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Madrid bows film commission

Big expectations ride on new org

MADRID — Madrid, one of Europe’s most prolific local pic production centers, finally has a film commission.

Carrying big expectations, it officially launched Jan. 23 at a press conference at Madrid’s opulent Palace Hotel.

A moot question, however, is whether this expectation will be fulfilled.

The Madrid Film Commission is backed by Spain’s wealthy Audiovisual Producers Rights Collection Society, Egeda; its powerful FAPAE producers trade body, and the Spain Film Commission.

Their presidents of those orgs — Enrique Cerezo, Pedro Perez and Carlos Rosado — emphasized that the Commission would facilitate Madrid shoots.

That would be welcome.

“It’s a fantastic idea. We do need help filming in the beautiful National Heritage buildings in Spain, which are prohibitively expensive to use,” said Denise O’Dell, the Spanish co-producer of “Sexy Beast” and “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.”

Producers are hoping for more, however, from the Commission’s political backers: the capital’s regional government and town hall.

As things stand, other regional governments — in Catalonia and Valencia, for example — offer far more direct subsidies, soft loans and incentives to shoot in their region than their Madrid counterpart.

Perez revealed at the conference that he’d talked with Madrid Region’s just-appointed president, Esperanza Aguirre, to discuss boosting Madrid as a production center.

In a lengthy speech Aguirre suggested that she recognized the film sector’s importance.

Local producers now hope she’ll show the color of her money — to avoid charges of grandstanding in the run-up to general elections March 14.

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