MADRID — Telecinco Cinema, the film production arm of Mediaset España, Spain’s biggest TV network, has won the 2017 CineEurope Independent Producer of the Year Award.

Adjudicated by the International Union of Cinema (UNIC), Europe’s umbrella assn. of national exhibitor associations. Telecinco Cinema’s two driving forces, CEO Ghislain Barrois, and Alvaro Augustin, its director general, will accept the Award at the 26th CineEurope, whose prize ceremony takes place on June 22 in Barcelona.

Described by Andrew Sunshine, VP of the Film Expo Group, which manages CineEurope, as “one of the major feature film studios no only in the Spanish market but in Europe also,” Telecinco Cinema launched in 1999 as Estudios Picasso Fabrica de Ficción, which channeled a government-imposed obligation to invest part of its revenues in Spanish or other European movie production.

Making a virtue out of a necessity, Telecinco Cinema has gone on to co-produce six of the top 10 Spanish movie hits of all time in Spain, and Spain’s No. 1 movie, beating out Hollywood competition, in 2012 (“The Impossible”), 2014 (“Spanish Affair”), 2015 (“Spanish Affair 2) and 2016 (“A Monster Calls”). 2014’s chart-topper, “Spanish Affair,” grossed $77.5 million, four times the take of its nearest Hollywood rival, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” ($17.5 million). and helped Spanish films to a 24% domestic market share, their biggest since 1977.

Making such movies, Telecinco Cinema has played off a conjunction of factors: Hollywood’s retreat from mid-sized films targeting adults, as Axel Kuschevatzky has pointed out; TC’s freedom – unlike in France which also has a TV investment quota – to co-produce rather than just acquire movies to fulfill its investment quota, encouraging TC to invest in movies with theatrical potential inside and outside Spain, as Vincent Maraval has observed; owner Mediaset España’s muscular marketing expertise.

As part result, Telecinco Cinema has scored notable triumphs: 2007 “Pan’s Labyrinth,” still regarded by many as Guillermo del Toro’s finest film; a $180 million worldwide gross for “The Impossible”; Spain’s biggest animation hit ever, “Tad, the Lost Explorer”; $730 million plus in total grosses in and outside Spain; bullish sales on its latest movies, such as “Marrowbone,” licenced over much of the world by Lionsgate; about 270 awards, including three Oscars, 73 Goyas, and three BAFTAs.

Most importantly of all, Telecinco Cinema has contributed –  alongside others such as auteurs Pedro Almodovar, J.A. Bayona, Alejandro Amenabar, Fernando and David Trueba and Santiago Segura, to Spanish movies’ no longer being regarded as anathema by Spaniards themselves. The last time that happened was in Spain’s 1930s Republic.

Having bowed comedy “For Your Own Good,” currently the best-performing Spanish release of 2017 earning $10 million at national theaters, Telecinco Cinema’s next big release will be “Tad Jones 2: the Secret of King Midas,” directed by Enrique Gato and David Alonso, which has just selected for Annecy; “Perfect Strangers,” from Alex de la Iglesia”; Marrowbone,” the directorial debut of “The Orphanage” screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez, with Bayona as executive producer; and Africa-set adventure thriller “El cuaderno de Sara,” starring Belen Rueda.