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Spanish Podcasters TrueStory Pact with Kowalski Films, Feelgood Media

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The growing pantheon of films and TV series inspired by podcasts continues apace with such noteworthy spinoffs as “Homecoming,” “The Dropout” and “WeCrashed” leading the pack. 

It doesn’t seem so common in the Spanish language but Spanish podcast producer TrueStory is hoping to change that. The award-winning three-year-old company, operating from the U.S. and Spain, has inked a pact with Spanish production companies Kowalski Films (box office hit “Ocho Apellidos Vascos”) and Feelgood Media (Icíar’s Bollaín’s “Maixabel”) to co-create a podcast of actual events that can later be adapted into audiovisual formats.

To date, titles adapted from Spanish-language podcasts are few, although some have emerged in recent years, led by “El gran apagón” from Podium Podcast, which inspired the Movistar Plus+ series “Offworld” (“Apagón”); “El crimen de la guardia urbana” on Netflix, adapted from Carlos Porta’s podcast “Crims”; and “XRey,” the podcast about former Spanish King Juan Carlos by TrueStory co-founder Álvaro de Cozer that Sony Television and Lionsgate are adapting, with “Homeland” producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa executive producing.

The new partnership’s podcast will be titled “Hechos Reales” (“True Stories”) to be hosted by De Cózar, and published weekly.

The first season of “Hechos Reales,” comprising 12 episodes, is set to launch mid-February and will tell stories of different genres in various places around the world, particularly in Spanish-speaking countries. “We are going to cover everything, from political and journalistic thrillers to spy stories, comedy, horror, business battles and the most alternative and original narratives,” said De Cózar, creative director of TrueStory, who has a team currently crafting the stories, with the recent addition of journalists Eva Lamarca and Carola Solé.

“The idea is to generate projects based on real events and the podcast is the first step to later turn these stories into series or feature films. For this, we have partnered with the creators of some of the best-written, most documented, and most relevant podcasts in Spanish made in recent years worldwide,” said Juan Moreno, head of Feelgood Media.

Founded by De Cózar and Pilar Sayáns, TrueStory sees itself as a story factory that adapts a format to suit a story. Aside from podcasts, they ‘ve been producing graphic novels. Its agreement with Kowalski and Feelgood Media is a “natural step” in its trajectory as its current podcasts, “V, Las cloacas del estado,” “Xrey,” “Los Papeles” and “Misterio en La Moraleja,” some clocking over a million listeners, are viewed for their potential as audiovisual adaptations.

Currently, 3% of stories that are adapted into books or series originate from podcasts, according to recently published data at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

And considering that there are 4.3 million registered podcasts around the world, as per podcastindex.org, there’s indeed no shortage of source material to tap.

“We had been searching for a method to develop relevant projects for the audiovisual industry that was innovative and allowed us to work with the best. With this alliance with TrueStory, we believe we have finally found that source for generating top-level projects,” said Koldo Zuazua, head of Kowalski Films.

“It’s a significant step for TrueStory as, with this investment, we can carry out our vision, grow the team, focus on deepening our business model hand in hand with two of the best Spanish production companies, and expand the reach of our stories into the film industry,” said Sayans, CEO of TrueStory.

“We want this podcast to be the space where creators feel at home and reach agreements with them on intellectual property. Most stories will initially come from our factory, but our vocation is to help others tell their stories,” added Sayans.

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