MADRID — Spain’s new Culture Minister has created considerable concern in the Spanish movie industry as it fears for the future of state film subsidies.
Spain’s new center-right Popular Party government will “promote sponsorship for culture, progressively replacing the current subsidy-based model,” Culture Minister Jose Ignacio Wert told Spanish newspaper El Mundo Wednesday.
Wert’s words echo the fiscal austerity program promised Monday by Mariano Rajoy as he took over as Spanish prime minister.
To cut Spain’s deficit to 4.4% of GDP in 2012, Rajoy said Spain would need to slash Euros16.5 billion ($21.5 billion) of public expenditure next year.
Spain’s central government subsidy fund stood at $100 million in 2011. Most producers expect some sort of reduction for 2012. What they fear, however, is a total dismantlement of a system still vital to getting films made in Spain.
“Before destroying the current model, you have to ensure the new one works,” said Pedro Perez, prexy of Spain’s producers org Fapae.
A sociologist and liberal, Wert is a staunch opponent of piracy: Internet pirates, he wrote earlier this year, aren’t “Robin Hoods but the new barbarians.”
He is expected to pass enabling legislation for Spain’s long mooted anti-piracy law that would seek to shutter illegal peer-to-peer sites.
But, with a full 2012 budget not likely before the end of March, multiple uncertainties hang over Spanish state film funding.
Any foreign producer looking to co-produce with Spain will find many local producers unwilling to commit until, for better or worse, the sky clears.
Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this article.