Shot partly in Navarre, Northern Spain, TV drama “3 Caminos” bowed Jan. 22 on Amazon Prime Video, as the region, a burgeoning film-TV hub and shoot locale, has just hiked its already substantial incentives for the audiovisual industry.
A six-episode TV drama, “3 Caminos” turns on five people of different nationalities that forge their friendship along the St. James Way in three particular moments of their lives. Laced with comedy, the three different pilgrimages, framing problems, conflicts and tensions of the ordinary world, also reveal the Way as a spiritual as well as physical journey.
For La Coruña-based Ficción Producciones, “3 Caminos” marks a first international TV drama foray. Set up at Ficción, the series was structured as a co-production with Amazon Prime Video, top European producer-distribution powerhouse Beta Film, South Korea’s 239 Studios and Portugal’s Cinemate.
Released as an Amazon Exclusive series in Spain, “3 Caminos’” German, French and Italian rights are handled by Beta Film; 239 Studios negotiating the series’ Korean SVOD launch.
At a time when IP ownership has become a burning issue for producers, the “3 Caminos” alliance underscores its benefits.
“This is a very good formula for an indie producer,” said Ficcion co-founder Mamen Quintas. “You bring to the table your creativity as a producer, make a production that partners want, and at the same time retain part of IP.”
Led by Quintas and producer Julio Casal, Ficción’s credits take in“Fun Polo Aire,” a daily show aired on Galician regional pubcaster TVG; toon series “Tutu,” broadcast on nationwide pubcaster RTVE’s children’s service Clan; and production services for the Galicia-set TV drama “Vivir sin permiso” (“Unauthorized Living”), a flagship Mediaset España drama series picked up worldwide by Netflix.
With a near €6 million ($7.2 million) budget, “3 Caminos’” costs have been part covered by tax incentives, plus added contributions from free-to-air broadcaster TVG and Portugal’s RTP.
The series also won the support of Galicia’s regional government via its Agency of Cultural Industries (AGADIC), after winning a 2018 contest to celebrate the cultural values of Xacobeo 2021, a St. James’ Holy Year.
Amazon’s presence was key for the project: In addition to paying a production fee, the streamer took on all the series’ promotion in Spain and internationally.
The Ficción partnership with Amazon now looks set to continue with the upcoming production of an untitled Amazon Exclusive bioseries project about Galician entrepreneur Amancio Ortega, founder of global fashion retail group Inditex.
Directed by Norberto López-Amado and Iñaki Mercero, “3 Caminos” shot from Feb. 2020 at Navarre’s Monastery of Leyre. The shoot was suspended on March 13 as Spain’s government imposed a nationwide lockdown. Shooting again from May 25, it was one of the earliest drama series to resume filming in Spain.
“We shot a lot in outdoor and indoor natural settings, with a team that was completely isolated from outside. This allowed us, with very strict measures and extra production costs, to continue shooting, respecting 90% of what was in the script,” Quintas said.
Ficción Producciones negotiated shoot facilities with Spain’s Navarre, La Rioja and Castilla-León regions, winning the support of their respective film commissions.
In Navarre, the series also shot at further emblematic locations such as Pamplona, Roncesvalles, Villava, Puente la Reina, Eunate, Adiós and Alto del Perdón.
“3 Caminos” bows as Navarre, which has its own tax regime, has greenlit new measures that increase corporate tax deductions from 35% to 40% for the first €1 million ($1.21 million) investment by Navarre-based companies in film and TV projects. Qualifying projects must be either animation and/or a documentary works, directed by newcomers and/or women, and/or Basque language-productions.
“We want to remain competitive with a long-term strategy that facilitates the stable development of our audiovisual industry,” said Sara Sevilla, Navarra Film Commission co-ordinator.
“Over recent years, we’ve worked hard to bring animation and documentaries to Navarre. We’ve decided now to expand the incentive to projects that are more difficult to carry out,” she added.
With the new increase in tax credits, a large variety of series and features looks likely to come to the region. One case in point: a new Netflix original TV drama “Tú no eres especial,” which is scheduled to roll completely here during 2021, executive produced by Puy Oria at Oria Films and created by “Skam España” script co-ordinator Estíbaliz Burgaleta.
Navarrese towns of Lekunberri and Leitza are some of the locations which will help give life to Salavarría, the fictional town in which the comedy series takes place.
Also, directed by Simon West (“Con Air”), mini-series project “Sin límites” (“Boundless”), a four-part Amazon Exclusive drama based on on Juan Sebastián Elcano and Ferdinand Magellan first circumnavgation of the world, will partially film in Navarre, produced by Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga at Mono Films, in partnership with Amazon Prime Video and RTVE.
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning production house Tornasol Films has just initiated the Pamplona shoot of “Desde la sombra,” a feature adaptation of Juan José Millás’ same titled novel, helmed by “Patria” director Félix Viscarret. A co-production with Belgium’s Entre Chien et Loup, “Desde la sombra” packs a powerful cast, starring Paco León (“Arde Madrid”) and Leonor Watling (“Unauthorized Living”).