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Producers scrambling for finance should spare a thought for Catalonia. Aimed at boosting its minority international co-productions, a new public support scheme was launched in June by the Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises (ICEC).

Fiction, documentary or animation projects are eligible for funding, running to a total €1.2 million ($1.4 million) this year. Finance can’t exceed 60% of total Spanish participation and is capped $335,000 per project.

A long-standing demand from producers, the measure seeks “to begin the process of consolidating our cinema on international markets,” says ICEC director Miquel Curanta.
Only projects that have covered 40% of their budget through an international producer and Catalan partner can apply, but there is no minimum required from the Catalan applicant.

Of 84 Catalan productions last year, 47 were produced 100% out of the region, 19 were co-productions with another region of Spain and 18 were international co-productions, just down from 21 in 2018. Eight were minority co-productions, nine majority and one saw equal co-financing. France and Argentina were the most-frequent countries of co-production with four cases each, followed by Mexico (three), and Italy and the U.S. (two).

Recent minority Catalan co-productions include Albert Serra’s Un Certain Regard prize-winner, “Liberté,” Sebastian Lelio’s Academy Award winner “A Fantastic Woman” and Stefano Cipani’s “My Brother Chases Dinosaurs,” a European Film Academy Young Audience Award laureate.

“Producers have to build up networks of trust in international markets,” Curanta says. “Departing from initial minority participation, our companies will be able to find regular partners for their own future projects.”

“This new line will favor crucial exchange between countries, building a stronger future,” says Raimon Masllorens, president of Catalan producers lobby Proa. — Emilio Mayorga