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Spanish producers upset with exhibs, government

The long-silent 18-month-old Spanish Federation of Producers’ Assns. (FAPAE) lashed out this week at Spanish exhibitors and the state-run quincentennial org.

In a just-released annual report, FAPAE attacked exhibs for not complying with screen quota laws, and the state-run Quinto Centenario organization for not making good on the amount of investment it pledged to the film industry.

FAPAE announced that it would begin legal action this month against any exhibitors not honoring the screen quota legislation, which says that one Spanish or EC film must be screened for every two films from outside the European Community.

Leading producer Gerardo Herrero and spokesman for the 200 FAPAE members said , “We’re still willing to negotiate with anyone, but if negotiation doesn’t work then we will take the issue to court as a clear failure to comply with the law.”

FAPAE’s bone of contention with the Quinto Centenario is a claim that the org failed to fork over all of its approximately $ 5 million pledge to buy and handle offshore TV rights (basically in Latin America) to Spanish films.

This commitment was part of a 50-50 joint venture between the Spanish Culture Ministry and the Quinto Centenario, designed as an emergency patch for the gaping hole left by pubcaster RTVE when, due to the network’s own cash crisis, it had to abruptly pull out of all acquisition commitments.

Producers welcomed the $ 10 million cushion at the time. But almost a year and a half after the commitment was made in September 1991, some producers from the 28 films on which acquisition promises were made claim that although the Culture Ministry delivered $ 5 million, they still have not received all the money from the QC.

Jose Diaz de Espada, director of the Quinto Centenario’s TV and film department denied the federation’s accusations that the organization has failed to deliver.

Espada was quoted as saying, “The Quinto Centenario has bought rights to 22 films and is negotiating for several more. We have already acquired rights to almost all of the Spanish films made in 1991.”

Last October, when producers first began airing complaints that they still had not received the QC coin, Espada told Daily Variety that “We have made good on all agreements.”

The producers involved, however, did not agree with him then and they still don’t.

The problem is that the Quinto Centenario, a state-funded organization conceived to promote Spanish culture in the 1992 quincentennial activities, has reportedly exhausted its allotted budget. And if the well has run dry on government funding sources, it is unclear where uncollected promises might stand regarding an organization that is closing out its books.

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