Country Focus: Spain
Spain: the Spanish policy for the production of films (March 2005)
by Arantza Mota
- In Spain audiovisual funding comes essentially from the annual state budget managed by the "Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales" (ICAA). The aids established by the Spanish Film Fund cover the principal stages of project production, distribution, and commercial exhibition.
The Spanish audiovisual Fund has steadily been growing during the past years, up to the 63.13 millions of 2005. Almost 90% is devoted to film production. An average number of 90 feature films per year receive automatic support, about 14 films aid on project; about 25 short films realised by independent producers are also supported.
These aids mainly take the form of non-reimbursable subsidies. They are granted in accordance with objective and automatic criteria, although a small proportion consists of selective aids to projects. Productions receive general aid equivalent to as much as 15% of box office receipts of the first year after release. This amount may not exceed 33% of the production costs.
There are also complementary aids established to promote creativity and the renewal of Spanish cinema. To reach this objective the ICAA grants subsidies up to 60% of the film budget to independent producers that incorporate new directors or to experimental works of remarkable artistic and cultural content after the advice given by an Expert Committee called to this effect.
The Spanish system foresees tax exemptions for film production companies up to 20%, and recognises the figure of financial co-producer for non production companies that invest in feature films and TV movies (which amounts to some 18 millions euros each year).
The lending policy is crucial for Spanish film production. Each year agreements are established with the Official Credit Institute (ICO), which remits funds to the banks from which producers apply for credits. The ICAA will pay the interest on these loans. In recent years such loans have amounted to an annual average amount of 30 millions euros.
The current system of subsidies is also set to foster the number of co productions, an essential financing factor for an increasingly competitive world-wide audio-visual market coping with ascending budgets. In the Spanish market as a whole a total of 41 co-productions were made in 2004.
During 2005, television networks have definitely been obliged to invest 5% of their turnover in the production of feature films and films made for television, an obligation that Spanish networks were not following.
Additionally there is an increasing number of regional funds set up by the so called Autonomous Communities in Spain. Among the more active regions we may cite Catalonia, Galicia, Valencia and the Basque Country (see frame). Other Communities such as Madrid, Andalusia, Canary Islands, and Navarre foresee Funds to foster audiovisual production in their regions.
The growth of the amounts and simple requisites to be met by production companies willing to qualify for regional funding reflect the wish to attract both Spanish and European co producers towards the region.