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‘REC 4’ rolls in Barcelona, Canary Islands

Franchise finale confirms new finance models in Spain

BARCELONAJulio Fernandez’s Barcelona-based Filmax Entertainment has put into production Jaume Balaguero’s long-awaited “REC 4: Apocalypse,” only one of the most-anticipated Spanish titles of the year.

Rolling July 13, the final part of the demonic possession bloodbath saga also highlights new financing models for Spain’s film business as its surviving production companies, often working English-language or auteur genre fare, look ever more to international and the private-sector coin to package a now select clutch of high-profile titles.

Helmed solo by Balaguero, and co-written with “REC 2” co-scribe Manu Diez, “REC 4” returns to the original setting of the first and second installment’s dingy Barcelona apartment block, from which Angela Vidal, the game reality TV reporter Angela Vidal played by Spanish actress Manuela Velasco, is evacuated alive, the only survivor of a demonic virus. The respite proves temporary.

“REC 4: Apocalypse” is shooting for seven weeks in Barcelona and Gran Canaria, one of the biggest of Spain’s Canary Islands.

“’REC’ reflects the soul of Filmax, the films for which Filmax are known around the world as a market-minded international genre specialist,” said Filmax CEO Carlos Fernandez.

“REC’s” first three installments have grosses around a combined $50 million worldwide. “REC 4” has sold out in all major territories bar Italy, Fernandez added.

That said, “REC 4’s” financing reflects a gathering sea change in how Spanish movies are now being put together, Fernandez recognized.

Key elements in “REC 4” include an Agrupacion de Interes Economico (AIE) 18% Spanish tax break; an additional 20% Canary Island tax credit, raised like the Spanish AIE by Oceano Media, a new Barcelona-based financial consultancy, headed by Adrian Guerra and Xavier Parache, in association with PriceWaterhouseCoopers; and pre-sales by Filmax Intl., Filmax’s in-house international sales agency.

Natixis Coficine is discounting part of a Spanish ICAA Film Institute subsidy, plus pre-sales (national and international) and tax credits, said Gate Media’s Xavier Parache, who is representing Natixis Coficine in Spain.

International co-production, especially with countries with strong subsidy or fiscal support systems – like Canada, Peru and Belgium – is another now key financial instrument for Spanish cinema, Parache added.

Announced early June, a new bill in Spain looks set to extend Spanish tax credits sine diem, and allow them to take in films’ P & A spend, up to 40% of movies’ budgets.

For Parache, “Spain is now adopting film financing systems closer to those of other European countries such as the U.K., Belgium and Germany.”

He added: “Producers used to manage money from state subsidies or public TV pre-buys. They are now becoming entrepreneurs at an international level.”

Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article

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