Spain addresses film law uproar

Vice president sets industry meeting

MADRID -- Spain's proposed new film law, a pet project of the government, has stirred such ire in the industry that the Spanish vice president has decided to personally meet with the various sectors of the film industry to ease tensions.

Vice President Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega will meet next week with the involved parties seeking "the maximum consensus with respect to the law," her office said Wednesday.

The legislation, sponsored by Culture Minister Carmen Calvo, has ruffled feathers, with broadcasters rejecting the increase in their required investment in domestic film production from 5% of revenues to 6%.

Exhibitors, meanwhile, are bucking the draft's continued support of a screen quota that calls for theaters to screen Spanish films as 25% of their product.

Distributors said the bill interferes with free competition and called on the ministry to rewrite the legislation so as to not disrupt the "delicate balance between sectors."

Spain's producers have largely stayed out of the debate, though many have voiced their disappointment that more clear tax incentives were not established to attract private investment.

In late February, Spain's main opposition party called on the government to halt the bill's process due to what it called the culture minister's "clear bias" in favor of the production sector and asked the popular vice president to negotiate with the involved parties.