Walking through the streets of San Cristóbal de La Laguna at Christmas takes you to another world. Start on Avenida Trinidad, where the characteristic scent of roasted chestnuts invites you to warm up with a handful of this traditional Christmas snack.
Next, a stroll along busy Calle Herradores, one of the main main streets in La Laguna. Until the 19th century, this was the capital of Tenerife, hosting important artists and figures of recognized prestige that gave the city the charm that, centuries later, made it a World Heritage Site.
Calle Obispo Rey Redondo is one of the prettiest Christmas spots with an illuminated walkway all the way to the lovely Plaza del Adelantado. This is the spot where locals and visitors alike take a photo and create a Christmas memory.
However, the Plaza del Adelantado itself has its own breathtaking festive attractions. Stone benches with angel wings illuminated with LEDS; another perfect photo spot where you often have to queue and get to share the moment and Christmas cheer with other sightseers.
After visiting the Plaza del Adelantado, where by the way you can also try some local Christmas sweets, the next La Laguna Christmas highlight is in the Plaza del Cristo. Here, a giant tree all of 20 meters high lights up the whole square and the La Laguna Market. This historic square was once on the edge of the town and separated the urban zone from the countryside, also known as the “Vega Lagunera”.
And while we talk of history, let’s not forget the divine local tradition known as “Lo Divino” where groups of neighbours walk the streets with instruments and sing popular local carols and Christmas songs to the delight of all passersby. This tradition has been maintained over the years and you still see groups of people walking the peaceful streets of La Laguna, drums in hand, singing the best known carols.
If Christmas at La Laguna has a defining characteristic, it is a peace and tranquility that allows you to enjoy it at your own pace. Wander between highlights and take in historical buildings, festive nooks or just the gentle bustle of local life. La Laguna invites you to relax, disconnect and enjoy the environment around you.
The Barraquito is one of the star drinks of Tenerife. Its mixture of liquor, coffee and lemon captivates locals and visitors to the point of wanting to take the recipe home. We head to an iconic spot for the drink, El Camino in Puerto de la Cruz, to learn the secrets of the perfect Barraquito.
Carlos, our Barraquito ambassador, first shows us a 2016 video that has been seen thousands of times. He tells us how this coffee is an international drink: “They arrive from everywhere, Germans, Poles… the Poles go crazy and ask for ‘Barraquito, Barraquito’ as soon as they arrive, they come with the idea already in their heads.”
As we chat, we prepare the delicious layered drink. First comes the condensed milk; then Licor 43 “to give that cheerful touch”; above this, the espresso coffee; and finally a layer of milk and one of milk foam. Thus the five characteristic colors of the barraquito are achieved. It is essential to finish the recipe with a small slice of lemon and a little cinnamon sprinkled on the foam.
Carlos tells us that part of Barraquito’s success lies in the fact that it is not made in any other part of the continent. “Europeans love their coffee and this one is nothing like Macchiato or Latte. Those are more commercial coffees but the Barraquito is unique, I have been serving them for more than 30 years.”
The first thing to do when drinking the barraquito is to sink the lemon peel into the drink and then stir well with a spoon to mix all the flavors and create a homogeneous color. In the first sip the citrus flavor of the lemon invades the palate almost immediately. Then, the strong note of the Licor 43 kicks in with a strong aftertaste in the throat that no other coffee has. With each sip the palate adapts to the initial surprise and the softness of the coffee mixed with the sweetness of the condensed milk comes through. The drink does not tire; on the contrary, as you get used to the liquor and the citrus you begin to perceive other flavors, like the cinnamon touch that crowns the glass.
The Barraquito also changes its name depending on where you are in Tenerife. In the capital (Santa Cruz, La Laguna) you may have to ask for a “Zaperoco” or “Barraquito especial”. This is because the standard Barraquito comes as a “leche y leche” coffee made with milk and condensed milk (also known as a “café bombón”). Marcial Morera, in his Dictionary of Canarian Language, states that the origin of the “Barraquito” comes from a man named Sebastián Rubio, nicknamed “Barraco”, who used to ask for the drink in bars of the capital of Tenerife.
