As the impact of big international shoots grows in Spain, local authorities are realizing the value of boosting film commission activities in their territories.
Madrid’s regional government launched Film Madrid in early 2016 to promote and advise film and TV shootings, taking over the role the Madrid Film Commission played from 2004-14.
The new office aims to play an active role in a region that hosts more than 1,500 film and TV companies, a centerpiece of Spain’s film-TV industry.
Initial Film Madrid efforts were twofold: Alerting the Madrid-based film and TV sector of its launch and raising awareness among political authorities of the socio-economic potential of the film industry.
One key measure, framed in a 2014 law, allows film and TV producers the free use of spaces the regional government owns or controls.
Another priority is internationalization. “We aim to be, from a public perspective, the catalyst for international film and TV production demands in the region,” says Samuel Castro, Film Madrid coordinator.
The agency debuted abroad promoting Madrid locations at last February’s Berlinale European Film Market; it has applied to join AFCI and EUFCN orgs.
Film Madrid, a 100% publicly financed initiative, depends on Madrid’s General Direction of Cultural Promotion. “Our institutional support represents an added guarantee for international productions coming here,” Castro says.
It is also tasked with discovering new locations in a relatively small region with a large wealth of potential natural and heritage site settings.
The film commission co-operates with 179 municipalities, including Madrid, Spain’s capital city, plus World Heritage Sites Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez and San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
Among new locations are facilities offered by Canal de Isabel II, a public waterworks that became a nuclear power plant for Beta Film-sold TV series “La Zona,” created by brothers Alberto and Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo for Telefonica’s paybox Movistar Plus.
In its first year, the agency advised on 38 productions, including 12 features, three TV series and two international TV documentaries. Among the features: Penélope Cruz comedy “The Queen of Spain,” European co-production “Tom of Finland,” Pablo Berger’s “Abracadabra” from Arcadia Motion Pictures, and El Viaje Films’ doc “La ciudad oculta.”