Giants of European production like Buendía Estudios, UFA Fiction and The Mediapro Studio commit to Tenerife for their new film-shoots

Moment of the filming of ‘Las noche de Tefía’ in the municipality of Arico. Photography by Manuel Roman Sierra

The leading European content companies are increasingly and decidedly more committed to filming their new productions on the Canary Island of Tenerife, driving an industry to recover its full potential in the post-pandemic era.

The main driver of this growth is undoubtedly the explosion in the consumption of fiction series through SVOD platforms.

Accordingly, one of the most ambitious companies in the field of the production and distribution of audio-visual content in Spanish – Buendía Estudios – is filming the series Las noches de Tefía from 25 April to 10 June, produced through its new subsidiary Buendía Estudios Canarias, with the participation of Atresmedia Televisión.

Created by the playwright Miguel del Arco, the scriptwriter along with Antonio Rojano and co-director with Rómulo Aguillaume, Las noches de Tefía tells the story of a concentration camp – Colonia Agrícola Penitenciaria de Tefía – located in a setting in Fuerteventura, where, between 1954 and 1966, those convicted under the Vagrancy Act were sent by the Franco regime, which was amended in 1954 to include homosexuals.

Cast of Canarian actors in ‘Las noche de Tefía’

The main location of the series is the village of Abades in Tenerife, home to a former leper colony, where the first season of Tefía was recreated. A port and a church have also been recreated in the municipality of Arico, which Abades forms part of. The production will complete its journey through Tenerife in such locations as El Sauzal, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Andrés.

“Basically, we are trying to recreate Fuerteventura. By finding such a location as the Abades Leper Colony has meant that we have looked for all the locations to film on the island of Tenerife, which are wonderful and very ad hoc for the story”, explains the Production Director, Marta Miró.

“The main advantage of filming in Tenerife is the tax breaks, the tremendous variety of settings, along with a wonderful technical team”, stresses Miró, winner of the Goya Prize for the best Production Management for her work on Nadie quiere la noche, by Isabel Coixet.

Some 20 actors from the Canary Islands have participated in the filming of Las noches de Tefía, supported by services from companies from Tenerife like Gomeralia (catering), Jocar (vans), Blackstone Film Company (lighting material), The Boss (production vehicles and furniture), Bewateragency (artistic representation) and Canary Pictures Vehicles (camera and production cars).

This film-shoot also marks the start of the activity of Buendía Estudios Canarias, a subsidiary of the joint venture launched in 2020 by Atresmedia and the pay TV market leader Movistar Plus.

The return of Balko

Out of the total of 190 productions filmed on the island last year, 48 were from Germany. These include Balko Tenerife, the new season of the popular German series Balko, produced by UFA Fiction.

Filming of Balko Tenerife 2

“Last year, we filmed a battle in Punta de Teno, with speedboats, helicopters, rugged cliffs, the lighthouse and a choppy sea, which created a very impressive visual experience”, explains Agnes Hertwig, the Producer of UFA Fiction.

According to Hertwig, the Executive Producer of Balko Guido, Reinhardt “fell in love with the incredible diversity of the island, perfect for an action film. The generous tax breaks also made it possible to finance filming aboard”.

Entitled Balko Tenerife – Wolfe, Forest and Wilderness – the production returned to Santa Cruz de Tenerife in April and May, backed by support from the Tenerife Film Commission.

“Although it is a small island, the infrastructure to film a production, from the rental accommodation to the teams, is fantastic. Everyone speaks fluent English, which greatly helps with communication”, she indicates.

The German actors Jochen Horst and Ludger Pistor star in this action and comedy series commissioned to UFA Fiction by the platform RTL Plus.

A subsidiary of Fremantle – part of the European giant RTL Group – UFA Fiction is also responsible for such successful productions as the series Deutschland 83 and the film El médico.

The Head 2, on a cargo ship

The Mediapro Studio is on the verge of starting filming the second season of The Head in Tenerife – an international franchise. The first season, also filmed on the island, was co-produced by Hulu Japan and HBO Asia.

The Head 2 again features Jorge Dorado (El Embarcadero) as the Director of all its episodes and Ran Tellem as the Development Director. The scriptwriters Mariano Baselga and Jordi Galcerán have also joined the project.

For this second season, the creation, production and content distribution factory of Grupo Mediapro will use an isolated and inaccessible location as the main setting. In this case, it will be a huge cargo ship that sails on a scientific mission in mid-ocean.

For The Mediapro Studio, The Head has been a key title in its international strategy. Filmed in English, the first season has been distributed and premiered in 90 countries.

Another recent film shoot by the Spanish company in Tenerife was the comedy Reyes vs. Santa, directed by Paco Caballero (Amor de madre) and produced by Morena Films, with the participation of Prime Video and RTVE. The film also included film locations in Toledo, Madrid and Segovia.

North American producers

On the North American side, Skydance TV and Amazon Studios have maintained a busy production schedule on the island, which began last year with the filming of the first season of the science fiction series Foundation, produced together with Paramount TV for Apple TV Plus, which included the services of the Canary Island company Sur Film.

At the start of the year, this great Hollywood production returned to Tenerife to film its second season, which lasted for 19 days of work in different futuristic urban locations like the Tenerife Auditorium in the capital, the church of Santísimo Redentor in La Laguna and other locations, including Puerto de la Cruz.

A new season of the series Jack Ryan, by Tom Clancy has also been filmed recently, a successful production that also included the involvement of Skydance TV and Amazon, and the collaboration of the Canary Island company Seven Islands Film.North American producers highly value the importance of the tax breaks, along with the variety and proximity of the locations offered by the island.

More information about the audiovisual activity on the Island in the Tenerife Film Commission:


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