Spain’s producers group into action

Fundacion Procine, the recently formed lobby group composed of Spain’s top 19 producers, announced that its first concrete action will be to demand that a much-needed centralized computer box office system for the 500 biggest theaters in Spain be installed within three months.

Another major move that shows Procine means business is the announcement that the former minister of defense and industry, attorney Alberto Oliart, will be taking over as president of the group as of Dec. 1. Alfredo Matas (Impala Prods. and Cinesa exhibition circuit) has been interim president.

The surprise addition of Oliart to the group is a real coup, and gives it tremendous clout in lobbying with the finance and industry ministries, apart from the clout already carried in the culture ministry by high-powered producers such as Andres Vicente Gomez, Elias Querejeta, Matas, Agustin Almodovar, and the Cartel and Sogetel groups.

The first law concerning box office control was passed in 1964, and has been amplified over the years, but it has never been adhered to by theaters. Without a national computer system for all theaters, linked to a terminal at the Film Institute (ICAA), there is no accurate information on film grosses.

The ICAA has already agreed to finance the installment of computer systems in 100 theaters, and Procine says it plans to work closely with exhibitors and the government to see that the other 400 are installed.

Nonetheless, just a few weeks after the formation of Procine, its strategy is emerging, and that strategy, according to Andres Vicente Gomez, is “action, not talk, based on cooperation and collaboration with all sectors of the industry.”

Tired of waiting for the government to act on film industry demands, Procine has established its own lobbying committees, and has held meetings with the finance ministry to discuss tax problems and incentives for private investment.

Gomez said, “The government has stated many of our same objectives, but they have not acted on them, for whatever reason. Our goal is to help them act.”

Procine’s next move is a meeting this week with the Motion Picture Export Assn. of America. One of the major concerns of the Spanish industry is the fact that domestic films account for only 10% of all films exhibited in Spain now, vs. 73% exhibited by the majors. This is a huge drop from 1980, when Spanish pix held 20.18% of the market.

Although many associations have been formed in the past to fight for improvements in the film industry, none has ever grouped together the industry’s biggest names, as Procine has. Nor have any group’s members moved so swiftly to take action, or invested their own money ($ 50,000 each) to work for their goals.

Procine’s immediate plans include finding ways to improve the advance subsidy policy of the culture ministry and making deals with public and commercial TV networks for co-production support.

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