The Fortress

Source: Courtesy of Womack Studios

The Fortress

Seville-based Womack Studios, the ambitious audio-visual arm of Spanish media conglomerate the Womack Group, is making bold strides into film production with a vibrant development slate of film and TV projects, inspired by real-life characters and events.

Three series by internationally-renowned directors are set to shoot in 2024 María Ripoll’s Duke, Miguel Ángel Vivas’ The Puerto Hurraco Massacre, and Fernando Trueba’s Bajañí, The Story Of A Guitar, which is also being made as a feature. All are drama series based on real events.

Ripoll, who won the best director award at the 2022 Malaga Film Festival for We Won’t Kill Each Other With Guns, is now working on an eight-part series called Duke, about one of Spain’s most famous aristocratic couples of recent decades.

The Puerto Hurraco Massacre depicts the fatal events of August 26, 1990, where brothers Emilio and Antonio Izquierdo shot their neighbours in a small village in Extremadura, leaving nine dead and 12 wounded. The series has been created by Jorge Decarlini and J. J. Rodríguez. (The latter is also the creator of Duke and Arropiero.) Director Vivas’ credits include the 2010 feature Kidnapped which won the best horror feature and director awards at the Austin Fantastic Festival that year.

Vivas is also an associate director on the drama series, Arropiero. This will tell the story of the life of Manuel Delgado Villegas, who was born in 1943 in Seville and considered the worst serial killer in Spain’s history. The series will delve into his relationship with Salvador Ortega, the inspector who arrested him in 1971. Shortly afterwards Delgado confessed 48 crimes.

Trueba’s Bajañí, The Story Of A Guitar marks the first time the Oscar- winning director of Belle Epoque has worked in TV. The series is a musical journey following the life of Niño Josele, the celebrated guitarist and forerunner of the “new flamenco style”, through Spain, Brazil, the US, Israel, Argentina and Cuba. Shooting will begin in February in New York. 

Bajañí, The Story Of A Guitar is emblematic of Womack’s desire to increase its reach into the Latin American market. The group presently has production outposts in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia. “Access to the Latin American market gives us a potential market of 667 million people,” says Antonio Carreto, general manager of executive production for Womack Studios.

Organic growth

Founded in 2016 by José Carlos Conde, previously a producer at Mediaevs Entertainment and a former marketing executive with the San Sebastian and Málaga film festivals, Womack Studios encompasses communications, advertising, marketing, public relations and fiction, non-fiction, and unscripted production divisions.

Headquartered in Seville, Womack also has bases in Madrid, Santo Domingo and Miami, where Womack Latam is based, led by Enrique Rubio. “The fact we have ‘in-house’ such diverse companies gives Womack an added value and an opportunity to organically grow,” says Conde. Womack registered a total turnover of €40 million last year.

Previous titles produced or co-produced by Womack include Lino Escalera’s Can’t Say Goodbye, which received four awards at the Málaga Film Festival in 2017, Chiqui Carabante’s black comedy The Fortress, sold internationally by Argentina’s FilmSharks and acquired by SkyShowtime, and David Martín de los Santos’ romantic drama That Was Life, nominated for two Goya awards for first feature film and best actress for star Petra Martínez in 2022.

“We like to work with fresh talents such as Lino Escalera and Martín de los Santos, as well as experienced directors like Trueba, Vivas and Ripoll,” explains Paola Sainz, fiction executive producer for Womack.

Real-life drama

In the non-fiction space, Womack’s credits include historical documentary Camarón, De La Isla Al Mito (literally, Camaron, From The Island To Myth), one of the first documentary commissions of Netflix Spain.

Now the company is developing 12 non-fiction projects, six of which will come under the true crime banner. Two are in advanced production; one is explores the case of the disappearance of a child called Yéremi Vargas in 2007; the second is the story of the crash of the Spain military aircraft Yakovlev Yak-42D, which caused 62 deaths.

“We are focusing on true crime and actively searching for new formats, such as combining drama with real -life stories,” explains Carreto.

Feature films are also in Womack’s sights. The company is developing two comedies and a soon-to-be-released psychodrama, two of which regional broadcaster Canal Sur is on board. Womack is also developing a documentary feature about Carlos Saura’s love of flamenco, dance and music. Saura’s son, Carlos will direct from a posthumous script by his father. This work is inspired by the last project on which Carlos Saura worked, Picasso And Dance, exploring Pablo Ruiz Picasso’s relationship with dance and flamenco.

Womack Group also organises the South International Series Festival, whose first edition was launched in October in the ancient port city of Cadiz, and aims to become one of the largest series events in southern Europe.

Contact: Antonio Carreto Cano, executive producer