Seventy percent less films being shot than in 2011
- Uncertainty over the new government's plans for cinema has frozen film production in Spain.
There were only nine films in production this year by Febraury 14, compared to 29 by February 14 last year. That's a spectacular drop by 70%. A drop caused by the financial crisis that has hit the whole Spanish economy as well as by an excess in films made for release in cinemas, but also in part due to to the uncertainty surrounding the new Spanish government's plans for cinema. In November 2011, the reigns of government were handed over to the conservative Partido Popular (PP), after seven years of the socialist Partido Socialista Obrebro Español (PSOE) in power.
Pedro Pérez, president of the Federation of Spanish Audiovisual Producer Associations (FAPAE), explains that producers want to know what the rules of the game will be.
"Cinema is also a financial transaction," he says. "At a certain point an investment is made, but its economic results are known only much later, with different windows of opportunity for exploitation." In the particular case of financial support from the Cinema and Audiovisual Arts Institute (ICAA), the amount is usually paid back two years after the film's release.
Until now, the government, through the minister of education, culture and sport José Ignacio Wert and through the director of the ICAA Susana de la Sierra, has announced its intention to move on from the actual model, based on direct support, to a mixture in which private investment will take on increasingly more importance, with an expected increase in tax exemption for investment in cinema. But, says Pérez, "so far we have only seen how these changes will happen, in a abstract, not a concrete, manner."
For the immediate future, little by little fears that the PP would radically reform the sector seem to have disappeared. For the ICAA, the next move will be to call for reimbursements for the support given to films released in the first half of 2010. A gesture that, according to Pérez, shows that change will be progressive and that it won't undo the system in place. But there is still a lot more to know about what the great public cinema officials have planned: "I hope that we will have the full picture by the end of March," says Pérez.
(Translated from Spanish)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.