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Varela tapped as EAVF prexy

Exec to head up Valencia producers' association

MADRID — One of Spain’s best known regional film execs, Ignacio Varela, has been tapped as the president of EAVF, the Valencia Film and TV Assns. Federation, the producers org. in Spain’s Valencia region.

He replaces Pepon Sigler. Varela moves to Valencia from Galicia in Spain’s North-West where, as director of the Galician Audiovisual Consortium from 2003 to 2009, Varela helped build one of Spain’s most vibrant regional film industries.

In film terms, the rise of the regions has transformed the Spanish film industry, added vital new financing sources and creative energies.

Galicia’s film boom played off producers leveraging regional subsidies and TV coin to take equity in high-profile productions — Javier Bardem starrer “Mondays in the Sun,” Emilio Estevez’s “The Way” — or lead produce films of their own: “The Living Forest,” “The Hairy Tooth Fairy” and “Crossing Borders.”

Valencia, in contrast, poses a paradox.

Ranging along the Mediterranean from Alicante in the South to Castellon in the North, the Valencia city boasts Spain’s third biggest city — the capital of Valencia itself — a long filmmaking tradition, an active Cinematheque, two film festivals — Cinema Jove and the Valencia Mostra — and one of Europe’s biggest and most modern film studios, the Ciudad de la Luz.

While boasting large potential, however, Valencia’s debt-crunched regional pubcaster invested relatively little in Valencian production. And direct subsidies remain modest: around Euros3 million ($3.7 million) in 2009. Production in Valencia has never quite taken off.

Varela’s short-term priorities, he told Daily Variety, are to resolve the relationship between the indie production sector and regional pubcaster Television Valenciana (TVV), help forge a new regional public incentive system for the production sector, and to strike synergies between the local industry and Ciudad de la Luz.

Varela added: “In the medium term, hand in hand with TVV and public institutions, we have to develop a new dimension and structures for Valencia’s industry, which is a challenge for any industry given the times.”

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