×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Madrid Ramps Up Efforts to Lure Production

In the wake of energizing tax incentives for international productions that launched in Spain in early 2015, the region of Madrid, the country’s main film-TV hub, is undergoing substantial growth as a home for foreign shoots.

The Madrid region has a long history in international film production. But arguably it has never been more attractive than today.

As with the rest of the Spanish mainland, Madrid offers 15% tax rebates for international shoots, calculated against spend, and an 18%-20% tax deduction for Spanish investors in local productions and co-productions that was introduced in 2008.

Although not Europe’s most generous, the measures are proving a ground-breaking move for the Spanish industry.

“Fiscal incentives are a definitive step forward,” says Denis Pedregosa at Babieka, co-producer of “The Promise,” a $100 million production that partially shot in Madrid in 2015, accessing Spanish tax deductions.

Like Spain at large, Madrid boasts a wide range of locations and architecture, an ultra-modern communications infrastructure, plus stable weather.
The region, however, has several competitive advantages.

“A large majority of Spanish department heads and technicians live in Madrid. While shooting there and in surrounding areas, they stay at their own homes; you don’t have to pay that expense,” says Carlos Ruiz Boceta, production head at Calle Cruzada, the company run by José Luis Escolar, a regular partner on Hollywood shoots.

As Spain’s biggest audiovisual industry center, Madrid also gives “an easier access to equipment and materials,” Pedregosa says.

The robust production services infrastructure includes renowned Madrid-based suppliers such as equipment house EPC, wardrobe outfitters Cornejo, VFX company El Ranchito and Rafael Catering, all regulars on high-profile Spanish and international productions.

Set in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula, Madrid is among Spain’s smallest regions, occupying some 8,000 square-kilometers (3,088 square miles). Its landscape ranges from the pine forests of the Guadarrama Sierra in the north to the more desert-like south, bordering Castille-La Mancha.

“The region offers a diversity of locations with minimum displacement,” says Samuel Castro, coordinator of Film Madrid, a recently launched agency aimed at promoting and advising film and TV shoots in the region.

A historical drama about the Armenian genocide carried out during WWI, Terry George’s “The Promise” filmed the battle of Musa Dagh, between Armenians and Turks, in the rugged mountains of northern municipalities of La Cabrera and Valdemanco.

French cruiser Guichen, which helped evacuate Armenian resistance fighters from Musa Dagh, was replicated by art director Benjamín Fernández (“Gladiator”) in the eastern city of Rivas Vaciamadrid, nearly 10 miles from downtown Madrid. Sea scenes were completed on Almeria’s coast and a water tank at Malta’s Mediterranean Studios.

The co-production with Kirk Kerkorian’s Survival Pictures spent €15.2 million ($16.6 million) in Madrid on technical crew, according to Babieka.
Fresco Film, the services provider on “Game of Thrones’” shoots in Spain, was also behind last year’s European co-production “Tom of Finland,” a biopic on Finnish gay icon Touko Laaksonen.

Production houses Helsinki Films and Fresco lensed several scenes covering Laaksonen’s life in the U.S., including a mock-up of an L.A. setting, a rural road and the exterior of a hospital during an anti-gay demonstration.

“The choice of Madrid was due to a combination of factors: Locations matching the production requirements, production costs and fine weather,” says Fresco’s line producer Luis Montalvo.

Often, Madrid works as a complementary film set, taking advantage of a competitive studio offer. “You can shoot outside Madrid and then finish the shoot in a Madrid-based studio,” Ruiz Boceta says.

On Xavier Gens’ Kinology-sold “Cold Skin,” a sci-fi thriller with David Oakes and Aura Garrido, Babieka combined locations in Canary Islands’ Lanzarote with Non Stop Studios in Madrid’s Fuente El Saz.

Some 70% of lensing in the Madrid region takes place in the capital, whose municipal government is reportedly preparing the launch of a Madrid Film Office to satisfy growing shoot demands. Past international productions that rolled in the city in search of cosmopolitan landscapes include Bruce Willis-starrer “The Cold Light of Day” and the Paul Greengrass-directed “The Bourne Ultimatum.”

In “The Cold Light of Day,” a 2012 urban thriller, Calle Cruzada arranged a chase down Madrid’s Gran Vía main street and for a car to drive through the arc of the Puerta de Alcalá in a spectacular scene. “Bourne Ultimatum,” serviced by Kanzaman, filmed star Matt Damon in the Atocha train station and the
district of La Latina.

In the Focus Features-distributed “The Limits of Control,” Jim Jarmusch directed in the bohemian Malasaña district, while taking advantage of modern buildings such as Torres Blancas and the Reina Sofía Museum.

Madrid has even been part of the script on some international projects, such as Fox’s “Deception” with Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman. Pic was filmed in the Paseo del Prado, Plaza Mayor and Instituto Cervantes.

“Easing action production shoots in emblematic locations has helped to put Madrid in line with other big international cities for filming,” Ruiz Boceta says.

More Film

  • IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for

    IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for ‘On The Job’ Franchise

    Filipino director Erik Matti is known for his eclectic body of work that includes “Honor Thy Father” and “Seklusyon.” His 2013 effort, “On The Job” travelled widely and won several awards including two at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for an SACD Prize at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Matti is at [...]

  • Joan Chen attends the season premiere

    Joan Chen Talks Diversity in Hollywood, Welcomes #MeToo

    Chinese-American actress, writer and director Joan Chen says that she was flattered when Time magazine described her as the “Elizabeth Taylor of China.” When asked at an in-conversation event in Singapore on Saturday whether she paved the way for Chinese actresses to follow in Hollywood, Chen said, “We never go to work because we want [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen

    IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen Talks Performing, Producing and Public Pressure

    Macao’s Actress in Focus is a woman who has trained as a boxer, likes British actors, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeremy Irons, and is now setting out her stall as a producer. Yao Chen has built a career over 20 years thanks to TV shows including “My Own Swordsman,” and films including “If You Are [...]

  • Bradley Liew's 'Motel Acacia' Shoots After

    Cautionary Tale, 'Motel Acacia' Under Way After Four Years of Development

    Production has begun on Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s upscale horror film “Motel Acacia.” With a clearly topical message, the film features a hotel bed that eats immigrants. Actor, JC Santos called it: “A cautionary tale of what’s going to happen in the future.” Indonesian star, Nicholas Saputra said the he agreed to the role “because [...]

  • Jon M. ChuUnforgettable Gala, Inside, Los

    'Crazy Rich Asians' Honored at Unforgettable Awards: 'One Movie Every 25 Years is Just Not F—ing Enough'

    Fresh on the heels of its Golden Globe nomination, “Crazy Rich Asians” was the talk of the evening at Kore Asian Media’s 17th annual Unforgettable Awards. Saturday’s event, which celebrates Asian-American trailblazers and their achievements in the entertainment industry, honored a host of Asian actors, directors and influencers, including “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    'Roma' Named Best Film of 2018 by L.A. Film Critics Association

    Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met today to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. Recent winners of the group’s top prize include “Call Me by Your Name,” “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Boyhood,” “Her”/”Gravity” and “Amour.” List of winners below. Best Film: “Roma” (Runner-up: “Burning”) Best Director: Debra Granik, “Leave No Trace”(Runner-up: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content