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Andalusia shoots double in two years

Spanish region looks to play on synergies with tourism

BARCELONA — The number of shoots hosted by Spain’s southern region of Andalusia doubled in the past two years, rising from 415 in 2004 to 863, according to figures released by the Andalusia Film Commission.

Deregulation is driving the boom: two new analog TV channels and the explosion of cable, regional and local TV networks in Spain.

More volatile on a year-to-year basis, feature film shoots fell in 2006 — from 46 to 19, but last year featured higher-budget pics such as Antonio Banderas’ “Summer Rain,” Antonio Cuadri’s “The Heart of the Earth,” and Agustin Diaz Yanes’ “Alatriste.”

The coastal city of Malaga saw a 32% rise in shoots last year, generating Euros 2.5 million ($3.2 million) direct investment.

In a move that reflects similar initiatives around the world, the film commission is attempting to roll off Spain’s tourist industry, as well as give it a useful leg-up, by publishing movie maps, guides orienting the tourist about specific film locations.

To date, AFC has launched booklets on some standout recent shoots, including those for “Rain,” “Heart” and “Alatriste.”

Last week, the Andalusia Film Commission took exhibition space at Spain’s biggest tourism trade event, the Spanish Tourism Fair.

There are large movie-tourism synergies, the AFC maintains.

“By investing in cinema we’re investing in tourism. It could be a strategic alliance,” AFC director Carlos Rosado told Daily Variety.

Spain is the world’s second most-popular tourist destination, receiving 58.5 million tourist visits in 2006. Andalusia is Spain’s fourth most visited region with 8.5 million visits yearly.

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