Galicia launches P&A fund

Program kicks off with $900,000

LA CORUNA, Spain — The Galician Audiovisual Consortium, one of Spain’s most energetic regional film boards, has unveiled a pioneering P&A support program.

Fund kicks off with Euros 600,000 ($900,000) in the bank. It will part-finance P&A on the 12 to 15 Galician films and co-productions made annually.

Awards will vary according to the overall P&A commitment demonstrated by a film’s distributor and producer, Consortium manager Ignacio Varela announced at the second edition of Galicia-Terra de Cine, a three-day showcase that took place Nov. 15-17 in La Coruna.

The fund takes one of the Spanish film industry’s biggest problems by the horns. With theatrical B.O. sagging for all but a clutch of releases, distributors are reluctant to put up P&A, leaving producers to shoulder costs.

In Spain’s highly competitive exhibition market, many smaller little-publicized films are simply lost in the mix.

“Galicia is not just a country. It’s a state of mind,” Galician helmer Angel de la Cruz declared at this year’s meet, covering 67 projects from 25 Galician producers, up from 40 projects from 14 companies last year.

Yet, despite being a modest region, with only 6.5% of Spain’s total population, Galicia has forged a blossoming film industry in the wake of its pioneering 1999 Film Act and creation of the state-run Galician Audiovisual Consortium in 2002 with an annual budget of $2.2 million.

In 2006, while Spanish cinema garnered 15% of the local box office, Galician films contributed over one fifth of this amount. Hit films such as Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Sea Inside” (2004) and Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” (2004) have also glorified Galicia’s misty forest landscapes, lush green fields and rugged coastline.

The Galician region government, in partnership with regional savings bank, Caixa Galicia, outlined details of a new $4.4 million risk capital film fund at the event. Managed by the Galician Audiovisual Consortium, it will provide completion investment up to $880,000 per film, for local Spanish and international co-productions.

“We want to support films with strong market potential,” Varela said. “That way, we’ll strengthen Galicia’s position within Spain’s ‘magic triangle’ of film production — Galicia, Catalonia and Madrid,” he added.

Varela said that the new fund will attract more projects of the caliber of “The Sea Inside,” which didn’t benefit from any local state funding.

The impressive range of projects on display varied from micro-budget pictures, such as Perro Verde’s $8,800 animation pic “Going Nuts,” which used innovative Internet marketing to build a cult following, to glossy live action pics such as Vicente Aranda’s $6.3 million erotic thriller “Lolita’s Club,” co-produced by CTV, and the $5.1 million English-language “The Rain Merchant” from Formato.

Galicia has become a stronghold of animation production. Filmax Animation showcased its upcoming releases, “Nocturna” and “Donkey Xote,” and managing director Xose Manuel Barreira Diaz disclosed to Variety plans for a new film about a kid who dreams of becoming a soccer star, in addition to a $4.4 million sequel to the 2006 hit “The Hairy Tooth Fairy.”

Perro Verde profiled its $4.4 million comic gore claymation pic, “Zombie Western.” Pic comes out under a new umbrella label, Cinematografo. This also covers the output of Resonancia Post-production and Artematica, which is pre-producing the $3.5 million black comedy “The Dead Go Quickly.”

Emma Lustres of Vaca Films showcased three projects, including the $4.4 million prison thriller “Cell 211,” directed by Daniel Monzon, and co-produced by Telecinco Cinema.

Continental unveiled five projects, including the $4 million drug addiction tale “Agallas” and a slick TV movie, “The Mirror.”

Local powerhouse Voz Audiovisual highlighted innovative TV formats and Mario Iglesias’ “Catalina,” about a young woman painter, co-produced with up-and-coming shingle Matriuska — exactly the kind of film that needs P&A support.

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