Spain’s recently launched heavyweight production outfit Buendía Estudios has hired Sony Pictures Television’s former distribution chief for Iberia to head up its nascent international production business.
María Valenzuela becomes SVP of international strategy & business development at Buendía Estudios, which was formally launched earlier this year by telco giant Telefónica and commercial broadcaster Atresmedia. It is focused on producing Spanish-language content for the global market.
Valenzuela, who reports into Buendia’s MD Ignacio Corrales, will lead the new global production business while also overseeing international distribution and co-productions for Telefónica’s pay-TV operator Movistar+ across fiction, documentaries and formats.
Her team includes Isabel Durán, who manages unscripted development; Laura Miñarro, who oversees the development of international scripted co-productions; and Nicolás Lecocq, who is responsible for international marketing.
Valenzuela had previously led Sony’s distribution operations across Iberia for more than 15 years and was for the past year responsible for the content strategy and partnerships of Huawei Technologies, promoting the launch of the Huawei Video app.
Corrales said her experience would be vital to the success of Buendía Studios as it focuses on the international market, which is “key” to the new JV.
Buendía banking on co-pros
The addition is the latest expansion for Buendía, which is aiming to create content for its own networks – Movistar+ and Atresmedia – as well as third parties such as Amazon, Netflix, Warner, HBO, TNT, HBO Max, Orange and Spanish regional channels.
The company is targeting the domestic Spanish, Latin American and Hispanic US markets, and is looking to build on previous successes such as Atresmedia’s Casa De Papel (aka Money Heist) and Mira Lo Que Has Hecho from Movistar+.
Buendía Estudios said Valenzuela’s appointment underlined the JV’s “firm commitment to co-productions” across fiction, documentaries and formats, with shows including Amazon’s Mexico, Cuba, London and Spain-set drama La Templanza already on the slate.
The production firm has also been behind Veneno, a drama created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi about the life and death of LGTBQ icon Cristina Ortiz. It has already been released on the Atresplayer Premium platform and will be released later this month by HBO Max in the US.