Spanish producers fight telcos

Local business unite against piracy

MADRID — A broad front of Spanish film producers, distributors and musicians declared an anti-piracy war Monday on Spain’s telcos, targeting especially giant Telefonica.

Speaking on a panel at the Madrid de Cine Spanish Film Screenings Monday, Alta Films’ producer-distributor Enrique Gonzalez Macho opened hostilities, declaring, “Spain’s big telcos encourage illicit downloading, even publicizing offers. The Spanish state is responsible for this lack of control.”

Gonzalez Macho estimated that, in its first week after theatrical release, more people saw “The Education of Fairies” in Spain by illegal download — 340,000 — than at theaters during the whole of its run.

Julio Fernandez, CEO of Filmax Ent., added he’d had to lay off more than 100 of Filmax’s 418 staff, precisely because of piracy.

Shocking the audience, Halli Kristinsson, the Brussels-based MPA VP and regional director of anti-piracy ops, said that over 20% of illegal downloading worldwide on “Meet the Robinsons” had been practiced in Spain.

Provisional date from Gfk, a Euro research company, guestimated online movie downloads in Spain last year at 240 million. Street sales of bootlegged DVDs ran at 25 million-35 million.

A broad-based anti-piracy coalition will officially launch June 17, grouping most Spanish film and TV trade bodies: rights collection entities Sgae, Egeda and Promusicae, distributor associations Adican and Adircae, and Spain’s FAP Anti-Piracy Federation.

Its main thrust will likely be to call on the Spanish government to adopt France’s anti-piracy policy, requiring telcos to actively pursue piracy.

Macho and Fernandez’s outburst proved an early highlight at the 3rd three-day Madrid de Cine Spanish Film Screenings, taking place from Sunday as a sudden cold snap assails Madrid.

Of new or newish films, there was good word-of-mouth on Murilo Pasta’s Imagina-sold “Carmo,” a vibrant Brazilian badlands road movie, with standout perfs.

Intense painter-bio “El Greco,” from Notro Intl., drew some good reactions.

Among journos, early running favorites, some well into their sales cycles, included social-issue moorland manhunt thriller “King of the Hill” from Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, chef contest docu “The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab,” a gastronomic thriller from one of Spain’s premier docupic directors, Jose Luis Lopez Linares, and Nacho Vigalondo’s unusual rural timetravel brainteaser, “Timecrimes,” now set up for an English-language remake at United Artists.

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