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Sound bytes offer reality check

Variety cedes the floor to Spain-based movers and shakers and asks them a wide-ranging series of questions about the local biz, where it’s going and who’s hot.

1. What is Spanish cinema’s biggest competitive advantage?
A) Jaume Roures, Mediapro – Our highly competitive costs and talent.
B) Luis Minarro, producer, Eddie Saeta – It should be the Spanish language but in reality we don’t have any advantage. One exception: Almodovar.
C) Denise O’Dell, producer, Kanzaman – All the high-budget features produced in Spain over the years have left a legacy of expert cast and crew who have proven that Spanish cinema can be as little or as big as a Spanish producer wants to make it.
D) Adolfo Blanco, producer-distributor, Notro-Cecsa – Good directors, screenwriters, actors and technicians with enthusiasm and experience. And a broadcaster Spanish film investment quota, which is bankrolling many projects.
E) Jose Maria Morales, producer, Wanda Vision – The Spanish language and co-production possibilities with Latin America.

2. And disadvantage?
A) Roures – Too many films are made, many low-budget.
B) Minarro – Our Spanish language. And also a sometimes local cinema. It’s stereotyped in creative terms.
C) O’Dell – Its uncertain status as “industry.” Spanish cinema has been forced to deliver culturally backed films, forgetting commercial aspirations.
D) Blanco – Many quality films with tight budgets are rejected by the studios, and independents, who don’t get big films from Spanish producers, like “Alatriste” and “Volver,” and are weakened by the general industry trends, refuse, logically, to handle these small films.
E) Morales – Not taking enough advantage of the above.

3. What will be 2007’s key event for Spanish film?
A) Roures – Woody Allen shooting in Barcelona.
B) Minarro – The new film law, if it’s ever approved …
C) O’Dell – The presentation of Madrid Studios. That would definitely be a key event.
D) Blanco – A new film law extending broadcaster quotas to all TV operators, not just those currently screening films.
E) Morales – The new film law.

4. What key measure should the government adopt?
A) Roures – Spain’s (mooteD) new film law should be drawn up in concert with the sectors it affects and incorporates.
B) Minarro – To force private TV stations to diversify their movie investment and to invest, and to fortify distribution and exhibition channels that program Spanish films.
C) O’Dell – Tax benefits for risky investment, backing Spanish producers.
D) Blanco – Measures against Internet and (other) piracy. If things go on as they are, many distributors and exhibitors will suffer.
E) Morales – Approving the new film law.

5. How is Spanish cinema changing?
A) Roures – Greater ambition in productions; those backed by broadcasters and others from production houses.
B) Minarro – The emergence of new talents — in Catalonia particularly — making interesting low-budget films, which are seen at international festivals, at least.
C) O’Dell – Spanish banks and institutions are beginning to want to understand international projects; in the future we might not have to finance or cash-flow films from foreign banks and institutions.
D) Blanco – A new wave of young directors is introducing new ways of making films.
E) Morales – Falling admissions and piracy

6. Talented new director?
A) Roures – Tomas Fernandez, “La torre de Suso”
B) Minarro – Albert Serra (“The Honor of the Knights”)
C) O’Dell – Daniel Sanchez-Arevalo (“DarkBlueAlmostBlack”)
D) Blanco – Felix Viscarret (“Under the Stars”)
E) Morales – Jaime Rosales (“La soledad”)

7. Up-and-coming actor?
A) Roures – Alberto Amarilla (“The Sea Inside,” “Summer Rain”)
B) Minarro – Alex Gonzalez (“Second Round, “Virgin Rose”)
C) O’Dell – Quim Gutierrez (“DarkBlueAlmostBlack,” “Sin ti”)
D) Blanco – Quim Gutierrez
E) Morales – Rodolfo Sancho (“The Night of the Sunflowers”)

8. Up-and-coming actress?
A) Roures – Veronica Echegui (“The Lesser Evil,” “Yo soy la Juani”)
B) Minarro – Veronica Echegui
C) O’Dell – Ivana Baquero (“Pan’s Labyrinth”)
D) Blanco – Veronica Echegui
E) Morales – Carla Sanchez

9. Two Spanish films you’ve liked over the last year.
A) Roures – “DarkBlueAlmostBlack,” “The Night of the Sunflowers”
B) Minarro – Jordi Sole’s “The Taxi Thief” and “The Legend of Time” by Isaki Lacuesta.
C) O’Dell – “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Volver”
D) Blanco – “DarkBlueAlmostBlack,” “Mia Sarah,” by Gustavo Ron
E) Morales – “Volver,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”

10. What will you be doing at Cannes?
A) Roures – Presenting Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “His Majesty Minor,” which we’ve co-produced, and Woody’s Allen’s Spain shoot.
B) Minarro – Meeting international producers and distributors to focus on new, alternative co-production projects.
C) O’Dell – We will be discussing several projects with potential partners and investors: “Moses Taite’s War,” starring Morgan Freeman; “Zanshin,” a Spanish-Japanese action-adventure film; “The Stones of David,” by Katia Lund; “Snowheart,” an Inuit nation thriller.
D) Blanco – Scouring for one or two 2008 releases, selling “Under the Stars” and “Fermat’s Room,” and looking for co-producers for “The El Escorial Conspiracy” and “Inner Space.”
E) Morales – We’ve got two films at Cannes: “La soledad” in Un Certain Regard and Lucia Puenzo’s “XXY,” in Critics’ Week.

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