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Atresmedia TV, Zeta Studios, ‘Age of Anger’ Author Nando López Tease Teen Drama ‘Red Flags’ in Berlin


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Simmering teen angst meets social awareness in “Red Flags,” an Atresplayer Original created by award-winning author and playwright Nando López, whose novel “The Age of Anger” was previously adapted for television by Lucía Carballal (“Locked Up”) and backed by The Mediapro Studio (“The Head”) and Atresmedia TV (“Money Heist”).

The project features within the second annual Next From Spain Sessions part of the Berlin Film Festival’s Berlinale Series Market, providing a first look at anticipated Spanish-language programming from industry heavy hitters that include the series producers Atresmedia TV and Zeta Studios.

“’Red Flags’” is a teen drama that portrays with honesty, and without taboos or paternalism, the emotional life of Generation Z,” Miguel García Sánchez, sales director at Atresmedia, told Variety.

“The series fearlessly explores the everyday realities of four friends, delving into their experiences of loneliness, interpersonal interactions and their strong fellowship created through social networks,” he continued.

Distributed by Atresmedia TV International Sales, García Sánchez notes that “Red Flags” “is already generating significant interest thanks to the direct and natural way it addresses these themes.” 

The eight-episode drama kicks off as adolescent firebrand Erika (Mar Isern) unwittingly provokes a wave of introspection after an uncut video of her Rubenesque body goes viral.

She and three relatable peers, Luna (Iria del Valle), Toni (Diego Rey) and Walter (Ibrahima Kone), begin to virtually bond as they simultaneously grapple with unhealthy doses of budding misogyny, befuddling social standards and the consequences of their actions in an unrelenting modern world, full of permanent ridicule. 

“This generation can’t explore their identity without being looked at and analyzed on social media —they can ‘measure’ their popularity in likes or followers— and this pressure can be dangerous for their mental health,” López relayed.

Attempting to comprehend the reality of their experiences versus the scripted versions they portray online, the four struggle to lift the veil, leading to profound solitude in the woefully misguided era of youth seeking shelter when there’s no room at the inn.

“In ‘Red Flags’ we wanted to talk about how deeply we need to reconnect and interact and the importance of creating safe places where we can grow up without being permanently observed and judged,” López remarked.

The series further explores the effects of unfettered internet access on a generation that grew up in its grasp and the collateral damage of pornography as sex ed, over-edited online personas as currency and a lack of genuine connection, all while its characters push back against rigid norms. 

No stranger to coming-of-age tales, López credits the “excellent” team at Zeta Studios and Atresmedia and his prior writing experience for the near-seamless transition to series writing. Working with Estel Díaz on the script to fine-tune the characters’ development across the season, the pair manages a “sincere” depiction of teenage life, according to López.  Díaz and “Veneno” scribe Ian de la Rosa head-up direction on the series.

“The great challenge for me was to translate the poetry that I’m used to creating with words into images. Estel and I have worked together to create a language of our own in which I could also recognize my own style. The series format allows us to show these teens’ lives almost in a documentary way: Sharing their experiences as if we were one of them, never judging their actions or decisions,” he said.

Innocence lost, romantic expectations demolished, the series succinctly captures the immense and fast-moving pressure to grow up and fit in as the cast volley their emotions off one another, attempting to gain comfort and a sense of community while bonding over shared experiences and sentiment.

“I’ve been writing for teens for almost 15 years now-since publishing ‘The Age of Anger,’ and every day I receive messages from my teen readers whom I often meet in literary talks at high schools. It’s easy for me to talk to them, ask them what kind of things should be told and shown in a series like this,” López explained.

“I think that my first duty as a writer who tries to tell a story starring Gen Z teens is to research, learn and listen to them, so they can express themselves as freely as possible,” he added.

“Red Flags” serves as an unrestrained and affecting coming-of-age narrative, encouraging dialogue via the earnest portrayal of the blundering yet inevitable forward trajectory toward adolescent acceptance in all of its forms.

“We need to depict adolescence in an honest way, describing their injuries, their dreams, their fights. In my literature I’ve always pursued real characters to break walls and prejudices. There are sorts of violence that must continue to be reported till we manage to abolish them. As far as I’m concerned, culture mustn’t look sideways,” stated López.

He concludes: “Teens don’t want to be treated as if they weren’t able to understand and assume the complexity of their reality. They deserve stories where they can recognize themselves. ‘Red Flags’ puts faith in a new, brave narrative. We neither idolize nor moralize. On the contrary, we want our audience to live freely on this journey with our characters and we hope they will have a lot to discuss and to talk about.”

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