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After the international success of the first season of Matchday, the documentary series that followed the daily life of the first team in the 2018-19 season, Barça Studios have planned what will be the first fiction series produced by the studio -which handles the creation, production and distribution of all club's audio-visual content. Writer and screenwriter Albert Espinosa, author of the globally successful series The Red Band Society, will be in charge of creating the story and writing the scripts for this new audio-visual project set in La Masia, the 40-year old residence for internationally renowned athletes and a leading force in the field of sports and human training.
The first season of the series will consist of seven episodes, which are currently in the scriptwriting phase. During the lockdown in place due to Covid-19, Espinosa is writing the first episodes and defining the plot and character information. The goal of the series is not to recreate real situations or people at La Masia, but rather to take inspiration to create authentic fictional stories. The production plan is for the series to start filming between the end of 2020 and the summer of 2021 in real facilities at La Masia, taking advantage of the residents' absence for school holidays.
In recent months, Espinosa has been immersed in the everyday life of La Masia, in coexistence with the athletes and the professionals there, with the aim of finding out in detail about their daily life, the atmosphere and the stories within. Espinosa also spoke with the heads of FC Barcelona youth sport, coaches and former residents at La Masia who dreamed of succeeding one day at Barça.
The result will be a fictional series designed for a young and also family audience, which is credible and authentic. The protagonists will be young athletes, the people around them and their human relationships. Barça will be the backdrop to a story that will be based around universal values, where feelings, emotion, tenderness and a sense of humour -elements that characterise Espinosa's work- will be present.
A master of human relationships
Albert Espinosa knows how to portray human relationships, especially those of young people, showing their concerns and fears, dreams and satisfactions. His works feature sensitivity, resilience and a sense of humour in equal parts.
His blockbuster television series, Red Band Society, a story set in a children's oncological hospital, has aired on channels worldwide and is known as the "series that moved Spielberg." The American remake was produced by the Schindler's List director, and the original version has been shown in 30 countries.
Ten adaptations have been made, making it the most adapted series in the world in the last five years, and it has been a ratings leader in France, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Slovakia and Russia, with 'shares' of 30%.
Espinosa is a famous screenwriter, but also a producer, actor, director and playwright, as well as being a renowned Barça fan. In 2012 he launched ‘Els nostres tigres beuen llet’ at the Sala Gran of the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, a work written and directed by him that uses football and the Camp Nou as themes. He is also responsible for successful works such as ‘El mundo amarillo’ and ‘Si tú me dices ven lo dejo todo... pero dime ven’ and directed films such as ‘No me digas que te bese porque te besaré’, as well as writing scripts for ‘Héroes’ and ‘Planta 4ª’.
Barça Studios consolidates catalogue of content
Barça Studios, which centralises the creation, production and marketing of FC Barcelona's entire audio-visual product, aims to produce original and exclusive content, offer a unique point of view of Barça and, at the same time, nourish the club's own channels and satisfy the fans' desire to find out more about the traditions and day-to-day life of the club. This new project consolidates its content catalogue with expansion into previously unexplored terrain, such as fiction, with the aim of becoming a strategic pillar in the projection of the Barça brand and generate new revenue for the club. Fictional series are a highly regarded product by media distribution streaming platforms.
Statement by Albert Espinosa:
"It is very exciting to be writing this series about people who want to achieve their dreams. I think it will be a very special series, as football fans and the general public do not know how interesting and how hard their lives are, how they seek to make their dreams come true and everything the club does for them.
"It has made me very happy to have begun this collaboration. I could never have imagined it. Now I can say that I have signed for Barça! The team at Barça Studios are very clear about what they are looking for and I'm working really hard.
"Immersion in La Masia is the most important part of the process. Barça Studios and La Masia have opened the doors to me and I have been able to interview all the protagonists, live alongside them, eat with them and watch their games. In addition, I have been able to meet Paco Seirulo, the coaches, teachers, parents, employees and all of the players from the age of 10 to 17. I think this is the key part of getting to know the reality of the place in-depth. Even now I have contact with some of them, and they advise me and resolve any doubts that arise.
"We will see football, but above all we will see human relationships. The protagonists are young people with many dreams, in a mythical place where players like Messi, Xavi or Iniesta started out. We will see how these idols to so many people are created.
"We writers need solitude to be able to write, so I'm using confinement to my advantage I have no doubt that we will come out of this with much more energy, and change the world after this crisis. I think other generations have had to deal with really hard times that have made them better people, and I think the same thing will happen now. Writing this series right now is an escape and I'm lucky that the players who advise me now have more time than ever before.''
"I think 'Red Band Society' and this series will have in common that they both talk about boys and girls living together, being young and being eager to go after the world. For me, this series is very interesting and I think it's going to be heart-warming. We will discover what is inside these young people, who become siblings united by football."
Statement by Dídac Lee, Board of Directors member responsible for Digital Area
“The tv series inspired on La Masia is the first fiction series produced by Barça Studios, and the first of a wide range of new projects we are preparing. To make it a reality, FC Barcelona have once again looked for the best possible partner. To develop the series, based on La Masia -one of centrepieces of our 'More than a Club’ philosophy and our training, sporting and human model- we have opted to partner with a renowned professional and a devoted Barça fan in Albert Espinosa, who loves and understands the club philosophy.
“The series will be a unique project made in Barcelona but, at the same time, will have a global side, as it will show universal stories of effort, teamwork and improvement that we believe will be interesting for audiences around the world. It is also a production through which the club take a new step forward in our commitment to the creation of Premium content, within our new digital strategy. Content based on Barça and its values, combining sport and entertainment, will help us reach new audiences and also open up new revenue streams that will allow us to remain competitive and a point of reference -on and off the pitch.”
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