Few nations in the world have developed such a spread of film commissions as Spain, a country forged out of its regions, whose governments have energetically bought in to the benefits of foreign and local shoots.
As the country moves ever more onto the big-shoot locations industry radar, the Spain Film Commission is experiencing rapid growth of its nationwide network as well as helping to drive the ambitious Spain AVS Hub plan.
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Following the March 2021 announcement by the central government of the launch of the Spain AVS Hub plan — with a €1.6 billion ($1.6 billion) budget — a royal decree in October granted $5 million in direct support to the SFC for actions eligible for subsidies from 2022-24.
Created in 2001, SFC covers almost the entire country, and its members integrate a network with a uniform management model, respecting their partners’ independence and territorial scope.
“SFC has evolved from a wasted vector of the audiovisual economy to a competitive production driver, which generates industry employment and image,” says SFC president Carlos Rosado.
With the arrival of the AVS Hub Plan, “for the first time ever, the Spanish government identified the audiovisual industry as a strategic sector and gave it financial endowment,” Rosado says.
SFC’s key plans encompass five highly interrelated projects: The creation of a social network focused on Spanish talent; the strengthening of the SFC’s territorial network (known as Spain Film Friendly Land); the launch of a film transmedia platform; the promotion of the country as an international destination for filming (the Shooting in Spain initiative); and the creation of pilot schemes for 3D models of outstanding monuments, buildings and spaces (the Virtual Locations program).
“The five points are going to be decisive for the future of the [production] industry in Spain,” Rosado says.
One of the objectives of the Spain Film Talent Network is the search for a common point of reference with domestic stars inside and outside the country. For that, the Spanish film commissioner has called for a who’s who guide of the local industry.
In collaboration with strategy consultants Olsberg SPI, the SFC is preparing a conference at the San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival in order to discuss, with Mexico and Brazil, the need to establish a stable talent relationship corridor.
The push to strengthen SFC’s territorial network under the Spain Friendly Land program has had instant success. The SFC is already represented in all Spanish regions except Murcia. The autonomous city of Melilla may join in October.
SFC is setting up a technical analysis discussion forum to determine how to deal with virtual locations at Terrassa’s Parc Audiovisual de Catalunya.
It also participates as a partner in the Spain Audiovisual Bureau, a groundbreaking initiative launched in early May to promote Spain as an international destination for shoots and audiovisual investment, run by ICEX Spain Trade & Investment — the country’s export and inward investment board.
Another of the biggest recent moves by SFC has been a Fam Trip — organized in partnership with ICEX-Invest in Spain — in which some 50 representatives of member companies of the MPA and other high-profile American film-TV platforms and companies were invited in May to visit Spain. Now, SFC is hoping to also attract shoots from India and Australia.
Moreover, Rosado has designed a strategy to convert the SFC into a state entity, which requires some legal adjustments, in line with Film France, the British Film Commission and the California Film Commission. The plan is to transform the SFC into a hyper-specialized entity, working closely with regional and local administrations.
“SFC is a success story that is missing the last stretch: governmental institutional status,” Rosado says.
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