What is the real secret of Barraquito that makes it so unique? Carlos is very clear on how to prepare his at El Camino. “Like everything in life, you have to put in love. The Barraquito, made with love, is perfection.” We leave the bar with a good shot of energy and a big smile; it is true that things made with love taste much better.
“Your excursion to see whales and dolphins in Tenerife is confirmed,” said the email. I checked it over and over to make sure because I couldn’t wait to get out on the ocean and see the cetaceans.
Where does my Tenerife whale and dolphin trip in Tenerife leave from?
The email said to be at “Puerto Colón” in the southern municipality of Costa Adeje although I could have chosen a trip from Los Cristianos or Los Gigantes. I arrive early so I go for a walk to watch people having fun on pretty Playa de la Pinta beach. I think I’ll head back tomorrow for a swim!
Right on time, I head to the boat and meet the small group of people coming with me on the trip. Everyone is excited to get the chance to see whales and dolphins swimming free in the ocean.
I meet Julian, a friendly traveller who is on holiday and staying in the north of the island. He got up at dawn to make it to the boat in time for the trip. We exchange experiences for a while and he gives me some good tips about places to visit in Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava y Garachico.
Then the captain calls us all on board.
At last we head out to see to look for whales and dolphins
After a quick safety briefing, our guide tells us all about the experience of watching whales and dolphins in Tenerife. He starts by telling us that the boat is proud to be signed up to the Quality Charter that guarantees that it respects the environment and doesn’t disturb the whales and dolphins.
Oh, I almost forgot to say! I put on plenty of sunscreen and a hat as the hot sun. It’s always best to be prepared and protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
Waiting to see the cetaceans
After a few minutes we are out on the open water. The sea is calm but at first we don’t see any animals. Our guide tells us not to worry as we are close to the area where they live. Then, suddenly, a group of whales appears right by the boat.
The captain switches off the engines so we don’t disturb them and as they drift closer to us we can hear the sounds they make as they break the surface to breathe. It’s a magical experience to be out there on the ocean sharing this moment with such beautiful creatures.
As we keep our eyes on the whales, our guide tells us all about the 21 species of whales and dolphins that live in or visit the ocean around Tenerife. The most common species are the bottlenose dolphin and the short-finned pilot whale.
Back to the harbour at Puerto Colón
After two hours on the water and a lovely snack we head back to Puerto Colón. Other trips include a swimming stop at a sheltered cove (especially around Los Gigantes) and there are short options for anyone in a hurry. I’m quite happy with my two-hour trip and have time to chat to Julian again. We swap impressions and a few photos of the day and we even agreed to go diving together in the north of Tenerife. Tomorrow will be another adventure; it looks like my day on the beach will have to wait.
The photographic series Spheres, made by
Tenerife photographer Juanmi Márquez for the magazine The Showroom Mag, won
the Bronze Award in the Fashion/Advertising section of the Moscow International
Foto Awards (MIFA). These awards are a recognition to the work done by
photographers from all over the world and exhibit them in the creative circles
of Russia and Asia.
The series Spheres
is a fashion shooting produced in the Canary Islands and directed by Nicolás
Rosales (Art Director at The Showroom Mag). Its creative team includes Daida
Brito (production manager at La Creme Films), Berta Makowsky (stylist) and
hairdresser Pavel Okhakin and his team, who won the Hairdressing Awards
Russia this year, after winning for three consecutive years the Hairdresser
of the year award. The full editorial will be published in the next issue
of the magazine TSM 032 in mid-October.
This is not the first time Juanmi Márquez wins an international prize. Recently, the editorial Japan Colours won the Bronze award in the Fashion/Advertising section at the PX3 in Paris. Since it was set up in 2007 the Prix de la Photografie has been one of the most prestigious photography awards in Europe (this year more than seven thousand works from over a hundred countries were submitted). Japan Colours, published in issue number 27 of The Showroom Mag, is once again recognised after having won LUX de Plata Moda and Tifa Silver Award in 2018. All this comes in addition to the LUX de Oro award Juanmi Márquez’s got for his The Private List, for The Showroom Mag, in 2015.
