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.