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Spanish TV tunes to film

B'casting honchos show support at producer event

MADRID — The Spanish film industry crossed into a new era Wednesday at Madrid’s august Old Casino.

At the “ungodly” hour of 11:30 a.m., as its prexy Pedro Perez put it, powerful producer trade body Fapae unveiled three TV commercials designed to push Spaniards into seeing more Spanish cinema. But it was not what was said, but who turned up to listen that was important.

Attendees included the four grandees of Spanish broadcasting: Sogecable CEO Javier Diez de Polanco; TVE director Juan Menor; Antena 3 CEO Maurizio Carlotti; and Telecinco CEO Paolo Vasile. Industry pundits positively purred at the unprecedented sight of Perez and Vasile gladhanding.

The backstory involves broadcaster coin, which is the most important source of funding for Spanish filmmaking. In the past, it hasn’t been clear if commercial webs Antena 3 and Telecinco have consistently complied with government quotas obliging them to invest 5% of their annual revenues in Spanish or European films.

The event publicly confirms a detente between the private TV operators and Fapae, which should mean more coin channeled to cash-strapped local filmmakers.

That’s good news for producers outside Spain as well: Starved of tax breaks, Spanish pic producers have not been able to provide much equity for international co-productions over the past few years. Now their purses should be slightly fuller.

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