Looking beyond its The Alliance partnership with France Télévisions and Italy’s RAI, Germany’s ZDF Studios has boarded six-part series “Boundless,” (“Sin Límites”), an epic adventure tale of the first circumnavigation of the world 500 years ago whose backers include Spanish pubic broadcaster RTVE.
Directed by Simon West (“Con Air,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”), “Boundless” stars Alvaro Morte, the Professor in “Money Heist,” as Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano and “Westworld’s” Rodrigo Santoro as Portugal’s Ferdinand Magellan.
The six-part series is described by Robert Franke, VP drama, ZDF Studios, as “one of the biggest and most ambitious dramas that ZDF Studios has ever had the pleasure of being involved with.”
“Boundless” is produced by Miguel Menéndez de Zubillaga (“Loving Pablo”) for Madrid-based Mono Films (“Descarrilados”) in co-production with Leo Pearlman and Heather Greenwood at London’s Fullwell 73 (“One Direction 3D: This is Us,” “Bros: After the Screaming Stops”). It is co-produced by Patrick Fischer and Richard Kondal.
Backed by Spanish public broadcaster RTVE, it is also one of the biggest Spanish-language plays to date of Amazon’s Prime Video which will bow the flagship drama in exclusivity in Spain and Latin America on June 10. This will be followed by launches, among other territories, in the U.K., the U.S., France and Germany during the summer.
ZDF Studios will handle global distribution rights with RTVE outside Prime Video territories.
The big series is also supported by Spanish regional broadcasters EiTB in the Basque Country – Elcano was Basque, as a lot of the sailors on Magellan’s expedition – Andalusia’s Canal Sur and Madrid’s Ayuntamiento, or Town Hall.
Proposing an expedition to young and then go-ahead King Carlos 1 of Spain, Magellan’s main aim was to break Portugal’s monopoly on the spice trade by forging a route West for Spain around Southern America to the Spice Islands, the Moluccas in Indonesia, which he had already conquered for Portugal in 1511.
Magellan left Spain in command of a fleet of five ships in 1519. After three years of starvation, storms which sunk one ship, freezing temperatures in what became known as the Strait of Magellan, constant mutinies, battles with valiant indigenous inhabitants of Philippine islands and madness, a ghost ship barely returned home with 18 survivors and a hull full of spices.
The voyage changed the world, finally proving that Mother Earth was round and teeming with life, ZDF Studios announced in a press release Tuesday.
Ripe for partnership between Europe’s public broadcasters – a broad-based historical adventure which is historically instructive and allows for high production values and family viewing – “Boundless” appears from its Spanish-language trailer to have its narrative backbone in the personal growth of Elcano who began the expedition as a prisoner, spent much of its early part in chains, but takes destiny into his hands, rising to the challenges of leadership and coming back a captain.
“We are pleased to again be working with our long-standing partner RTVE on another exciting project. The producers have been fantastic in securing top class talent, both on and off screen, in order to do this epic story justice,” said Franke.
He added: “It has been a pleasure to cooperate with Mono Films and Fulwell 73 on such an extraordinary show for the very first time. The high production value throughout makes this a premium ‘must-watch’ series that will captivate audiences around the world.”
ZDF Studios hosted an exclusive pre-screening of the first episode of “Boundless” for B2B clients at NEM in Dubrovnik on June 6.
RTVE and ZDF Studios will present “Boundless” to a selected group of international buyers at its private RTVE Showcase in Madrid on June 16 in the presence of Simon West and Álvaro Morte, among others.
“As a public broadcaster, at RTVE we are thrilled to be part of such a fantastic TV series based on one of the most important events in Spanish history,” said José Pastor, RTVE Film & Fiction Director. “We strongly believe that ‘Boundless,’ as an adventure content with high production values, will not only connect with any kind of audience from all over the world, but will also allow them to learn about a wonderful achievement of Spanish culture.”
“Fulwell 73’s scripted team is proud to help shine a light on forgotten stories of human ingenuity. It’s been a delight to work on this ambitious period drama with our co-producers Mono Films and to welcome on board a top class team of film makers,” added Greenwood, senior executive at Fulwell 73.
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