Top Spanish indie producer-distributor Vértice 360 is joining forces with U.K.-based Born Wild to co-produce YA drama series project “Motorway.”
European sales company Eccho Rights is handling international distribution rights.
“Motorway” has been created by Spanish writer-cartoonist Víctor Santos, the creator of graphic novel “Polar” whose film adaptation, starring “Hannibal” Mads Mikkelsen, was produced by comicbook-based media company Dark Horse Entertainment and Germany’s Constantin Film and released by Netflix.
The new project is set up at Vértice 360, the ambitiously relaunched content division of Madrid-based conglom Squirrel Media, headed by Spanish entrepreneur Pablo Pereiro Lage.
“Motorway” will be pitched during the upcoming 6th Conecta Fiction & Entertainment forum, as part of the High-End Series sidebar, a new section focused on higher-budget series and miniseries projects in search for co-production partners.
Written by Santos and Born Wild founder Anthony Alleyne, the six-seg, one-hour TV drama tells a dark fairy tale set beside an apocalyptic highway in a world of endless pursuit.
“Motorway” takes place in a near future, where young teenager Alice has spent her short life sketching and drawing the motorway and the towns at its side. There is nothing else. The motorway is now the centre of day-to-day human life, following the world’s regression back to coal and oil. It is surrounded by endless wasteland during the day; at night only its floodlights appear to keep unseen, vicious monsters at bay.
When Alice’s gifted brother Eric is sold by their dysfunctional parents to unknown buyers, she escapes home to track him down with the help of aging Road Warrior Stray, who has a dark past and is looking for some meaning from life.
Regression is a major theme of the series. It features elements from the 1950’s and 60’s such as its neon-themed bars and diners and only the flickering buzzing halogen lights of the road keeps everyone alive, as the monsters are hurt by their light.
In addition, the black and white TV, oil rigs, and gas guzzling cars also hint at a return to a long-forgotten age, which is the complete antithesis of progress promised at the Paris Climate Conference (COP 21).
“I always have wanted to merge the versatility and energy of graphic novels with sophisticated modern audiovisual fiction. Taking the best of every world and creating something new, exciting, with concepts never seen before. I want ‘Motorway’ to be that way,” Santos said.
In the series, the powerful, dark unseen powers behind the walls represent a metaphor for those special interest groups and lobbyists who work in the shadows trying to influence and shape every aspect of people’s lives. The ultimate battle is to stop them gaining full control and turning people into slaves to the system.
“Victor has created an incredible universe, a signature Spanish-speaking TV event that resonates to the world as it deals with universal and up-to-date topics and is a great opportunity for international co-production now that there’s an appetite for non-English speaking series”, said producer Alberto Rull, EVP production and content at Vértice.
London-based Born Wild is a boutique production company focused on producing film and TV genres. Its first feature, low budget film “Sunburn,” was handled internationally by Moviehouse Entertainment, and released in North America in 2020.
The project “represents an exciting opportunity to explore a world with elements from the past, present and future. As an aspirational young adult show with a female lead, a diverse cast and strong social anchors, this is unique material from a brilliant, creative mind,” Born Wild’s Alleyne added.
“From the first moment I read the outline I was blown away,” said Nicola Söderlund at global rights management company Eccho Rights.
“’Motorway’ is a unique series, with its own tone of voice that, I believe, will capture and thrill viewers around the world. It will be an honor to take it out to the market.”
Conecta Fiction & Entertainment, the biggest Europe-Latin America TV co-pro event, runs June 21-24 in Toledo, the capital of Castilla-La Mancha, south of Madrid.
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