Cartoon Forum, San Sebastián International Film Festival, 3D Wire, Mipcom, Mia, Ciclope, Content London and Focus, these are our next engagements
Commission would like to let you know about the latest news on companies and
talent, the opportunities offered by the 40-45% incentives, plus the
exceptional climate and wide range of landscapes available on the Island to
different types of film production, especially to feature films, series and
commercial shoots, in addition to animation projects.
We are first travelling to Cartoon Forum, Toulouse (France) from 16 to 19 September, to then return to Spain to attend, first of all, San Sebastian International Film Festival, where at 8:00 pm on 22 September we’ll be joining some Canarian production companies at Kursaal’s press room to take part in the event ‘Canarias crea cine’ staged by Canary Islands Film. If you’d like to come along, please ask for an invite. We are then on to the animation, videogames and new media market 3D Wire, in Segovia, from 3 to 6 October. Quite a few animation and videogame production companies from Tenerife are also joining us here. B-Water Studios will tell us how they have developed, thanks to Unity, pipeline that is unique in the world in their last production, the series Treasure Trekkers.
Our next engagement is at events specialising in series, like Cannes’ Mipcom from 14 to 17 October; MIA Market in Rome from 16 to 19 October; and Content London, UK from 3 to 6 December.
Also, to cater for the advertising sector, we are taking part in Ciclope Festival in Berlin from 7 to 8 November and in Focus, the meeting place for international productions in London on 3 & 4 December.
All in all, we have eight chances to meet up and find out about the news and opportunities Tenerife and the Canaries offer for film productions.
The international cast includes John Lynch, Tomohisa Yamashita, Laura Bach, Mònica López, Alexandre Willaume, Katharine O’Donnelly, John Lynch, Amelia Hoy and Mónica López, plus the special collaboration of Álvaro Morte
The Island is currently host to the series The
Head, a production by The Mediapro Studio in association with Hulu Japan and
HBO Asia. It has the support of the Environment and Roads Departments of the
Cabildo de Tenerife in terms of managing the shooting permissions as well as
the collaboration of Turismo de Tenerife through its Tenerife Film Commission. For
the shoot, that will last 50 days (from 11 July to 19 September), 40 local professionals
have been hired in addition to ten companies of the island’s film sector.
Head is the first
fiction series by Àlex and David Pastor in Spain. The Canary Islands and
Iceland are the locations chosen for this survival thriller directed by Jorge
Dorado (El embarcadero, Mindscape). The series features an international cast
that includes John Lynch (The Terror), Tomohisa Yamashita (Code Blue), )
Alexandre Willaume (Bajo la superficie, Deep State, Tomb Raider), Laura Bach
(Sprinter Galore, Rita), Mònica López (Hierro, En la ciudad, El habitante
incierto, Acusados), plus the special collaboration of the Spanish actor Álvaro
Morte (the professor, the brain behind the ambitious assault in Money Heist).
The long, dark Antarctic months, the cold, the wind and the vast extensions of
ice together with the feeling of loneliness and claustrophobia are the
distinctive features of this fiction, which consists of six 50-minute episodes.
The plot of The Head, with dialogues in English and Danish, is set at
the international station Polaris VI, on the Antarctica. A reduced group of
scientists from different countries is in charge of keeping the base in
operation during the long polar night. But at the height of winter, the station
stops all communication with the exterior.
The Head is mainly being shot inside two factory premises in the municipality of La Laguna. The only exterior location has been Punta del Inglés, at a singular spot in Parque Rural de Anaga. Shooting has also been made in interiors in special locations such as Auditorio de Tenerife, Finca Tristán, the Floatel Reliance platform or the Brifor unit facilities in La Guancha. In addition to the support of the Cabildo de Tenerife, the production has also enjoyed the help of the town councils of La Laguna and Santa Cruz.
The project, one of THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO’s major investments, took its first steps in 2017 at the prestigious International Series Mania Forum, held in Paris. The Head was presented at a pitching session and aroused great interest among representatives from the media and entertainment sector.
According to Javier Méndez, Chief Content Officer of THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO, “The Head is an example of the direction we’re headed in, with ambitious and complex international projects based on great stories. The Head is a major step in the Studio’s strategy to guarantee that the best stories reach our clients around the world; to do so, we have excellent partner like Hulu Japan”.
