Spanish Pubcaster to Invest $55 Million in Production in 2011

New projects from Daniel Monzon, Claudia Llosa and Bigas Luna on the slate.

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- The director of Spanish pubcaster Television Espanola Santiago Gonzalez announced the broadcaster will invest 41 million euros ($55 million) in 90 projects in 2011.

“Television Espanola is committed to financing on 90 projects, including features, documentaries and TV movies,” Gonzalez said. “And 91 percent of all Spanish films aired on TV is on our channels. Our commitment to the industry is strong.”

TVE’s Head of Film Eva Cebrian said the pubcaster’s investment in Spanish productions had dropped from 45 million euros in 2010 as Gonzalez highlighted the broadcasters adjustment to hard times and a two-year old business model that excludes advertising.

“We’re aware of the situation in the industry, but our resources are what they are,” Cebrian said.

This year’s TVE slate includes top-tier features like Daniel Monzon’s much-anticipated follow-up to prison drama Cell 211, called Murder Weekend, Daniel Calparsoro’s Invasor (Invador), Jaime Rosales’ Sueno y Silencio (Sleep and Silence) and Oskar Santos’ iconic comic book character based Zipi and Zape and the Marble Club.

One of the biggest titles is undoubtedly Kanzaman's 21 million euro ($28 million) Cold Skin, to be directed by Hitman director Xavier Gens. Jesus Olmo is writing the screenplay as an adaptation of Albert Sanchez Pinol's novel about a weather official living on a remote, arctic island surrounded by strange eel-like creatures.

Other stand out features on TVE’s list: Paco Plaza’s prequel to the ever-popular [Rec]  franchise, [Rec] Genesis, Bigas Luna’s 6 million euro ($8 million) sci-fi, post-apocalyptic adventure Segundo Origen and Oscar-nominated director Claudia Llosa’s upcoming Don’t Cry, Fly.

In addition to 38 documentaries, TVE will back eight made-for-television products like veteran producer Agusti Villaronga’s tv-movie Una Carta para Evita, set to start shooting in November with Carmen Maura and Nora Navas.

Speaking for the film producers association AEC, Gonzalo Salazar-Simpson emphasized that in a sector that is suffering a complex shift in consumption habits, TVE’s commitment is often sufficient to green light a project.

“All the windows are shrinking,” Salazar-Simpson said. “TVE’s support is the most important anchor for many projects, not just because they strengthen the project, but because they support films that would not be able to exist otherwise.”

TVE’s announcement — made within the framework of the San Sebastian International Film Festival — came in a joint press conference with the Spanish producers’ federation FAPAE.

FAPAE president Pedro Perez announced a restructuring of Spain’s main film industry lobby into a confederation to allow it the flexibility to include other federations in a clear bid for strength in numbers during hard times.

The restructuring reflects the desire to include the PROA, the producer federation centered in Catalonia, which groups many of Spain’s most prolific and international production houses. Some 16% of Spanish productions last year came from Catalonia.

“The incorporation of PROA comes at a very opportune time. The Catalan results are very clear.  And after long talks, FAPAE will incorporate not only all local and national associations of the sector, but other federations as well. It’s good news and shows that we speak with one voice despite our plurality.”

Perez presented up-to-the-minute industry figures — including a 14 percent market share for domestic films on box office sales, twice last year’s homegrown quota for the same period. Production has dropped some 13 percent, with 101 films shot this year compared with 116 from 2010.

“There are starting to be fewer films due to the economic circumstances,” Perez said.

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