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Spain: Europe’s audiovisual hub, from inside

Felisa García Grande, Executive Director of ICEX-Invest in Spain

 

2022 is a pivotal year for the Spanish audiovisual industry: in addition to the maturation achieved by the sector at a national and international levels, there is a reinforcement of local/regional incentives and the launch of the ‘Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe’ plan with more than € 1,600 million public investment until 2025. The objective is to increase audiovisual activity by 30%, and make the Iberian country the leader of the global sector in the digital age.

 

Prensario interviewed Felisa García Grande, executive director of ICEX-Invest in Spain, to better understand how these funds will be applied and how they will be executed in the coming years. ‘For the Spanish Government, the audiovisual sector has become a strategic sector due to its great potential and its ability to favor the economic and cultural development of our country,’ she began.

And she exemplified: ‘On the one hand, we are attending the main international trade events, among which is Conecta FICTION & ENTERTEINMENT this month, which brings together the main international television actors. There, we report on the competitive advantages of shooting in Spain. On the same dates, we participated in Cannes LIONS where we have organized a day to attract filming and services in Spain in collaboration with the Association of Advertising Producers of Spain (APCP) and the Audiovisual Industry Alliance (ALIA) in front of advertisers, agencies, production companies and service companies in the sector’.

To carry out the task of offering the most accurate information at a global level, ICEX has its network of economic and commercial offices of the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade that provide local support, organizing activities adapted to each market to take advantage of the opportunities of business that may arise.

García Grande continued: ‘We have approved a media plan to promote Spain as a filming destination and our new tool, “Spain Audiovisual Bureau”: it is a centralized point of support and advice with information related to the internationalization of the audiovisual industry, both for the attraction of investments and filming to Spain, as well as to help Spanish companies and productions to develop their projects abroad. We collaborate with entities such as the Secretaries of State for Telecommunications, Migration, ICAA or the Spain Film Commission, among others.

Spain has a wide and rich cultural, historical and artistic heritage and a very favorable geographical and climatic situation with 10 types of climates, which have made it the scene of foreign blockbusters over the years. In addition, it is among the first European positions in terms of deployment of broadband and 5G networks, with a great preparation of Spanish audiovisual companies to incorporate digital technological improvements to production, production and post-production.

“Numerous series, video games and other productions chose this destination due to the ecosystem of talents, professionals and companies of different sizes of great quality and competitiveness. On the other hand, the Spanish language is a great asset to lead in one of the most important and growing markets worldwide. Spanish-language content has the potential to access the Latin American continent, a market with more than 400 million inhabitants’, García Grande summarized.

The cost of production is another key element, since it is lower compared to other countries, which makes it a reference country for international agents. ‘One of the greatest advances is the simplification of visa procedures for foreign workers (cast, crew, family members) from the audiovisual industry who come to Spain. Thus, artists and professionals are enabled to stay with their direct relatives, and minors are allowed to carry out their activity accompanied by their parents. These fewer administrative difficulties promote the sector as a whole,’ he added.

Lastly, the deployment of a “favorable” fiscal framework that generates employment with high added value for the country. ‘We offer tax incentives for international movies and TV series of 30% at the national level and more advantageous in other regions of the country, such as Navarra (35%) or the Canary Islands (50%)’, added García Grande.

Among the latest global productions developed are DC/Warner Bros. Discovery‘s Wonder Woman 1984 in Almería, Fuerteventura and Tenerife (Isla Baja, Anaga); The Crown S3-S5 from Left Bank Pictures, Sony and Netflix in Sevilla, Almería, Málaga, Cádiz and Mallorca; The Eternals from Marvel Studios in Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, La Coruña; Killing Eve S3-S4 from Endeavor and BBC America in Barcelona, ​​Cádiz, Granada. And others like Westworld S3, The Witcher S1-S2, The Midnight Sky, Uncharted, Hustle and House Of The Dragon S1, among many others.

Among the top priority markets of Invest in Spain are clearly Latin America ‘due to the asset that the common language represents’, but also South Korea, India, and Turkey, in addition to the UK and the USA due to the volume and quality of their industry: ‘The first training mission for foreign producers in Spain that we have organized was with executives from key US companies, in coordination with the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures and the Spain Film Commission, thanks to which we showed the strengths of the Spanish audiovisual sector to close to forty professionals belonging to member companies of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and other platforms and top-level American audiovisual companies’.

The program combined technical sessions, institutional meetings, visits to locations and meetings with the Spanish sector, as well as visits to locations in Seville and Gran Canaria and Tenerife. And it had key presences such as the First Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and the Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta. And, also, her Majesty Letizia her queen wanted to accompany them and know their interests.

The Spain AVS Hub plan is the main focus for the coming years. ‘The objective is to increase the audiovisual production carried out in Spain by 30% at the end of the period. To this end, the Spanish Administration is already collaborating actively with the private sector through associations such as the Association of Spanish International Audiovisual Producers (PROFILM), the Audiovisual Industrial Alliance (ALIA), the Association of Advertising Producers of Spain (APCP), the Spanish Federation of Associations of Animation Producers (DIBOOS) and the Association of Post-Production Companies (AEPP)’, concluded García Grande.

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