Spain Cuts Number of Films Subsidized in 2016

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Helmer Juan Antonio Bayona

The country says 20 features will receive financing, including Juan Antonio Bayona's upcoming 'Marrowbone.'

Spain cut in half the number of feature films awarded subsidies this year in the first application round under a newly instated formula for awarding subsidies to the film industry. The country on Monday listed only 20 films that will receive €20 million ($22 million).

The Film Protection Fund now hands out the money before productions start based on “objective” criteria in the project stage as opposed to the previous method of awards after theatrical releases with a two-year lag in the disbursement of funds. There will be a second installment for 2016 at the end of the year, which will add another $11 million, probably for about 10 more films. That figure will still fall way below previous years where the amounts weighed in at $51 million in 2012 and $41 million in 2013.

One of the main ideas behind the new formula is to allow producers to access the funds before production, creating fewer but stronger state-funded films. Less than half of the 43 films that applied for aid received it in this first-time use of the new method.

The two systems will overlap for two years as the government pays off the remaining subsidies from 2014 and 2015.

Last year, the government decided that 47 films from 2013 would receive funding. In 2011, a total of 73 films were subsidized. 

Juan Antonio Bayona’s upcoming Marrowbone, Loreak directors Jon Garano and Aitor Arregi’s Aundiya and Paco Plaza’s El Expediente topped the list of films that made this year’s cut and are the only three to take slices of just over $1.1 million.

Of the 20 films named, seven hail from TV network groups Telecinco and Antena 3, which have become the motor behind Spain's film production pipeline. 

Spain has long had one of the smallest subsidy funds in Europe, a fraction of that of Italy, France and Germany. 

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