3CAT Brings ’Aitana,’ a Doc Film-Miniseries to Market: ‘She’s the Greatest Woman Soccer Player in the World,’ Says Pep Guardiola (EXCLUSIVE)

CANNES — 3CAT, the newly reset Barcelona-based Catalan public broadcaster, and one of the driving forces behind Canneseries highlight “This Is Not Sweden,” is bringing onto the market a new docuseries “Aitana” as the Catalan-language service seeks to cut through the crowd with some of the biggest IPs a territory has: Its soccer stars.

Sold as both a 90-minute movie and also a three-part 40-minute episode mini,  “Aitana” is an inside-track on Barcelona soccer club’s Aitana Bonmatí, winner of the 2023 Women’s Ballon d’Or for best female soccer player in the world.

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“Aitana” world premieres on April 23 on 3CAT’s linear channel and AVOD platform on April 23.

“The Signing” (“El Fitxatge”), about how Barcelona, far from the great soccer club of today, signed up the greatest player in the world, Johan Cruyff, is now near to completion and will be released on 3CAT in May 21.

3CAT also spares a thought for José Luis Nuñez, Barcelona president over 1978-2000, in the four-part series “Nuñez.”

“True events-based productions are a market trend, and in 3CAT we’re happy to count on a wide variety of ongoing in-house projects and co-production proposals on this track,” Pío Vernis, 3CAT audiovisual business director.

“As an audiovisual powerhouse, we’re taking part of both factual or scripted content that embrace and leverage Catalan industry last decades’ deep-rooted tradition in documentary productions. This happy combination of nowadays reputed local showrunners, a strong industry and its long expertise on true-events storytelling gives us a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” he added.

Flowering of Genius: “Aitana”

“Aitana” tracks Bonmatí as she goes about her daily life in 2023, the year of her definitive and extraordinary breakout worldwide.

Beginning to play as an attacking midfielder – where she exhibits a lethal sense of passing into space and ability to drift through lines of defence a split second after her own team’s forwards – Bonmatí’s acceptance of a bigger on-field game-shaping responsibility has coincided with the transformation of the Spanish national team from an also ran, never quite fulfilling its promise, to the best women’s soccer team in the world.

Last season, Bonmatí won every tournament for which Spain and Barcelona were eligible, taking in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Europe’s Champions’ League and Spain’s Liga and Copa de la Reina, Bonmati was awarded the Golden Ball for best player at the 2023 World Cup, UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Award and Ballon d’Or Féminin, awarded by France Football, the men’s equivalent going to Lionel Messi. In Instagram Nike has called Bonmatí’s 2022-23 season “the best season. Of any footballer. Ever.”

The series climaxes with Bonmatí meeting former Barcelona and now Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who describes her as the greatest female soccer player in the world.” Both subscribe to a soccer style – possession, flexibility, passing, running and playing into space, mobility – which has its DNA in a tradition dating back to Cruyff, the architect of the modern soccer game who coached Guardiola as a player.

More Than a Soccer Player

There’s more, however, to “Aitana.” “In the lifestyle space, celebrity profiles are increasingly linked to some sort of activism and political engagement,” Variety has noted.  “It’s not just about a celebrity,” says Rossmanith. “It has to say something more,” Beatrice Rossmanith, head of global business for consulting firm Glance told the publication.

On this note, “Aitana” delivers, featuring her mother’s two decade campaign, taking to Spain’s parliament, for Bonmatí maternal surname – Bonmatí – to be placed before her father’s. The documentary also registers Bonmatí’s work for the UN Refugee Agency. “More than a Club,” Barcelona’s slogan runs in a reference to its status as a meeting point for various kids of Catalan nationalism or fan-base sentiment. With players like Bonmatí, who leverage their fame in social activism, that phrase may also take on a broader sense. 

“Nuñez,” “The Signing” 

An affectionate dramedy doc portrait of 0ne of the most colorful of Spanish soccer club presidents, a Basque-born outsider and real estate constructor, “Nuñez” was designed as a digital exclusive factual series for 3CAT’s AVOD service but, such was its popularity and buzz – in traditional and social media – that it ended up airing on 3CAT’s linear channel, averaging a robust 16% market share.

Structured as a one-piece on 3CAT’s linear channel; and a two 45-minute episode series on 3CAT’s AVOD platform and Prime Video, “The Signing” will be released on both platforms simultaneously. A Spanish-language dubbed version will play exclusively on Prime Video.

“3CAT also bets on sports as one (not only) of the most interesting sources for scripted and non-scripted stories.  The sports’ world, due to its combination of iconic figures, extreme competitiveness and fanbase, in most cases is a field that is bringing us very good results lately,” Vernis noted.

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