Spain earmarks €10 million in aid of exhibitors
- The cabinet of the Spanish government has approved a Royal Decree to get theatrical screenings back on track after the setbacks caused by COVID-19
On Tuesday 5 October, at the behest of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, the cabinet of the country’s government approved a Royal Decree regulating the direct granting of support to film exhibitors, for a total amount of €10.2 million. This backing is intended for natural and legal persons that own theatres registered as private businesses or as non-profit organisations established in Spain. The objective is for the owners to be able to keep them open and carry out activities related to film exhibition and the realisation of cultural projects, as well as promotional activities and those designed to attract audiences, from 1 January until 31 December this year.
The support provided is of an exceptional nature, on account of the situation created by the coronavirus crisis, because the restrictions that were applied to halt the spread of the virus affected the cinemas, as they had to reduce their occupancy and even close in some cases. Through this Royal Decree, the government demonstrates that it considers it necessary to protect the future stability and viability of the theatres, given their undeniable and fundamental nature as a vehicle for accessing culture, as well as their social and economic impact on the areas and communities where they are located, and on other services linked to leisure activities. The grants will be financed by the “support for movie theatres” budget line, from the ICAA’s expenditure budget applicable to the 2021 financial year.
On the other hand, the government also approved an institutional declaration to mark the organisation of the very first Spanish Film Day on Wednesday 6 October. At the behest of the Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, the Spanish government has expressed its commitment to strengthening the Spanish film industry as an integral part of the overarching European one. In addition, it reinforces the protection of film and audiovisual heritage, considering it as Spanish historic heritage, in order to make it accessible for educational, academic and cultural purposes.
“Spanish film, as represented by Luis Buñuel, Carlos Saura, Pedro Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz, Isabel Coixet and Icíar Bollaín, has been, and continues to be, a driving force behind our country’s international outreach, while it also projects an overarching impression of Spain as a modern, democratic country,” it is stated in the aforementioned institutional declaration.
At a public ceremony held at the Doré Cinema in Madrid, the minister declared that film can offer cultural and industrial benefits. He pointed out that medium-sized independent film production companies hire an average of 20 employees and have an average annual turnover of around €15 million. “Between 2010 and 2020, 2,944 features were produced in Spain. More than 80% of these were 100% Spanish productions, while the rest were co-productions. Compared to the countries around us, Spain ranks sixth in the European Union in terms of the number of audiovisual productions and fifth in terms of the number of production hours,” he asserted.
Finally, the minister pointed out that, in spite of the pandemic, last year, 379 Spanish films were exhibited, 6.8 million viewers flocked to the theatres to watch Spanish movies, and the box office raked in €39.4 million. “2022 has to be the year of the Cultural Renaissance. And 6 October has to mark the start of new film projects, shoots and more releases for Spanish films. And, above all, more people in the movie theatres,” Iceta stressed.
(Translated from Spanish)
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