Seven hot Spanish TV projects in early development will be making their debuts at the inaugural ECAM Forum co-production market, unspooling June 10-14 in Madrid.

Six projects from emerging writing talents were picked out of more than 150 submissions by a team of writing experts, including Int’l Emmy nominated Luis Gamboa (“Campaign Promises,” “Control Z”), Estibaliz Burgaleta (“You’re Nothing Special,” “Cable Girls”), Gorka Magallón (“Los hombres de Paco,” “Tad, The Last Explorer”) and Susana López Rubio (“The Time in Between,” “Presumed Guilty”).

The remaining project, “Fortuna Mineshaft” (“Pozo Fortuna”), the only one from a seasoned Spanish professional writer-director-producer – José Antonio Quirós, Goya nominated for “Ashes from the Sky”– was invited to participate at ECAM Forum’s Series showcase through an agreement between the Spanish film school ECAM and Spanish copyrights collective DAMA.

Gamboa, who also runs the master program in TV writing at ECAM together with Magallón, said the quality of the script was the key criteria for the selection of the six TV projects. “We didn’t look for any specific genre, and didn’t evaluate the credentials of the writers. “We all choose the most compelling and interesting stories.”

With genres running a gamut from drama comedy to surreal neo-noir, social drama, biopic, and animation for kids, narratives are both rooted in the national and regional zeitgeist and punching wide.

“Fortún” (“Celia’s Island”), for instance, by “Skam” Spain writer Beatriz Arías is a biopic about Elena Fortún, one of most famous authors of Spanish children’s literature, creator of the unruly female character “Celia” in her book series. It’s also the story of a queer novelist, forced by social conventions of the time – late 1920s Spain – to stay in a closet.

“When I was a kid, I saw a TV series based on “Celia”’s stories, on RTVE,” Arías said about her project. “That character fascinated me. I identified with that rebellious and mischievous girl. “I read the rest of the stories written by Elena Fortún, and I fell in love with them.”

“As I grew up,” she continues, “I realized that I was more interested in the author than the character, so I started looking for information about Elena Fortún. Who was she? The more I found out about her, the more convinced I was that she deserved a TV series.”

Arías who has researched the iconic novelist’s life, notably in Tenerife, and interviewed the son of Florinda (the little girl who inspired the character of Celia), scooped a best TV screenplay award for the project from DAMA and Movistar Plus+ at the latest IsLABentura Canarias.

Another LGBTQ+ themed series, “Leather” (“Cuero”) by San Sebastian-born Iñigo Alkorta, is set in the sports arena, with the main character Aitor as a Basque pelota champion.

“”Cuero” addresses issues like sexual diversity, new and old masculinities, identity and a sense of belonging. I want to tell a story about characters with very specific socio-cultural particularities (it is set in the Basque countryside), who face universal and much needed changes in the narrative of our (still) hetero-patriarchal world, to which some cling to and from which others want to escape,” Alkorta told Variety.

Also tackling social stigma and the difficulty to fit in, “She and Me, But Mostly Her” deals with mental health, through the story of Claudia (30), who would rather lie to her friends and to the world, rather than accepting his brother’s bipolar disorder.

Spanish-French creator Marta Ambel Meyer, who attended several European series labs including Eureka Series, MediaproLabs, DAMA Ayuda, has dubbed her six-part series as a “traumedy” or “sad comedy” about mental health, “specifically anxiety and bipolar disorder , and their impact on individuals and the ones surrounding them.”

“The idea for this series came from personal experiences and observations about mental health issues. “I want to bring it to the screens to raise awareness and foster understanding of these challenges, presenting them with a balance of humor and sensitivity,” she said.

Rooted in a childhood trauma experienced by Asturias-born creator José Antonio Quirós’ (aged 10 he was forced by his father to go down in a mine as a punishment), “Fortuna Mineshaft” (“Pozo Fortuna”) is a social drama, set in the heart of Spain’s coal mining region, Asturias. Set in 1995, it follows a tragic mining accident, its impact and the secrets surrounding it, from the perspective of a group of widows. “It’s inspired by a real-life accident where 14 miners lost their lives,” said Quirós who plans to serve as concept director and will be looking for a producer and financiers at ECAM Forum.

In a lighter tone, although cast as neo-noir, “The Hive (“La Colmena”) penned by Álex García-Castellano Gerbolés, is a surreal thriller set in 1992 on the eve of the Olympic games. Private eye Ulises Parra is investigating some “very, very screwed up murders.” References for the show are Robert Altman’s “The Long Goodbye,” Howard Hawks’ “The Big Sleep,” and the series “The Americans,” created by Joe Weisberg.

