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Tomás Cimadevilla • Producer

Comedies and beyond

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Tomás Cimadevilla  • Producer

At a time when the possible cuts to public film funding have once again put the spotlight on the complicated relationship between the sector and private broadcasters, Tomás Cimadevilla insists that the latter “must see film not as an obligation, but more as a business opportunity: the biggest hits of Spanish cinema are films produced or backed by TV companies”.

The opinions of this producer should be listened to carefully, for he and his company Telespan 2000 have become a reference when it comes to establishing a dialogue with television that is free-flowing and productive for both parties. Their approach caters to audiences’ tastes but without losing sight of quality or forgetting the differences between both media, as demonstrated by acclaimed hits like Torremolinos 73 [+see also:
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(2002), The Other Side of the Bed (2002), Soccer Days (2003) and Friend Zone [+see also:
film review
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interview: Borja Cobeaga
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(2009).

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Since its founding in 1999, Telespan has earned a strong reputation, mainly with comedies, “but high-quality comedies”, adds Cimadevilla. Cineuropa got the chance to talk with him at the latest Malaga Spanish Film Festival, where he presented David Serrano’s Una Hora Más en Canarias [+see also:
film review
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interview: David Serrano
interview: David Serrano, director of …
film profile
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(“One More Hour in the Canaries”, see news) in competition.

“Universal films, which are not too local, can travel and even contain foreign elements”, he says, underscoring one of the company’s aspirations, openness: “We’ve built a steady partnership with South America, which is a natural market for us. Moreover, we’re developing collaboration on big productions shot in Spain, to which we can contribute as minority co-producers”.

However, co-producing is not easy: “Sometimes, we haven’t been able to do a co-production with a South American country due to the huge difference in costs. The same happens with Europe, even though we’re in the same region, as the difference between the average budget for a film in Spain and France, for example, can be double or more. Moreover, it’s difficult to find stories where it’s possible to create an organic co-production”.

And Spain doesn’t appear to be fertile ground for this type of project: “I’m really envious of European countries that are capable of financing films from all over the world, which doesn’t happen here. I’d love to co-produce Latin American, Japanese and Iranian films, but it’s impossible in Spain, there are no funding channels for that type of film”.

Despite his undeniable ability to connect with audiences, Cimadevilla gave up a long time ago in trying to figure out the secret to winning them over, for, apart from the script and cast, you need “a lot of luck. The audience rules and decides what does and doesn’t interest them. For example, with Friend Zone (see news), we got the best reviews that Telespan has received for a film. The reception from audiences in all countries was fantastic. In the end, it enjoyed good box office results, but we think objectively that it could have performed better. Something happened and that something is the audience. There are so many factors that make a film become an unexpected success”.

As for the future, who said anything about a crisis? Projects in different stages of preparation are piling up in Telespan’s offices, including action film Golpe de Efecto (“Dramatic Effect”), helmed by Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopeña (Fermat’s Room); No Controles (see news), the second feature by Borja Cobeaga after Friend Zone; José Caro’s Sin Blanca (“Broke”), which is in the same vein as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; and Miguel Larraya’s low-budget horror movie, After Party. The producer’s slate also includes two German co-productions: a film by Miguel Martí about the Chilean coup; and Juan Martínez Moreno’s €6m horror comedy about werewolves Lobos de Arga (“Wolves of Arga”), which will start shooting in October in Galicia and Berlin.

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