Spanish films get boost

ICO to provide 3-year loans covering half of producer's investment

MADRID — Spain’s Official Credit Institute (ICO) has committed 39 million euros ($34 million) in low-interest credit for feature film production in 2002, but it won’t solve a sudden crisis in local production.

Under the deal struck with Spain’s ICAA film institute, ICO will provide three-year soft loans covering up to half a producer’s investment in a feature.

The agreement provides little comfort to Spanish producers, who are facing a severe financing crisis, the first since the early ’90s.

Pay service Canal Plus Espana and satcaster Via Digital have reduced acquisitions of Spanish films as they attempt to contain costs.

With pay TV finance essential for funding, new pic production has slowed to a near halt in Spain.

In practice, ICO loans cover around a third of a pic’s budget — insufficient to kickstart production.

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