Why Spain is so Appealing to International Filmmakers

March 6, 2011
Ciudad De La Luz film studios, Valencia, Spain

Ciudad De La Luz film studios, Valencia, Spain

Imagine a country with attractive private finance, excellent facilities and locations, some of the hottest filmmaking talent in the world, along with generous national and regional subsidies. Well there’s no need to imagine, all this currently exists in Spain.

Denis Pedregosa, vice president of productions at Kanzaman films said, “International producers that come and work with Spanish producers can potentially access about 50% of their budget from the funding sources available, which is huge compared with, say, New Mexico where you get about 10%.”

It was in January 2010 that a huge new development occurred for both Spanish and international producers alike. The Spanish Film Institute (ICAA) approved a national film fund worth $125 million in a move to encourage international co-productions. Under this government backed fund, filmmakers can access up to $2 million of subsidy per movie once it has been classified as Spanish. For international producers wishing to access the subsidy, they must prove they are working in partnership with a Spanish producer. The Director General of the ICAA said, “We want to bolster the local film industry through our subsidy system, while encouraging international interest in our projects and talent.”

Regional subsidies in Spain are especially attractive to international producers with partners in those regions. One specific example is the region of Valencia which offers to match up to 20% of local expenditure. The Cold Light Of Day, starring Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, is being filmed at Ciudad De La Luz film studios in Alicante, Valencia (Pictured above). Among the studios facilities are two backlots, six film sets, and the largest water tank in Europe. CEO of Telecinco Cinema, Ghislain Barrois said, “We’re using the water tank to create the wave effect and flooding from the tsunami for the movie The Impossible,” which stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, and is due for release later this year. 

However, Valencia has not escaped the global recession. The Valencian Film Institute (IVAC) has had its budget slashed from $9 million to $3.9 million for 2010 and 2011. Simon De Santiago is a producer at Mod Producciones, the company that backed the Spanish-Mexican drama Biutiful (2010), which starred Oscar nominated actor Javier Bardem. De Santiago said, “The regional subsidies are great and we are open to using them, but they are inevitably being affected by the crisis.”

In the region of Catalonia, where the movie Biutiful was filmed, the Government recently passed a new film law which approves the funding of no more than two international projects per year. The deal will be worth an estimated $1.5 million per project. Funds are awarded on a rigorous selection basis. The money is administered by the Catalonian Government’s subsidising body the (ICIC), and international producers will need to apply through them.

Contact the Author: MikeStringer@ArtsandEntertainmentPlayground.com


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