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Spanish subsidy chief signs up at pubcaster

Estremera replacing Menor

MADRID — The topper of Spain’s biggest subsidy fund, ICAA, has been tapped director of TVE, the television division of pubcaster RTVE.

Announcement surprised the Spanish film and TV industries as Manuel Perez Estremera has been in his current role for just seven months. A political appointment, Perez Estremera replaces Juan Menor.

The news may be bad for the U.S. majors. As TVE’s No. 2, Perez Estremera is likely to hurry the pubcaster along the public-service programming path it is already taking and is unlikely to rush into heavy-duty deals with Hollywood.

That may spell some relief for Spain’s artpic distribs, which sold only a sprinkling of films to RTVE during the Popular Party’s two-term rule from 1996 to 2004. The party lost the March elections to the Socialist Workers Party.

RTVE runs two channels, commercial feed TVE-1 and upscale service La 2. A former film critic and film buff, Perez Estremera made his name in the 1980s as the director of cult movie magazine Fila 7. He became a key exec at TVE under director general Pilar Miro in the late ’80s, the last time RTVE made a push toward more public-service broadcasting.

Having pioneered co-productions with Latin America as TVE’s deputy director of out-of-house production between 1987-92, Perez Estremera became director of the San Sebastian Film Festival, where he re-established the event as the leading bastion of Spanish-lingo artpics and new talent in the Spanish-speaking world.

At the ICAA, he helped satisfy the most urgent demand of the Spanish film industry by doubling the subsidy fund to E64 million ($85.8 million) for 2005.

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