De la Iglesia named Spanish Academy prez

Ignasi Guardans new head of Spain's film and TV body

MADRID -- Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia will become president of the Spanish Film Academy on June 21 after the deadline to contest his appointment came and went Thursday.

De la Iglesia takes over from producer Eduardo Campoy, who briefly filled the vacancy left when Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde left her post to take over as Spain's culture minister in mid-April.

"I have seen that the vision outside of Spain of Spanish cinema is infinitely more positive than the one Spaniards have inside Spain," De la Iglesia said, pledging to work to bolster Spanish cinema's profile internationally and locally.

De la Iglesia's election marks the beginning of a new era in the Spanish industry, coming on the heels of Ignasi Guardans' appointment as head of Spain's Cinema and Audiovisual Arts Institute, the Culture Ministry's film and TV body.

The politically independent Guardans served as a member of the European Parliament committee on education and culture, where he was a strong proponent of the protection of intellectual property and content on the Internet.

"He is truly a knowledgeable insider of the film sector," Pedro Perez, president of the producers federation FAPAE, said of Guardans. "We're entering in a very complex moment and we are expecting a lot from him."

Both posts are expected to have a Europe-wide effect as Spain gets set to implement the wide-ranging 2007 film law and takes over the European presidency in 2010.

De la Iglesia and Guardans made their first public appearances following the announcements Thursday at the presentation of the Madrid de Cine Film Screenings in June.