Deep Cuts Made to Spain's Film Subsidy Fund

Government cuts fund by 36% in the 2012 budget, stoking fear in the sector.

MADRID - Days after a general strike and in the midst of deep austerity measures to attack the fiscal deficit, the Spanish government announced Tuesday the Central Film Protection Fund will plummet by 36%, cutting $63.7 million from the 2012 budget.

While the cuts to the Culture Ministry's budget affect everything from museums to theaters and libraries, the National Film Institute ICAA saw its budget slashed 37%.

Between $46 million and $52 million of the budget will go towards subsidies for movies from the second half of 2011, with the remainder for 2012 activity, according to the Spanish  

To date in 2012, only 25 films have shot, compared to 74 in the same time period in 2011 -- with the majority being shorts and documentaries this year, rather than feature films.

The trickle of production reflects a broken financing model that now: links subsidies to box office performance, requires broadcasters to invest 3% of their revenues in  production as pre-buys and can't rely on admissions that have dropped thanks to virulent piracy.

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