‘Sky Rojo’ and ‘La Templanza’, global releases filmed in Tenerife

Verónica Franco discusses her experience as location manager for the Canary Islands on both projects

‘Sky Rojo’. Photograph by Tamara Arranz. Vancouver Media courtesy

Shooting for Sky Rojo for Netflix and La Templanza for Amazon Prime, two of the most anticipated fiction releases of the year, took place in Tenerife. Verónica Franco (Mina Films & Communications) was involved in both series as location manager.

She has also been responsible for locations for the Bambú Producciones series Dos vidas (Two Lives), which was recently premièred on Spanish television channel TVE 1.

Sky Rojo, a Vancouver Media production for Netflix created by Álex Pina and Esther Martínez Lobato after the worldwide success of La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), will be available from 19th March for the streaming service’s 195 million subscribers.

Sky Rojo. Photo by Tamara Arranz

Filmed and set in Tenerife, its creators were looking for barren, wild places to tell the story of three women fleeing a pimp who they have injured.

“The producers wanted breath-taking landscapes and Tenerife specifically. It’s one of the first international series that has come to film here wanting the island itself to be part of the story. By way of identification, the first episode of Sky Rojo opens with a close up of Mount Teide, for example”, explains Franco.

The shooting of Sky Rojo, which has just come to an end, was split between Madrid and Tenerife. Both the first and second seasons take place on the island.

“The shoot on Tenerife lasted two and a half months in total. It began in November 2019, and after two weeks in Madrid it moved to Tenerife. In mid-March, with the pandemic and the declaration of a state of alarm, the production was interrupted. It was picked up again towards the end of June, with a return to Tenerife, where it returned again in October”, she explains.

Verónica Franco previously worked as location manager for the series Tiempos de Guerra (Morocco: Love in Times of War) produced by Bambú for Atresmedia in 2017. The production director of Sky Rojo, who also had that role for Tiempos de Guerra, required her services for the new series.

“With Sky Rojo I acted as a link between production and the Island’s technicians and suppliers. I was the gateway through which local services were hired”.

This Netflix series involved the participation of companies from the Islands including Canary Pictures Vehicles (vehicles for shoots), Blackstone Film Company (lighting supplier), Gomeralia (catering), The Boss Transports (transport service) and AirMedia 360 (drones).

Romantic drama La Templanza, produced by Atresmedia Studios (Buendía Estudios) in collaboration with Boomerang TV, is due for release on 26th March on Amazon Prime Video in more than 240 countries.

‘La templanza’ shooting in Tenerife. Amazon Studios courtesy

The team on this television adaptation of María Dueñas’ novel worked on Tenerife over two months between June and August 2019, although filming itself lasted two weeks. The location manager for this project was Roberta Martino (also a member of Mina Films & Communication) and Franco worked as the local production manager.

“The La Templanza project wanted locations that could serve to represent Cuba or Mexico in around 1850. The main locations were in the historic centre of La Orotava, where we brought the city to a standstill for almost a week. La Orotava is so well maintained that it was ideal to depict a neighbourhood in Mexico in 1850. We removed some modern elements for atmosphere but it was perfect, right down to the cobblestones. Then we also shot in other historical town centres – San Cristóbal de La Laguna and Icod de los Vinos”.

‘La templanza’ shooting at La Orotava, Tenerife

Later, Verónica Franco joined as location manager for Dos vidas, a daily series that first aired on 25th January in the after-lunch slot on Spanish television’s TVE 1. Sequences for almost twenty episodes were filmed on the island.

“They came looking to replicate the equatorial forest in the Bosques de Anaga. Although it is a soap opera, the producers sought to give it a premium touch, better packaging. You can tell how much effort went into production in terms of finding credible exteriors that would suit the story. There was also some very good work done on costumes, art and all those things that together give the series added quality”.

Tenerife’s position as a destination for TV and film shoots is unique in both Spain and the European Union, in Franco’s opinion. “In a few square kilometres we have absolutely all the landscapes. You’re inside the European Union, you pay in euros, with the institutional and economic security standards that apply in the EU, and at the same time you have varied exotic landscapes all close to each other, which let you combine different locations in a single day. And all with good services at competitive prices, many hours of daylight and a mild winter.”

‘Dos vidas’ shooting at Anaga rainforest, Tenerife

Verónica Franco has witnessed the tremendous change that the Tenerife film industry has gone through in recent years at first hand.

“The first boost came from international productions and the tax incentives, which were appealing. Spanish productions don’t come so much because of the incentive but because of the variety of settings and the possibility of hiring exemplary technical teams,” she notes.

“There’s been such a lot of production in recent years that technicians from the Canary Islands have increasingly specialised, and now they’re in demand from elsewhere in Europe”.

“Despite the pandemic, we’ve had to turn down jobs because we couldn’t keep up. Our industry has been fortunate, strict measures have been successfully implemented and our health protocols  are impeccable”, she comments.

As production director, Verónica Franco, alongside Roberta Martino in charge of locations, also participated in the film Solo (by Hugo Stuven), shot in open waters in Fuerteventura. In 2018, as production manager, she made the series La Sala (The Room) for HBO, with an entirely Canarian technical team. 

She is currently in the preparatory stages of a project with Argentinian filmmaker Marina Seresesky called Isla (Island), a Spanish production that will be filmed in its entirety in Puerto de la Cruz from the end of July.

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