Laura Fernández Espeso, Corporate Director and CoHead of TV of THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO, commented: “The Head is the fruit of many months’ labor to meet deadlines when demand for content is huge. Having talent like Jorge Dorado and Àlex and David Pastor working from the beginning to build and shape this project, altogether with a great international cast and a prominent partner such as Hulu Japan, gives an idea of the magnitude of the project. It is a privilege for THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO to bring this amazing series to the audiovisual market”.
“After a process lasting two and half years, we at THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO are proud to bring this unique story to the screen”, explained Tellem. “’The Head’” is about Good and Evil. Our story begins when a group of people find themselves completely disconnected from the world, in the frozen darkness of the South Pole winter. For the unknown killer among them, this is the perfect setting. For everybody else, telling good from evil just might be the thing that saves your life.”
“In ‘The Head’, I made some contribution to the development, which is quite unusual,” director Jorge Dorado explains, “because directors normally join in at a much later stage. And this is very interesting, because this way, the story
in a way becomes yours too.”
The director also emphasizes the work of THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO: “At the moment, no one else in Spain is doing projects of this magnitude and with such international ambition.”
Àlex and David, who have worked on the screenplays of “The Head”, along with Isaac Sastre, define the production as a “claustrophobic thriller with a central mystery.” “The series plays with two different times, because the idea is to find out who the murderer is, the reasons why they have done this, and if there is something else behind or beyond what seem to be a series of crimes,” they suggest.
The Pastor brothers have a brilliant track record in filmmaking with titles like “Carriers” and “The Last Days”, both written and directed by them, and “SELF/LESS”, written by them, directed by Tarsem Singh (“The Cell”) and starring Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds. They made their debut in the TV world with the series “Incorporated”, for the US channel Sy Fy, produced by Pearl Street Films, which is Matt Damon’s and Ben Affleck’s company. The Pastor brothers were in charge of the screenplay and the direction of the pilot episode. Recently, they have
directed the film “Hogar” for Netflix.
THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO
The mission of THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO, the content division of the MEDIAPRO Group, is to expand the creation, production and distribution of content globally, creating high-quality international content in association with the very best Spanish and international talent, including Paolo Sorrentino, Woody Allen, Isabel Coixet, Ran Tellem, Oliver Stone, Daniel Burman, Fernando León de Aranoa, Iván Escobar, Javier Fesser, Patricio Guzmán, Borja Cobeaga, Diego San José, Marc Cistaré, Manuel Huerga, Ernesto Daranas, Gastón Duprat, Mariano Cohn, Laura Belloso, Marc Vigil, Fernando González Molina, Javier Olivares and Ruth García. THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO, with 58 offices distributed across four continents, 14 of which develop and produce content, launched 34 series in 2019 with a global investment of €200 million for the production of series, movies, entertainment programs, short-formats and documentaries. MEDIAPRO has partnered with key industry players worldwide including HBO, Netflix, Amazon, DirectTV, Fox, Viacom, Yle Turner and Disney, which have earned international acclaim winning awards including
2 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes, multiple Goya awards and two Daytime Emmy Awards.
Hulu Japan was originally launched in Sept 2011 by Hulu LLC and got acquired by HJ Holdings Inc, (a Nippon TV company) in April 2014. Over 2 million paying subscribers of Hulu Japan’s SVOD service have instant access to 60,000 videos, and its content line-up covers global-hit scripted series and feature films, local shows including popular dramas, animations, variety shows, documentaries, and Hulu Japan original series besides exclusive catch up and library from Nippon TV, which is the leading terrestrial network and the majority owner of HJ Holdings. Hulu Japan has been maintaining the leading position in the Japanese OTT market since its launch and is regarded as one of the most used services there. Besides Nippon TV, the shareholders include Hulu LLC, Yahoo Japan, TOHO, Yomiuri TV, and CHUKYO TV.
