Co-prod mart bows at Spain’s Midia ’98

63 film, tv prod'n companies in Madrid from June 16-18

MADRID — Midia ’98’s first Co-Production Project Market hosts 63 film and TV production companies from 18 countries which will be present projects to potential co-financers.

A Spanish-language TV and film market that bowed in 1996, Midia takes place in Madrid June 16-18.

Producers who will attend the market, either to present or to screen projects, include many of the top banners from Spain — such as BRB Intl., Cartel, Coral Europa, Gestmusic Zepellin Intl., Lola Films, Mate Prods. and Tesauro, as well as Mexico’s Arturo Ripstein, Argentina’s Claudio Pustelnik and Alejandro Bellaba and Peru’s Francisco Lombardi.

“Our aim is to make Midia as important for Spanish-speaking countries as Mip TV or Mipcom for France or NATPE for the U.S.,” said producer Herve Hachuel, VP of Spanish film and TV producers’ body ANEPA, which is one of the backers of Midia ’98, along with Spanish film lobby FAPAE and the European Union’s Media II program.

Now firing on three cylinders — a straight sales market, the Co-Production Project Market and a cable and satellite mart, Digi-sat ’98 — Midia ’98 should count with around 3,000 participants.

Beyond business, the pre-Midia ’98 buzz is dominated by two attempts to reinforce a financial infrastructure for Spanish-speaking film and TV production.

Government film reps from Latin America and Spain will meet at Midia to fine-tune the Ibermedia production fund, which kicks off this year with a $4.6 million budget slated for 1998.

On June 16, FAPAE prexy Gerardo Herrero will give an inaugural speech reviewing the current state of film financing in Spain.

He will most likely touch on a large irony which overshadows Midia ’98. Although Midia itself appears to be consolidating, its host country Spain faces a gathering film production crisis sparked by a lack of TV finance for Spanish features, say local producers.

While Spain’s conservative government is backing a bill which would nearly double TV film funding for local pics up to as much as $100 million, the government-controlled pubcaster RTVE has yet to pre-buy one Spanish film this year, the government-hostile broadsheet El Pais claimed June 9.