San Sebastian: Canary Islands Open Up a Second Front in International Production

Recent Hollywood shoots include Brad Pitt's “Allied,” Universal Pictures' “Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne
Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Canary Islands‘ film and TV industry is pushing to open a second front in terms of international production.

Offering a hefty 38% tax break for film and TV shoots, the boom in big international shoots continues. Most recent examples: Brad Pitt’s “Allied” and Universal Pictures’ “Jason Bourne.”

Among the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife and Gran Canaria are currently top destinies for international projects. But the shoot scene is expanding towards La Palma, which partially hosted this year Richard Armitage’s TV series “Berlin Station,” a Paramount TV, Anonymous Content production.

However, only a minority part of film and TV productions on the Islands are developed by the local industry.

“Our aim is for the local industry to joins project as co-producers and also promote other projects originated in the Islands,” said Luis Renart, managing director at Canary Island Connection, a full-service production, financing and sales company.

After five years of deep economic crisis, Canary Islands’ authorities are mulling the relaunch of film and TV subsidies, while internationalisation is helping to generate early green shoot growth in the local film and TV sector. Some examples of project developed at the Islands are:

*Theo Court’s historical drama “White on White,” a co-production bewtween Tenerife-based El Viaje Films with Chile’s Don Quijote, supported by Spain’s ICAA Film Institute, Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund and regional pubcaster TV Canaria. Rolling in Chile and the Canary Islands by year’s end, it toplines Alfredo Castro (“The Club”) and Pilar Lopez de Ayala (“Night Has Settled”).

*A post-modern western, ”Milk Teeth,” by David Pantaleon, re-teams Tenerife’s Volcano Films with France’s Noodles, co-producers of 2015 San Sebastian Jury Prize awardee “Evolution.” Filming next summer in Fuerteventura.

*Victor Moreno’s ”The Hidden City,” a documentary on the subterranean heart of developed world’s cities, co-produced by El Viaje with France’s Pomme Hurlante Films, backed by Spain’s ICAA. Visual effects by Alexis Perrin (“Thorn,” “Nymphomaniac”).

*Highlighting the growing strength of Canary Islands’ toon sector, La Casa Animada is producing the second season of Ana Sanchez-Gijon’s pre-school TV series “Cleo,” acquired by Spanish pubcaster RTVE to air on channel Clan, and widely sold abroad by Toonz Media’s Imira.