The creator, who has worked as project developer for Mediacrest Entertainment and at Media Solutions Partners said: “I wrote the series for two main reasons. I love classic film noir, and I wanted to transfer its ‘essence’ to a Spanish framework. “I also wanted to delve into the history of Barcelona, ​​a magical city that always carries with it an aura of mystery.”

Lighter, brighter and set under the sun of Benidorm, the female-led dramedy “Estrella del Green” is also the only project with a foreign partner on board. Its creator and director Denise Moreno, is in fact part of the London-based collective Common People Films, behind the Netflix/Universal Pictures music doc series “Once in a Lifetime Series.”

The company’s head of Scripted & TV, Jonathan Duncan, serves as producer on the upcoming show, which attended the latest Torino SeriesLab.

Moreno, who was named by HBO Access as one of the top 25 emerging directors in 2020, said she got the idea for the series while holidaying in Benidorm, heavily pregnant. The story turns on an unlikely duo – a pregnant zillennial and a bankrupt diva in her seventies, who set up a weed empire in Benidorm.
“It’s ‘Hacks’ meets ‘Breaking Bad,’ a feisty black dramedy by the Mediterranean, inhabited by Almodovaresque women,” says the logline.

Fun for kids and the whole family, the final ECAM Forum Series entry “Drawings”, is an animated series for pre-school kids.

Jose Antonio Vaca Cerezo who worked as creative director for the animation studios Futurum and Amuse, serves as co-creator together with motion graphic specialist Adrián Andújar. The adventure comedy for kids tells of Nico (6) who invents thousands of adventures for himself and his friends when he gets bored and starts drawing.

“With ‘Drawing,’ we want to encourage children to continue to draw, not only as a means of artistic expression but also as a basic and fundamental mode of expression for human beings, whatever their technical quality, and above all, to have fun !” said the co-creators who are looking for animation producers, studios and partners.

Besides the pitching sessions, the seven series will take part in a four-day training program during ECAM Forum. They will also compete for a Series Mania Award and a Serielizados Award, which will give them access to the two leading series festivals.

Rundown of the ECAM Forum Series:

“Dibus” (José Antonio Vaca Cerezo, Adrián Andújar)
Genre: animation
Format: 52×7′

Nico is a 6-year-old boy with a great imagination and love for drawing. When he gets bored at home, he takes out his pencil and dives into the world of drawing. There, together with his particular friends Moni, Bato and Chan, he will live a thousand adventures.

Courtesy of ECAM Forum

“Star of the Green” (Denise Moreno)
Genre: Black dramedy, thriller
Format: 8×30′

Set in Benidorm, we follow two unlikely business partners – a pregnant zillennial and a bankrupt diva in her seventies, who try to set up a weed empire, to the beat of reggaeton, trap and Remedios’ ’70s romantic ballads.

“Fortuna Mineshaft” (“Fortuna Well”, José Antonio Quirós)
Genre: social drama
Format: 5-6 episodes, 40-50 minutes

A firedamp explosion kills several miners. The tragedy causes shock, uncovers secrets and brings unsurmountable consequences. In the spotlight are the widows of the miners who confront those who blame for the accident.

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Fortune Mineshaft
Courtesy of ECAM Forum

“Fortun” (“Celia’s Island”, Beatriz Arías)
Genre: Historical biopic, dramedy
Format: 6×50′

After losing her son, Encarna is forced to move to Tenerife, where she meets a little girl named Florinda, whose adventures will inspire her to create the character of ‘Celia’ and become the successful children’s writer Elena Fortún.

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Courtesy of ECAM Forum

“Leather” (“Leather”, Iñigo Alkorta)
Genre: LGBTQ+ Drama comedy
Format: 8×45′

Aitor is flamboyant and Mikel down to earth. Born in the same town, they are the greatest Basque pelota players and rivals, but also best friends who maintain a secret love affair. Eventually, they will have to overcome the prejudice of their sexist and homophobic environment to accept who they really are.


Courtesy of ECAM Forum

“She and Me, But Mostly Her” (“She and I especially her”, Marta Ambel Meyer)
Genre: Dramedy or “Traumedy”
Format: 6×60′

It’s the story of Claudia, a thirty-something woman with many anxieties, who struggles to keep her life, built on lies, afloat, while facing the harsh reality of having to take care of a brother with bipolar disorder.

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She and Me, But Mostly Her
Courtesy of ECAM Forum

“The Hive” (“The Hive,” Álex García-Castellano Gerbolés)
Genre: Thriller mystery, surrealist neo-noir
Format: 6/7 x 45-50′

About a detective, Ulises Parra, a “Philip Marlowe” with a Renault 19 and a Barça T-shirt, who has to solve some very, very screwed-up murders in Barcelona before the 1992 Olympic Games begin.

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The Hive
Courtesy of ECAM Forum/ Alex Garcia-Castellano Gerbol