Spanish region trebles film funding

Andalusia ups spending to $12 million

HUELVA, Spain — Underscoring the escalating nature of regional film aid in Spain, Andalusia, Spain’s biggest region, will near treble its state film budget to Euros 8.15 million ($11.9 million) for 2008.

Next year’s budget covers pic subsidies and film fest aid.

The budget hike is part recognition of an increasingly vibrant local industry. The Andalusian government had originally slated $4.4 million budget for 2007, but in the end upped it to $7.4 million, due to the “high quality” of current pic production, Rosa Torres, the region’s culture minister, explained at the 33rd Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival.

Recent Andalusian productions include Javier Gutierrez’s “Before the Fall,” co-produced by Antonio Banderas’ Green Moon, Alain Gomis’ “Andalucia,” which world preemed at this month’s Seville fest, and Laura Mana’s “La Roldana,” now in production.

Torres also announced the creation of a new Andalusian Institute for Cultural Industries, to prime the Andalusian pic exports.

In a separate move, the Andalusia government will give Cuba’s ICAIC Film Institute $1.5 million in aid.

Coin is earmarked for the restoration of ICAIC’s cinematheque vaults and digitalization of films, with Andalusia’s accessing film prints.

ICAIC boasts more than 10,000 film prints, 2,000 of Cuban productions.

According to ICAIC director Omar Gonzalez, there is a real danger of this film treasure trove suffering irreparable damage.

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