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San Sebastián 2023 – San Sebastián Industry

Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...

San Sebastián gauges the “Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe” plan


The film festival and the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation organise a professional meeting to assess the process of the initiative and contextualise it in Europe

San Sebastián gauges the “Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe” plan
Spain's First Vice-President and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Nadia Calviño during the conference "Building a European Audiovisual Ecosystem", at the San Sebastián International Film Festival (© Festival de San Sebastián/Pablo Cifuentes)

Spain's First Vice-President and Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Nadia Calviño opened the professional conference "Building a European Audiovisual Ecosystem", which took place during the 71st San Sebastián International Film Festival. With the aim of gauging the “Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe” plan, presented in 2021 (read more) and to put it in context with the rest of the European audiovisual industry, the event organised as part of the activities of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union brought together Spanish and international professionals attending the festival.

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"We want the audiovisual sector to be one of the driving forces behind the country's modernisation process financed by the European Union's Next Generation funds," said Calviño. While also emphasising the process of digitalisation, internationalisation and attracting foreign investment supported by the plan, as well as enabling access to funding and tax incentives, and improving regulation and removing administrative barriers for the sector. With a 5.2% sector growth last year and 7% contained growth, Calviño made it clear that the plan aims to "not only grow in Madrid and Barcelona, but to invest in infrastructure throughout Spain to create the necessary ecosystem".

Ignasi Camós, the new director of the ICAA after the departure of Beatriz Navas, stressed the "need for a regulatory framework that understands the new phases of the audiovisual sector and has the tools to respond to the needs of the sector's agents" and his intention to continue the Film Law project. And María González Veracruz, secretary of state for telecommunications and digital infrastructures, reiterated that the fact that "we are the only country in the European Union that has dedicated Next Generation funds to the audiovisual sector" and her goal of increasing the sector by 30% by 2025.

The national ecosystem was the starting point for the analysis and assessment of the European ecosystem through three round tables with international guests focusing on business models, collaboration between different sectors and formats, and investment models.

"Producers can play an important role in establishing co-productions with Europe, but it is important that the IPs are our own, Spanish, so that we can keep control over them," explained Domingo Corral of Movistar Plus+. "That is why it is important to protect European creative sovereignty," he continued, in order to maintain this business model across the continent, "having American competition is very good, but they cannot be allowed to monopolise all production”. Pilar Benito, from Morena Films, added, "it is vitally important for companies to internationalise, capitalise and produce, which helps them to grow and compete". Jan Motjo, from the German Beta Films, and Mario Gianani, from the Italian Wildside, added their perspective as international partners of Spanish series productions.

Successful content such as that discussed at the round table on collaborating in different sectors and formats, but based in Spain, through the synergy between literature and series (with the Netflix series The Snow Girl as an example), that between animation and video games (such as the great transmedia success of the Tadeo Jones films), and international co-production (with the new D’Artagnan [+see also:
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And a key part of the ecosystem is the investment models, both private and public. According to Ramón Garnica from Nazca Capital, “the audiovisual sector is losing its way in private equity”. And according to Nathalie Cholet, from the European Investment Fund, “we have a new mandate to invest in content production, although we don't have a formally active fund yet, and we will support digitalisation, green transition and talent development in the sector". Olivia Sleiter from Fremantle stressed the importance of "institutions in countries understanding that the sector is important and helping it", noting that where it is supported, "as in Spain", growth is undeniable.

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(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)

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