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DISTRIBUTION Spain

Generalitat suggests half of cinema fare should be in Catalan

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Last week, a small bombshell with distinct political overtones shook the Catalonian film distribution sector. The Generalitat (Regional Government) announced its intention to make it compulsory for half the foreign films released in Catalan theatres to be dubbed or subtitled in Catalan, as part of the autonomous region’s first Film Law.

The measure – developed by the regional government’s Department of Culture and Communication Media – aims to rectify the current situation, which, according to the Generalitat “does not guarantee the right of citizens to watch films in the two official languages”, with an overwhelming dominance of Castilian. According to figures, 89% of the 466 titles released in 2007 were available only in Castilian.

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Reactions were not long in coming. Besides the predictable clash between political representatives, Luis Hernández de Carlos , president of the Federation of Film Distributors (Fedicine), expressed his total opposition to the plan, which he described in a statement to the EFE agency as “unfeasible”.

Hernández de Carlos said that opening this floodgate in Catalonia would spark a chain reaction in other regions. He added that "translating films into three or four languages would make the business unmanageable and uneconomical".

This concern is shared by companies such as Alta Films (the local distributor of titles including Flame & Citron [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Gomorrah [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile
]
, A Christmas Tale [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Mid-August Lunch [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), whose president Enrique González Macho predicted in an interview with El País newspaper that the initiative would lead to “the end of distribution and exhibition in Catalonia, of independent films and those by majors".

(Translated from Spanish)

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