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INDUSTRY / MARKET Spain

The Spanish government to set aside €76.4 million in support of culture

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- Yesterday, the Council of Ministers approved a package of measures that include support for the audiovisual sector to help it face up to the global crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic

The Spanish government to set aside €76.4 million in support of culture

Yesterday, 5 May, the Spanish government’s Council of Ministers passed a Royal Decree-Law with measures intended to support the cultural sector and help it face up to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, endowed with a €76.4 million budgetary investment from the Ministry of Culture and Sport. It includes a tranche of support for the audiovisual field and will bring a certain amount of relief to the sector, which, for the last few weeks, has been demanding aid from the Spanish state for one of the industries that have been hardest hit by the ongoing crisis.

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For example, as stated on the website of the Spanish Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), there has been approval for a relaxation of the deadlines and the stipulations demanded of production companies when they apply for general and selective support for the production of feature films (since the start of the health crisis, around 300 shoots have ground to a halt); there has been a redrafting of Article 36 of the Corporation Tax Act to increase the amount of deductions when investing in production; a line of subsidies has been introduced so that movie theatres (which have been closed for weeks around the entire country) can defray the costs resulting from the crisis; a direct subsidy has been granted to the Mutual Guarantee Company for Audiovisual Finance (SGR) to stimulate the funding of the sector under more favourable conditions; and an unemployment allowance has been implemented for those workers who have not been able to carry on working.

Films that are recipients of general or selective support will now have a more flexible deadline to begin filming, the countdown for which will not start until the current state of emergency has ended. Likewise, other deadlines are being extended, such as those for applying for the qualification and certification of nationality, signalling the end of shooting, confirming the costs incurred by the film, carrying out the commercial release, declaring takings and delivering a copy of the movie to the Spanish Film Library. In addition, companies will be able to collect 50% of the support handed out (even if the shoot has not begun), the number of commercial movie theatres in which a release is obligatory has been reduced by 50%, and the necessary percentage of the support destined for physical copies and promotion has been lowered. Also, until 31 August, the definition of “release” will be broadened to encompass one that happens on television, platforms or video on demand, thus meaning that there is no obligation to do so in movie theatres.

According to the rewording of Article 36 of the approved Corporation Tax Act, the percentage of the deduction for investing in film productions has risen by 5%. Furthermore, the upper limit of the deduction has been modified, jumping from €3 million to €10 million. Also, the deduction that will benefit those companies in charge of staging a foreign production in Spain has been increased by 5%.

Another of the measures established by the Royal Decree-Law is the creation of an Extraordinary Social Fund, endowed with €13,252,000, to support exhibitors through the granting of subsidies to movie theatres. The aid is intended to provide money for the process of adapting to the compulsory sanitary measures (a risk assessment and plan for employees and audiences, or the purchasing of face masks, disinfectant and partitions) and modifying the actions necessary to heighten the visibility of the cinemas’ reopening. The beneficiaries will have to fulfil a 30% screen quota of European titles during the following year.

More detailed information about the Royal Decree-Law passed yesterday, with accompanying documents addressing various queries and frequently asked questions, can be found here (in Spanish).

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(Translated from Spanish)

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