Global streamer Starzplay and L.A.-based Spanish-language streaming platform Pantaya have re-teamed with U.K. production-distribution giant Fremantle and the Larraín brothers’ Fabula on sci-fi miniseries “The Shelter” (“El Refugio”).
Starring Alberto Guerra (“La Jauria”) and Ana Claudia Talancón (“Como Caído del Cielo”) and directed by Argentina’s Pablo Fendrik (“El Ardor”), “The Shelter” wraps principal photography this week after 10 weeks of filming in rural areas of Santiago de Chile.
In industry terms, “The Shelter” forms part of a burgeoning axis between like-minded and complementary players in the U.S., Latin America and the U.K. who have been involved in some of the most exciting, relevant and artistically ambitious of recent Spanish-language dramas hitting screens or in the pipeline, whether “La Jauría,” “Señorita 89” – where all four companies partner – or “Express.”
The series captures Fendrik on tremendous TV form after making “Amongst Men” and “The Bronze Garden,” both for HBO Latin America.
In story type, “The Shelter” also pushes the envelope exploring new territory for Spanish-language production as it melds various genres.
In it, a family experiences the strangest phenomena of their lives, apparently caused by an alien invasion or a completely unidentified force of nature.
But all of it happens through their screens. When they go outside, the synopsis runs, nothing seems to be happening, aside from what springtime in the Mexican countryside holds in store for a group of humans.
The parents must protect their children from an invisible enemy whom not even they know exists for real, the synopsis runs. “What is real?” “What happened to the world they knew? Is this ranch a refuge? Is it the final stronghold of humanity?”
“It is a great challenge to make a 100% Latino science fiction series and the result of Pablo Fendrik’s work and his team is surprising,” said Ángela Poblete, at Fabula.
“The Shelter,” a six hour series, is based on the original idea by Julio Rojas, cineaste Matías Bize’s regular co-scribe (“The Life of Fish”) and written by Rojas, Francisco Ortega, author of best-selling novel “Lodge,” and Enrique Videla (“La Jauría”).
The cast of “El Refugio” also includes Zuria Vega (“En Las Buenas y en las Malas”), Paloma Woolrich (“La Muchacha Que Limpia”), Alfredo Castro (“El Club”), Diego Escalona (“La Suerte de Loli”) and Camila Valero (“Herederos Por Accidente”).
“The Shelter” will premiere in Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil and Spain on Starzplay and in the U.S. and Puerto Rico on Pantaya. Fremantle handles international distribution.
“We are excited to push the boundaries of premium Spanish-language series with ‘El Refugio,’ which is a brilliant fusion of various genres,” said Mario Almeida, head of content for Pantaya.
“At its core though, ‘El Refugio’ is a love story about families, and how families cope with life-changing events. This series is wholly unique,” he added.
“Reuniting with the magnificent teams at Fabula, Pantaya and Fremantle for this powerful story reinforces our commitment to co-producing locally made and culturally relevant content,” said Superna Kalle, president of international networks for Starz.
President of global drama for Fremantle, Christian Vesper called “The Shelter” “a sophisticated and timely thriller with universal issues of love and family at its heart.”
“The Shelter” is executive produced by Juan de Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Poblete and Mariane Hartard from Fabula and Vesper.
The co-production deal was brokered by Sheila Aguirre, EVP content distribution & format sales, Caribbean & Hispanic U.S., for Fremantle, Paul Presburger and Almeida from Pantaya and Jeff Cooke for Starzplay.