MADRID — Ignasi Guardans has been sacked as director general of Spain’s Instituto de la Cinematografia y de las Artes Audiovisuales.
Guardans will be replaced by Carlos Cuadros, director of Spain’s AMPAS.
From April 2009, Guardans served as numero uno at the ICAA, the country’s main film and subsidy board, handling a budget of Euros106.5 million ($159 million) for 2010.
A former European Parliament spokesperson on film policy, repping Catalonia’s centrist CiU party, Guardans was brought in by Spain’s culture minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde to fast-track the Spanish Film Law, overhauling subsidy regs, playing off his knowledge of both European film regulations and new technologies.
Guardans’ resultant Ministerial Order, in force from this year, hiked subsidy coin per pic 50% to $2.1 million.
But, in an industry that turns out a large number of small films, backed by subsidy, TV and regional monies — total production levels stood at 186 features produced in 2009 — the order alienated much of the Spanish film industry by reserving many types of incentives to films budgeted at $2.8 million or above.
A Spanish film industry outsider, and never afraid to speak his mind in public, Guardans clashed with important parts of the film establishment, such as the San Sebastian festival, the Ibermedia Latin America co-production fund and Filmoteca head Jose Maria Prado.
As a longtime screenwriter, Gonzalez-Sinde forms part of that establishment.
Less high-profile, Cuadros is a former close associate of Gonzalez-Sinde’s, having served as director general of Spain’s AMPAS, which Gonzalez-Sinde presided before being named minister of culture.
Cuadros faces stiff challenges: One is to grow new sources of private-sector financing for Spanish films, another to thrash out a public incentive program for the digital conversion of smaller cinema theaters in Spain.
Appropriately for a new-tech fanboy, Guardans took leave Thursday night via Twitter: “Today, as they say in the movies, anything I say could be used against me.”