What is the current situation of the webseries production, what are the possible future developments and how is its relationship with the media….we asked these and much more to María Albiñana, spanish attress, writer and director, internationally known for playing the rule of Violeta in the famous award-winning webseries Sin Vida Propia, directed by Ana Ramón Rubio. A nice talk with María about her experiences in the world of entertaiment through theater, cinema and tv, that brought her to play more complex and challenging rules, until the webseries which led her win the awards for Best Actress (LAWebFest, Rome Web Awards) and coordinate with Ana Ramón Rubio an an international contest in one of the most famous and long-lived Spanish film festival, the Valencia International Film Festival (Cinema Jove). With her, we tried to figure out what is the current role of the webseries in traditional media and what would be their fate.
1) The world knew you thanks to the famous webseries Sin Vida Propia, but in your career there are also cinema, theatre, tv. Which one of these experiences have marked you the most?
It’s true that lots of people have started to follow me thanks to the spanish webseries Sin Vida Propia. It has given me the chance to meet new people from the industry, win an award (Best Lead Actress in Comedy at LAWebfest) and be nominated as Best Actress at Rome Web Awards. But the truth is, that I have been in the industry for over 8 years working in TV, theater, cinema, directing and writing too. I think that every project has been important in my career because it has given me the opportunity to grow as an actress. Probably, one of my latest movies La Madre, which has been screened at La Marché Du Film at Cannes Film Festival 2016, has given me the chance to explore a new world where your eyes needs to speak what your mouth doesn’t say. Also, the role I played in Te echo de menos, directed by Yuki Yoshimatsu and shooted in LA, was a great challenge for me, as an actress. In this case, it becomes easier when you have a good director who totally trusts in your talent.
2) In your opinion, what has changed in cinema and television with the web revolution?
Probably webseries have started a revolution that is expanding and growing so quickly that cinema and television need to catch up. Not in terms of competition but I’m talking about working and co-operating together. Other types of media have discovered new ways of storytelling and distribution platforms. In fact, the audience is demanding original, smart and different stories. Directors, writers, producers, actors…sometimes don’t see reflected in cinema or television their creative concerns, therefore they seek other ways. Webseries are the new wave, opened to fresh and creative talent. It obviously, enters in competition with cinema and television. Watch out!
3) …And how did your acting work change with it?
Working in the webseries world just expanded my mind even more. My role, Violeta in Sin Vida Propia, did not ended when we finished shooting. It still has life in social networks such as Facebook or Youtube. It’s as if I had another me living a different life out there!
4) After Sin Vida Propia what other working experience awaits you now?
Right now, I am preparing a play with director and writer Dario Paso-Jardiel (he’s a great writer!). The story goes through the last night of “Jack the Ripper’s” last victim. It’s going to be amazing! And, if everything turns out as it should, I will start shooting for webseries Basketball Wife directed by Michael Ajakwe. I also have two other projects (feature film) but we are still closing dates and stuff. Will let you know.
5) There will be other webseries in your future?
Hope there’s not only one, but plenty more! As I said before, I will be in Basketball Wife, which is a great webseries and has a wonderful cast. But I am open to any other webseries project to knock on my door.
6) You’ve been called to organize with Ana Ramón Rubio the first webseries contest of the 31st edition of the Valencia International Film Festival. How was that experience?
In fact, it was Ana and I who called Valencia International Film Festival (CinemaJove) and proposed them to collaborate with us in this. Having a webseries section in an international film festival was one our main goals. As I said before, having feature films, short films, documentaries etc working together and co-operating with webseries is fantastic. At the end, we are all creators who have different ways of telling those stories that are inside us. We thought it was important for webseries creators to be in relation with international filmmakers in an international cinema festival, because it could widen their professional possibilities, which could help them in futures projects. Of course, thanks to the sensibility of the director of the festival and the director of the Valencian Film Institute we could carry out our idea. Also the support of the webseries community was key during the whole process. Our international jury, Michael Ajakwe, Antoine Disle and Adrià Monés didn’t think it twice when it came to support us and share with the festival all their knowledge. In conclusion, we are so happy and glad to have been able to get a webseries section in the Valencia Cinema Festival…and with such a high quality! Hope next year edition is as good as the first one.
7) What was the International feedback?
We are so pleased with the enormous support and diffusion from online platforms specialized in webseries…as you have! The webseries family is growing and all the members try to take care of the new ones. So we are very happy to have big brothers like LA Webfest or Marseille Web Fest. But of course, many other web festivals have helped us and extended their hand when needed. We expect that in next year’s edition the word spreads and we have even more creators wanting to come over to Valencia.
8) Compared to the rest of the world, how is the current webseries production in Spain and how it’s developing?
Spain has a huge production of webseries and of web festivals too! We have over 5 webseries festivals in Spain and growing! Spain has started to be a country of reference in webseries production. Production companies have take notice of it and some of them have started to stand up for this new media, trying to make money with webseries… But the truth is that, even though we have many creators and lots of talent, we are still a bit ahead of the budgets that other webseries have in countries like Canada, US etc. Hopefully, production companies and other film festivals will start to support and include spanish webseries with the believe that they contribute to the industry and make a profit.
9) As of today, which are the potentials and the limits of webseries production?
I think the big question is: is it possible to make money with webseries? I believe that the fact of having so many professionals working and sharing their talent, should generate money. But, truth be told, it doesn’t usually happen. The big potential of webseries is the freedom. There are no limits, no rules for creation…isn’t that just great?
10) In your opinion, which is the destiny of webseries?
Destiny? Who knows? I think webseries have become a pool talent. So I believe that maybe TV or cinema will start looking on webseries when they search for talent or new ideas.
11) There will be the second edition of the Valencian contest, and if yes, can you give us any anticipation of it?
We still don’t know much but we can assure that the Director of the Festival is willing to have a second edition, so…fingers crossed! Of course, after the success of the first edition, it will be a pity not to have a second round.
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