Spanish companies.
CTV and SPi have also co-produced the fiction series Chegar a casa, broadcast by RTP in Portugal in 2021, and acquired by TVG for its premiere in Galicia.
In January, both production companies signed a strategic alliance to co-produce projects for the international market and move beyond the Iberian Peninsula.
“In the previous stage, our relationship was more circumstantial. Now, we collaborate on projects from the development side, and are trying to find what it is that really sets us apart at a time when there's such an abundance of content,” explains Jaber Martínez.
“We want to pave the way for a partnership that can be long-lasting if we find projects that are organic in their conception, with representation from both countries, and that ultimately generate international sales, the business model we are interested in.”
“Having TVG and RTP as local partners gives us a lot of peace of mind when approaching projects,” says Ghaleb, for whom this model also allows “greater creative freedom and the retention of part of the IP of each project.”


Projects in the pipeline
One of CTV's projects currently in development is the procedural series O xuíz Cunqueiro, written by Eligio R. Montero (Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas), which is a free adaptation of the novel Os outros feirantes by Álvaro Cunqueiro.
The series, set in a village in inland Galicia, is part of the fantasy drama genre and is mainly aimed at an adult cross-cultural audience.
Also being developed is O círculo de Gaia, a mystery thriller written by Lidia Fraga (Hierro, Padre Casares), aimed at a youth audience.
The romantic comedy Islamización, created by Jaber Martínez who wrote the screenplay together with Alba Araújo (Los Hombres de Paco, Motel Valkirias), tells the story of how, after a bet between two co-workers, one of them ends up converting to Islam and finding love.
Islamización aims to avoid stereotypes, and its objective is “to give a voice to people who, like me, grew up between two cultures, people who are seen as Arabs in the West, but treated as Europeans in the Arab world,” explains Jaber Martínez, who has Palestinian roots.
These projects are supported by the development grants received through the Galician Creative Industry Hub program, with funding from the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) managed by the Galician Agency for Cultural Industries at the Xunta de Galicia (AGADIC).

Co-production with Arab countries
Following the establishment of the partnership with Portugal, CTV is exploring a new avenue of co-production with Arab countries.
“There’s an untapped market of 500 million people, who have their own traditions and culture but with one key advantage: they all speak the same language.”
 “In Europe and Spain we don't yet see the Arab world as a close co-production partner, but there are networks like MBC that broadcast for the whole Arab world and produce high-budget series,” he points out.


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