Industry Report: Financing
Audiovisual Policies in Andalusia
by Cartoon, the European Association of Animation Film
- Victoria Fernández Andrino has a degree in Audiovisual Studies from the University Complutense of Madrid (UCM) and followed a postgraduate degree course in Film & Audiovisual Heritage at the UCM and the University of Bologna in Italy. She has been working in the Audiovisual Department of the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Culture since 2000, and at the moment, she is Head of Programmes in the Audiovisual Funding Department.
What type of funding is available for the sector?
As far as specific funding for the sector is concerned, there are various calls for proposals. It is important to remember that we don’t have a specific fund for animation. Animation is included in each and every one of the grants we offer.
We support the audiovisual sector from the start. The funds are always non-repayable grants for development, production, distribution, promotion, and subsidies for co-production.
We also provide another type of backing in the shape of certain agreements, such as the one we have with the regional television channel RTVA to acquire rights. The repayable loan fund is something quite new.
How many projects have been submitted in the last two years?
As far as the non-repayable funding is concerned, 122 projects have been submitted for development (20 were animation), and 152 projects for production (15 were animations). The percentage of the submissions and those that have received funding is always much higher in animation. Almost 16M€ were distributed in 2008 and 2009.
We have funded the distribution and promotion of 56 projects (5 animation ones) with a total of 400,000€.
Animation has some particular characteristics, and this is reflected in the maximum amounts we give to each of the projects. They are always more than for non-animated projects. The maximum amounts for a non-animated feature-length film are 300,000€, and up to 360,000€ for an animated one. The production fund has 5M€ per year.
What are the requirements for a producer to request regional grants?
As in all the European regions, the production company always has to be from this region, to be Andalusian, to be at least established in the region.
All the grant beneficiaries have to be independent production companies. They must have their headquarters or a branch in the Andalusian region.
After the projects have been received, what is the selection process like?
For the most important call for proposals, which is production and development, we receive about 250 projects in total, for feature-length films, shorts and documentaries.
We have a phase in which we review the projects one by one. Then a rectification phase in which the applicants can correct mistakes in documents or contribute missing ones. There is a 2-month period in which the selection committee studies the projects and then it gets together in Seville for two days to discuss and draw up the list of those who are selected.
We always try to bring people in for the selection committee from outside the region so that their involvement in the projects is as small as possible.
Do you have some kind of yardstick in the committee for measuring production values?
Yes, when the committee members study the projects, they have a score sheet, which is included in our call for proposals. There is a first assessment phase of the quality and artistic value of the script, the viability of the funding plan, and the coherence of the budget…
There are two phases, and the committee assesses everything in the first and gives them a score. The projects are put in order, and there is a cut at a certain point with some not passing the limit.
What are you planning to do in 2010?
We have to introduce some changes, which are necessary, according to the European Commission, since the Spanish law has changed. And as the law has changed, we have to adapt our regional law to the Spanish law, and, above all, which is what Europe is most concerned about, the regional funds must never enter into conflict with competition law. Therefore, there are some paragraphs in the call for proposals which we have to go over with a fine toothcomb, so that the famous competition law doesn’t turn into our worst enemy.
One of the things the Commission is asking us to do is to remove all the low budget grants from the call for proposals for general grants, and to process them as de minimis grants.
What is the structure of the co-production grants?
This fund has a low budget, 600,000€, so there is backing for only two, maximum three projects. What we want to do this year is transfer the money from production grants to co-production, so that co-productions can apply directly.
For these grants, the beneficiary always has to be an Andalusian company, and it is obligatory to submit a co-production contract with a national or international co-producer, or with various coproducers. At the moment, the maximum amount is 200,000€.
The percentages that an Andalusian production company must have are 20% for films equal to or less than 3M€, 10% between 3 and 6M€, and 5% for films over 6M€.
What is the structure of the repayable loans?
This is something new this year. There is an allocation of 10M€ for loans for cultural activities, including theatre, dance, music…
Obviously audiovisual projects are much more costly, so the budget they have is nothing like those for book, dance or music projects.
Does the grant money have to be spent in Andalusia?
Yes, the grant is for an Andalusian company. It can be a co-production, but the backing is for both the Andalusian company and the Andalusian budget. The film can have a budget of 2M€, but the percentage the Andalusian company has may only amount to 800,000€, so we give the grant on the basis of that 800,000€.