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LEGISLATION Spain

Exhibitors and distributors take on Catalonian government

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As if there weren’t enough problems with cinema in Spain, after Brussels blocked film funding (see news), the controversial anti-piracy measures (see news) and the possible unconstitutionality of the law that requires television networks to invest 5% of their revenue in film, now the regional governments, in this case Catalonian, are putting their oar in and prolonging the sector’s state of anxiety.

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The Catalonian government, perhaps with its sights on the autumn elections, has issued an ultimatum to the film industry for the approval of the draft Catalonian Film Law, which includes the obligation that 50% of release prints be dubbed in Catalan (with the exception of Spanish and European productions on a print run of 15 or less).

The most affected sectors, exhibitors and distributors, reacted immediately and described the measure as “unfair”. Several trade unions, the Film Distributors’ Federation (FEDICINE) and the Catalonian Film Entrepreneurs’ Guild have written a manifesto that denounces "the threat posed by the bill to the sector’s viability and the future of its workers". According to their calculations, it would cause losses of 14% in the first year and the elimination of 1,768 jobs.

For its part, the government defends the measure as a way of protecting the Catalan language. With regard to the fear of US majors that agreeing to this demand in Catalonia will set off a chain reaction in other parts of Europe, Culture Minister Joan Manel Tresserras argues that the region is "a perfect place for trying out this change of model".

Besides the all-powerful majors, who claim that Catalonia represents no more than 1% of their market, and the linguistic aspirations of the Catalan government, exhibitors fear that, in the end, they’ll be the ones to pay the price for this affair.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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