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Spain pic funder taps topper

Perez Estremera given mandate for subsidy reform

MADRID — Manuel Perez Estremera, one of Spain’s most experienced film executives, has been tapped director general of Spain’s Instituto de las Ciencas y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA), the main state film subsidy body.

His appointment, which will be confirmed Friday, is a further indication of a major overhaul and increase in film financing.

It comes a day after Culture Minister Carmen Calvo, addressing the lower house, promised that the central subsidy fund will be “significantly increased” and expanded to finance TV movies and that more state coin will be plowed into funding films at script stage rather than just by virtue of their box office performance.

B.O.-tabbed subsidies account for the lion’s share of the annual E33.6 million ($40.2 million) subsidy fund. Producers lobby Fapae is tubthumping for that to be doubled.

Perez Estremera is the first director general since Pilar Miro in 1983 to receive a government mandate to shake up state subsidy systems.

He will bring a calm moderation to such reform. A former film critic, Perez Estrema worked closely with Miro at pubcaster RTVE in the late 1980s, pioneering Spanish co-financing of Latin American films.

He relaunched the San Sebastian Film Festival as its director in 1993 and 1994. Since 1995 he has been responsible for local film acquisitions at Canal Plus Espana, which has grown into paybox giant Sogecable.

Producers praised Perez Estremera’s long and varied experience. “If it’s confirmed, it’s good news for the industry,” said producer Angel Amigo. “He knows the Spanish film industry inside-out.”

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