Right-wing protest sparks manifesto

BERLIN — Five of Spain’s most powerful producers have published a joint manifesto slamming the politicization of the Spanish Academy Awards, following the protests against a documentary at the recent event.

“Organized lobbies are asserting an ideological control over the awards, which is undesirable,” proclaim producers Andres Vicente Gomez, Francisco Ramos, Eduardo Campoy, Enrique Cerezo and Cesar Benitez.

“The prestige of our cinema, which has been gained through so much hard work, can’t collapse because of a crass manipulation of public opinion,” the manifesto declares.

The 18th Spanish Academy Awards, held Jan. 29, saw a pre-gala demonstration by the right-wing Assn. of Victims of Terrorism that protested the Academy’s nomination of Julio Medem’s “The Basque Ball” in the docu category.

The protest sparked a counter-demonstration, allegedly co-organized by the No to War Platform, in support of Medem and freedom of expression in general.

The previous year’s ceremony was used by stars to protest Spain’s involvement in the war with Iraq.

The producers’ joint letter is an attempt to distance part of the production sector from the increasing radicalization of the industry in the runup to March 14 general elections.

Producers’ lobby Fapae is negotiating a hike in tax breaks for film and TV production with Jose Maria Aznar’s conservative government.

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