New Industry Collective Alia Outlines Strategy for Spanish Growth at San Sebastian Panel

ALIA Presentation
Credit: Gari Garaialde

In April, 39 companies in Spain joined together to create Alia, the Alliance for the Audiovisual Industry, a non-profit advocacy group including public and private institutions intended to negotiate and improve Spain’s production pipeline while presenting a unified front when dealing with governmental economic bodies.

“Alia was an idea that we started on quite a while ago, but in the last four months we thought that its foundation must be accelerated since production is very complicated [because of the COVID-19 pandemic],” Alia president Roberto Sacristán said from the stage of a San Sebastian’s panel hosted by the new organization.

As Spanish content has globalized and found new audiences abroad, Spanish talent has blossomed. Not only creative or acting talent, but technical talent is impacting international markets more than ever.

“One of the objectives of the alliance is the internationalization of our sector,” said Alia spokesperson Vanessa Ruiz Larrea of Deluxe Entertainment Services. “As we all know, we are in a moment when everything in the sector is sweet thanks to the arrival of digital platforms. Our products are being seen outside, and that means our talent is as well.”

“We must take advantage of this moment. We believe that we still need to push to further strengthen this initiative and to internationalize our sector,” she added

The diversity of Spain’s talent is manifested in the composition of groups backing Alia, including dubbing studios, post-production service companies, location scouts, on-set production teams, suppliers, technical providers, distributors and producers who all joined Alia to strengthen the industry as a whole. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Bernat Aragonés, from Antaviana Films, noted, “The production landscape in Spain is full of different types of medium to big companies and several multinationals. The new industry association intends to push everyone together.”

Aiming to face both the COVID-19 crisis and more traditional industry challenges with a common response, Alia’s plan includes meeting with Spain’s economics agencies and creating further alliances with associations from other, tangential industries.

A main drawing power of Spain’s industry has long been the generous regional financial incentives. “The first thing international companies ask when they arrive in any country is, ‘Which incentives apply to me?’ Economic incentives are the push needed to bring productions to Spain,” explained Ruiz Larrea.

Encouraging more Spanish companies to get involved, Oscar Perez, general manager at Spanish service technical company EPC, explained the change in his field.

“Not long ago we were called the ‘deferred,’ as in we were supposed to get paid later,” he explained, pointing out that things are different today, and without service companies like EPC there would be no cinema talent in Spain.

“We’ve become an important piece in the visual production pipeline and are now recognized as a valuable part of the production pipeline,” he said.

Alia’s associations intend to get every piece of that pipeline together in one group and create a unified voice with which they can approach government administrations.