Wholly owned by HBO (a subsidiary of WarnerMedia), Singapore-based HBO Asia brings the best of Hollywood to Asia first through its exclusive licensing deals with major Hollywood and independent studios, including Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and DreamWorks Animation. HBO is available across 23 territories across Asia. HBO Asia has proprietary and award-winning HBO and HBO Asia Original programmes produced exclusively for HBO viewers. HBO Asia broadcasts five 24-hour commercial-free subscription movie channels: HBO, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Hits and Cinemax; an Asian movie channel, Red by HBO; internet streaming platform, HBO GO; subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, HBO On Demand; and a branded SVOD service in China, 鼎级剧场 (ding ji ju chang). HBO Asia is also the exclusive distributor of BabyFirst channel in the region. Log on to www.hboasia.com for more information.
Tenerife Film Commission
Tenerife Film Commission is the brand of Turismo de Tenerife that gives advice to national and international film companies about locations, permissions, and about all the services they may require while shooting on the Island. The wide range of spaces available as well as the natural sets offered by the Island mean multiple areas of the world can be recreated within just a few kilometres. The technology and the local production companies, the incentives and tax breaks available for production companies, plus a privileged climate that allows shooting in exterior location year-round make Tenerife the ideal shooting location.
The heads of FixerCanaryIslands, Javier Navarro Escuela and Pierre Félix, have been frantically busy in the past few months as they worked for feature films, series and TV programmes.
Pierre Félix took part as Spain’sproduction manager in the film Gomera (The Whistlers), by director Corneliu Porumboiu, shortlisted at Cannes Film Festival in 2019. The film will be in theatres on 13 September. He has also been chosen by the international platform www.worldfixer.com and its clients as best fixer in Spain —ex aequo with Sorrel Downer, from Seville—. Please see the ranking here.
activity this year has also taken Pierre Félix and Javier Navarro to be in charge
of production services for the “making of” of the series The Witchers for
Netflix, shot on the island of La Palma in March. They also took care of the
production services for the documentary series Volcanes y Hombres for
the French-German TV channel ARTE, shot in Tenerife, El Hierro and Lanzarote in
Their work in 2019 also includes the production services for the summer publicity campaign of the French department store Le Printemps (shot in February in Tenerife); for the documentary on players in the Canaries of the famous internet game HAY DAY Meet the Farmer, shot in July in Gran Canaria; and the tele-reality programme Cross the Atlantic for the Swedish TV channel TV4, set in Gran Canaria last January.
Regarding special effects, the company caters for every possible need
Alucine SFX Canary has just opened their Tenerife base to operate across the Canary Islands. Their team has wide experience in conceiving and carrying out all kinds of special effects for film, television, commercials and theatre. Their effects include all possible versions of rain, snowscapes or falling snowflakes, fog and smoke, wind, totally safe fires and explosions of every size, body or object bullet-shots, sparks, collapses
make special replicas, specific models of weapons, retractable objects,
breakable bottles, glasses and plates as well as all kinds of dangerous objects
actors have to be hit with or closely interact with. They have and make vehicle simulators, prop
weapons and detonators, muzzle loaders, etc.
Early this year they took care of all the special effects for the film Ron Hopper’s Misfortune directed by Jaime Falero, which included atmospheric effects like fog, rains in addition to classic effects with arrows, swords and fire.
September to November four events specialising in different areas of the film industry
are taking place in Tenerife: two film festivals, a market and a film music festival.
The season starts with Tenerife International Film Music Festival (FIMUCITÉ). It opens on 20 September with the concert Cinema Morricone and closes on 28 September with live-to-picture dedicated to the iconic film Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola.
Next comes Canary Islands International Film Market (CIFFMarket) from 8 to 12 October at Hotel Mencey in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This market offers a business place for films that have not been screened and those at the development stage, including fiction and documentary features, tv movies and series. They can all seek funding at this event.
From 8 to 10 November, DocuRock (International Documentary Festival) will be screening a selection of the best documentaries focusing on the recent international scene of the world of music. The event takes place at TEA, Tenerife Espacio de las Artes in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and starts with the premiere in the Canary Islands of Ara Malikian. Una vida entre las cuerdas, directed by Nata Moreno.
And last, but not least, from 23 to 30 November we can enjoy Isla Calavera, Canary Islands Fantastic Film Festival. The call to submit feature films and short films is open until 10 October. Productions of every nationality, both animation and real image included in the fantastic genre can take part in the event (horror, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller…).
Film Commission collaborates in all these events.