Economist heads film subsidy board

Llado named director of Catalan Institute

MADRID — Economist and academic Antoni Llado has been named director of the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries, one of the most powerful state posts in Spain’s film industry. Org is the country’s second largest film subsidy board.

Llado’s appointment follows Catalan elections on Nov. 1 that renewed a three-way governing coalition led by the Catalan Socialist Party.

Llado has been appointed by a coalition partner, the nationalist Catalan Republican Left.

Under Llado’s predecessor, socialist Xavier Merce, appointed in 2004, the government energetically laid the keystones of a state policy that attempted to play to the Catalan film industry’s strengths, creating targeted subsidy funds for edgier auteur filmmaking and higher-end, internationally skewed production.

The institute also fortified promotion board Catalan Films & TV, morphing it into a consortium, and tackled the key weakness of the Catalan industry, development, by launching the Audiovisual Development Center in 2005.

With some exceptions, producers have largely applauded the government’s achievements.

Feature film production rose to 42 films in 2005.

None of this sophisticated state support, which has created a healthily broad-based industry in Barcelona, is likely to disappear.

The question, rather, is to what extent the Catalan Republican Left will play to its nationalist leanings in, say, more state coin for young Catalan directors and for Catalan-language filmmaking.

“We have a solid industry base. But we still need to address issues such as distribution and exhibition,” said producer Lluis Minarro at Eddie Saeta.

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