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  • Jennifer Green

Spain Looks to Expand its Global Profile (Hollywood Reporter)

Three years after a strategic plan to promote the audiovisual industry and attract foreign film shoots and investments, the Spanish location sector is booming, but there's still room to grow: 'We have managed to increase our competitiveness on the internationational stage.'


When people talk about the recent Spanish audiovisual boom, they often highlight as a key turning point the government’s identification of the industry as a “strategic” one. Gone are the days when naysayers jeered the subsidization of a snoozy cinema. Today, young people flock to film schools, international producers are setting up shop in Spain and busy crews are getting trained on some of the world’s biggest productions coming to shoot here. Times have changed.

 

Then again, times are constantly changing, and as this story was being reported, the head of Spain’s film-friendly administration, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, announced he might resign over “harassment” of his family, rankling nerves in the film sector. Pedro Almodóvar, filming Julianne Moore-Tilda Swinton-starrer “The Room Next Door,” penned an open letter to El Diario newspaper admitting that he “cried like a child” over the news. A few days later, the PM announced he would stay in office.

Sánchez championed the “Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe” strategic plan for Spanish cinema, launched in 2021 to pump 1.6 billion euros ($1.72 billion) into the industry through 2025. The Hub has four concentrations: attracting foreign investments and shoots, improving financial and tax instruments, training talent – especially women, and regulatory reforms and elimination of administrative barriers. 

 

The ‘Spain Audiovisual Hub’ Plan marked a before and after for the promotion of the Spanish audiovisual industry,” underscores Elisa García Grande, executive director of the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute ICEX’s Invest in Spain division, and former head of the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C. “It is an ambitious and innovative initiative in which more than 10 ministries are involved, working in a coordinated way to transform and enhance the entire audiovisual industry and its ecosystem.”

 

She highlights that the initiative both “looks outward to attract investment and support the internationalization of Spanish companies, as well as inward to consolidate our bases. In a relatively short amount of time, we have managed to not only strengthen our image globally, but also to increase our competitiveness on the international stage.” 


Peter Welter, CEO of production services outfit Fresco Film and current vice president of the national producers’ association Profilm, a key mediator between the government and the industry, credits the Hub for bringing industry and institutional representatives, like tax authorities, together for the first time. “They actually found out how the industry worked” and learned the value on return of tax incentives.


“Even if we had a change of government,” Welter offers, “hopefully now they know the economic importance” of the film sector. 

 

Volcano Films Executive Producer and CEO Sebastián Alvarez concurs: “It’s a good initiative which should be continued to fully develop all the program’s points, since they haven’t yet had enough time to get to know the sector and be able to act, working with it.”

 

García Grande will be moderating a panel in Cannes on May 17 on “How to Craft a World Hit in Spain.” Fresco’s Welter, Volcano’s Alejandro Alamo, augenschein Filmproduktion’s Jonas Katzenstein and Number 9 Films’ Stephen Woolley will join her to talk about shooting in Spain.

 

Read the full story in The Hollywood Reporter.

Images:

Netflix's "Who is Erin Carter" courtesy of Palma Pictures

Apple TV+'s "Foundation"

"Wonder Woman 1984" courtesy of Sur Film


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