Filming on Netflix teen series “Tú no eres especial” (“You’re Nothing Special”) kicked-off July 8, becoming the streaming giant’s first TV series entirely filmed in Spain’s northern region of Navarre.
The series marks a further step in Netflix’s bet on diversifying its shooting destinations in the country.
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“Tú no eres especial” is produced by Oria Audiovisual, the indie company launched by Navarre-born producer Puy Oria, co-founder with filmmaker Montxo Armendáriz of Oria Films, whose credits take in features such as “Silencio Roto” (2001), “Obaba” (2005), “De tu ventana a la mía” (2011) and “No tengas miedo” (2011), mainly filmed in the region.
“Valeria’s” Inma Torrente directs the new six-episode series, created by Estibaliz Burgaleta, “a Skam Spain” script coordinator, and written by Burgaleta, Alberto Grondona (“Las chicas del cable”) and Sergio Granda (“Skam Spain”).
The series follows teenager Amaia, who is forced to move from her comfortable surroundings in the high energy city of Barcelona to the Navarre fictional town of Salavarría, a sleepy village with little to offer a young woman. That is until Amaia realizes she has inherited her grandmother’s powers of witchcraft.
Filming is mainly located in Navarre’s northern Aralar in the country towns of Lekunberri and Leitza and surroundings, halfway between Pamplona and San Sebastián. The production team spread later to the Larraun Valley, also lensing in villages such as Larraun, Baraibar, Iribas and Aldatz.
The production wrap is scheduled for the end of September.
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Oria says the area’s gentle hills, picturesque houses and deep tradition of witchcraft impacted the pioneering TV skein.
“This story asked for mountains and mountains have become a key element of the story,” Oria argued. The TV series portrays a verdant and mysterious Navarre with a very feminine focus.
“It is a series with a female protagonist. In Navarre society, women are very strong and matriarchy plays a leading role. Young boys and girls also have a powerful presence in the series which is a universal element. All this in a town with a past and a present which is deeply connected to the esoteric issues, located in the highland, that adds even more mystery to the story,” she said.
“Witchcraft is very implicit in these natural landscapes with villages surrounded by green mountain walls. We have also shot in impressive caves … The area has all the elements that the series was looking for. We hope to show all this esotericism,” Oria added.
“Witchcraft is in our Navarrese DNA – Zugarramurdi, El Brujo de Bargota, Lekunberri … all are related to Aralar which is very esoteric, the mystery of bewitching and all those elements will appear in the series,” says Oria.
The teen comedy series main cast takes in Delia Brufau (“The Hockey Girls”), Oscar de la Fuente, Ainara Perez, Jaime Wang, Elia Galera (“El Cid”), Jordi Aguilar (“The Bar”), Miriam Cabeza (“Vaya semanita”) and Gabriel Guevara (“Skam Spain”).
Navarre has become a hotbed of production activity over recent years thanks to highly competitive rebates and tax credits. The region has historically levied its own tax regime, which led in 2015 to its launching a competitive 35% tax credit for Spanish shoots and co-productions which spend at least 40% of their budgets in the territory.
A crucial factor behind the “Tú no eres especial” shoot in Navarre, however, is Netflix’s decentralization, in Puy Oria words, the fact that key players in the industry started to shoot in other regions beyond top production centers such as Madrid or Catalonia.
“Openness always adds up,” said Oria. “In this year of a pandemic, it is a very smart policy on the part of the platforms to spread the game a little and support different regions.”
“It is not only what comes with the shoot, but also what it leaves behind. In the hotel where we are in Lekunberri, next weekend, three different shoots will coincide. If it also helps attract tourism, great.”
Filming in Navarre has the attraction that people are not so used to have them coming to shoot at their house. They are normally highly collaborative with production teams.
“The incentives increases attraction for people to come and shoot, no doubt. At the same time, Navarre is working to promote and favor its own audiovisual industry,” she explains.
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Of the much more than 30 actors who participate in the filming of the series, 22 are from Navarre. More than 60% of the technicians come from Navarra and the neighboring Basque Country. Also, a lot of local businesses, 40% of the total supplier budget, are involve d in the production.
“All this contributes to promoting not only the economy but also creativity, culture and the export of talent to other Spanish communities or other countries. You need to leave a mark,” she says.
“Tú no eres especial” boasts two key interior locations. One is the public institute of Leitza, where regional and local governments allowed Oria and Netflix to shoot over the summer, and a private house in Lekunberri, Amaia’s home in the series. In total, near 60% of filming was made on locations.
“It’s a bit risky, in a place where the weather is highly variable, but it’s true that in the end we didn’t have to modify the shooting plans too much,” she said. In addition, interior shoots happened in a flower and music store in the Navarrese capital city of Pamplona.
For Oria Audiovisual, the “Tú no eres especial” shooting “has been a very interesting experience to see how the world of platforms works. We need to go hand in hand with them.”
She adds: “That this story produced here can be seen suddenly in so many places around the world – 190 countries – and especially its repercussions on both an artistic level and production level marks “Tú no eres especial” out as a pioneering Netflix series in Navarre.
“I’m sure it will go very well. It is a new experience at all levels and more than a 100 people are here every day to make this a reality that thrills.”
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