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“Television is no longer cinema’s little brother”

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Domingo Corral • Head of original production, Movistar+

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- SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: We sat down with Domingo Corral, head of original production at Movistar+, at the Basque event, which this year screened the TV series The Plague and Vergüenza

Domingo Corral  • Head of original production, Movistar+

Domingo Corral has headed up the original production department at Movistar+ for the last two years, and the projects he has launched in that time are already starting to bear fruit. The first two episodes of The Plague, a series directed by Alberto Rodríguez (Marshland [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Alberto Rodríguez
film profile
]
), were included in the official section – out of competition – of the recent 65th San Sebastián Film Festival, and Vergüenza, helmed by Juan Cavestany (People in Places [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) and Álvaro Fernández Armero, was shown in Zabaltegi.

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Cineuropa: Having been in the job for two years now, how would you evaluate your time as head of original production?
Domingo Corral:
 We’ve spent two years scouting for talent, writing, developing and producing. So far, the assessment has been very positive. The quality of the series that we are starting to show is very high: it’s the first time that a series like The Plague has been in the official section of a festival like San Sebastián. And The Zone, by the Sánchez-Cabezudo brothers, has been selected for the Sitges Film Festival.

How is the series that Cesc Gay – another of your most prestigious filmmakers – directed for you progressing?
It has been shot and is at the editing stage: I’ve just seen the first two episodes. It’s called Félix, it stars Leonardo Sbaraglia and it’s going to be pretty unique: all of the series that we make have their own personality. They are created by talented directors, and this is reflected in the final result.

How did you recruit, for example, Alberto Rodríguez to direct The Plague?
I had been following Alberto ever since he filmed 7 Virgins [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, and I even thought After [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which didn’t have the commercial run it deserved, was wonderful. And when we were thinking about making series, he was the first filmmaker that popped into my mind. He shot Marshland while we were already talking about making The Plague. Alberto was initially sceptical: being a film director, the televisual format didn’t appeal to him and I had to convince him that TV is going through a great period right now. We met up and he told me about his idea revolving around 16th-century Seville, the most important city in the Western world. It had this huge disparity between wealth and poverty, and to top it all, it was afflicted by a plague outbreak. In addition, he wanted to place the camera in the streets, not in the palaces. It took two years of paperwork, writing and development to reach this point: there’s a lot of effort been put into The Plague.

Are you looking for the particular perspective of a film director?
Yes, but Alberto is perhaps the most cinematic of all our directors, because the Sánchez-Cabezudo brothers have made quite a bit of TV. Álvaro Fernández Armero has, too, although Cavestany hasn’t. Carlos Theron has also done some work with this medium: now he has directed Mira lo que has hecho, toplined by Berto Romero, for Movistar+. It’s not so much about coming from one medium or another, but rather about having your own unique point of view, which will ensure that, in a world where there are so many audiovisual attractions on offer, it makes you stand out from the rest.

Film festivals are increasingly incorporating series into their programmes: are the boundaries becoming blurred?
I think people are still making some very good films, but television has matured so much on a narrative level. Here in Spain, in the 1980s, there were some fantastic series being made, helmed by film directors, but it was more sporadic. Now it’s a widespread trend: the boundary between film and television has become fuzzy. TV is no longer cinema’s little brother: many directors make the leap to television because they can tell stories that they wouldn’t be able to tackle in a film.

(Translated from Spanish)

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