Spain's Culture Minister Will Leave Politics

Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde also defended the Spanish film industry's vibrance.

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – Spain’s Culture Minister announced she will leave politics at the end of her term and offered a heated defense of the Spanish film industry at the 59th San Sebastian International Film Festival on Saturday.

The minister, a respected screenplay writer, will not be able to work in the film industry for two years after leaving office. Spain will hold elections Nov. 20.

“I’d like to refute the claim that there’s no industry here,” Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde said, responding directly to voices from last night’s opening gala that questioned the future of the film industry and the existence of a Spanish industry specifically.

Armed with a list of figures to back up her counter attack, the minister highlighted annual box office sales that never dip below 600 million euros, some 30,000 jobs, 186 domestic films shot in 2010, an investment of 700 million euros by the Culture Ministry in the past seven years in the industry and an “excellent” 18 percent of the boxoffice share for the first half of 2011.

The words came at the ceremony awarding Agusti Villaronga the National Cinematographic Award for his Spanish Civil War drama Black Bread in the majestic and newly inaugurated San Telmo Museum.