Government budget cuts affect Spanish cinema
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
04/04/2012 - The Spanish government yesterday confirmed the film sector’s worst expectations at a presentation of the state’s general budgets for 2012 (that some have re-named “the mother of all budget cuts”). Cinema was the cultural sector most affected by the finance minister’s cuts, with a reduction of 36% for the Cinema Protection Fund run by the ICAA. Only €65,94m, of which €49m are for the Cinema Protection Fund (in 2011 it had €76m), are to go to the institute run by Susana de la Sierra.
Of the €49m allocated to the fund, about €35m will go to repayments for the feature films of the 2010 second semester, meaning that the amount available for new projects will be even further reduced.
Over the last weeks, the film industry had called for responsability, knowing that cuts were unavoidable in view of the country’s situation. But members were shocked at the size of these cuts.
“We do not understand why these budget cuts have been so much harder on cinema than on other parts of the cultural arena,” Pedro Pérez, president of the FAPAE producers, told newspaper El Mundo.
The new government has repeated its will to change the actual model, based on direct aid, to another mixed system in which these aids are combined with tax incentives. But in this case the old system has been dismantled before a new one is built.
“You cannot announce a [new] model and dismantle the old one, but then not do anything”, protested Pérez.
The most immediate risk is paralysis and recession in view of the absence of a model capable of sustaining the current volume of production. Results are already tangible. So far in 2012, cameras have started rollling on 25 film sets, while in this same period in 2011 up to 74 projects had kicked off production. According to newspaper El País, out of this year’s 25 films in production so far, most are shorts or documentaries, while only ten are fiction features.
(Translated from Spanish)