Recognizing the country’s film industry as a key driver of a potential post-pandemic recovery, the government is setting its sights on rapid growth.
In March 2021, after months of industry talks, Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez unveiled a multipronged plan to bolster the country’s audiovisual sector. Four months later, while visiting the U.S., he upped the ante by vowing to convert Spain into the “Hollywood of Europe.”
His dreams appear to be — by many measures — coming to fruition. Insiders chalk it up to the new public-private collaboration via what has been dubbed the Spain Audiovisual Hub plan, which treats the industry, finally, as a strategic one that isn’t dependent on subsidies — as critics have long barked — and becomes something that can play an important role in the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
“The implementation of the Spanish government’s Spain Audiovisual Hub plan is crucial for the Spanish industry since it arose to meet the historical demand of the sector,” says Elisa Garcia Grande, executive director of ICEX-Invest in Spain, a division of the country’s export and investment board. “For the first time, it concedes the industry’s strategic role within the Spanish economy.”
Launched in March 2021 with a public investment of 1.6 billion euros ($1.56 billion) through 2025, the Hub has been working on four key areas: attracting foreign investments and shoots; improving financial and tax instruments; training talent, with a special focus on women; and implementing regulatory reforms and eliminating administrative barriers.
The plan’s stated objective is to increase film and TV production in the country by 30 percent by 2025 to solidify Spain as both a production leader and an attractive location for investment, talent and international shoots.
Included in these measures is the launch of the Spain Audiovisual Bureau to answer questions and facilitate collaborations. The Hub’s multilingual website is averaging about 50,000 unique monthly visitors since its May launch, according to Garcia Grande.
“This government is much more aware of the benefits of the film industry than previous governments,” says Peter Welter Soler, a partner in Spanish production services outfit Fresco Film and current vice president of the national producers association Profilm, a key mediator between the government and the industry.
He suggests that the fact the AV industry kept working during the pandemic contributed to the new vision of its strategic advantage in a country traditionally reliant on tourism, real estate and agriculture. The new perspective sees the industry as one “that can bring a lot of benefits, jobs, money and well-being to the society in general,” he says.
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