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Despite dramatic times, there is room for some encouragement in recent moves by the Spanish film industry. Basque global hit “The Platform” proved the most-watched movie on Netflix in the U.S. The Mediapro Studio is upping film production with high-profile projects such as the Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas drama “Official Competition.” Meanwhile, Mr. Fields and Friends, headed by Bambú founders Ramón Campos and Teresa Fernández-Valdés, debuted with “Malasaña 32,” as well as plans to produce three to five movies every two years. Powerhouse Morena Films is in production with “Historias lamentables,” a drama from the team behind Spanish box office smash “Champions.”

Six days before producers will be allowed to restart production shoots in Spain, Pedro Sánchez’s PSOE socialist government has powered up the tax breaks cap for Hollywood and other foreign shoots as part of a relief package for Spain’s cultural industries.

Plowed through a Spanish-tax-paying service company working on a foreign nationality shoot, the cap for the total tax rebate on one shoot, previously set at €3 million ($3.3 million), has now been raised, crucially, to €10 million ($10.9 million).

The rebate rate has also edged up five percentage points from 25% to 30% for the first €1 million of local spend by a foreign shoot, and 25% (from a prior 20%) thereafter.

Local companies involved in co-productions face other challenges.

“We must relax some requirements of co-productions already under way,” says Morena Films’ Pilar Benito, president of Spanish film organization AEC.
A return to production is critical, with producers hoping to start indoor shoots by June or July and outdoor by year’s end.

A major concern is when and how theaters will reopen and the lack of release dates. “There’s a risk of a bottleneck; indie distribution can be seriously damaged,” says Antonio Saura, CEO of Latido Films.

Distributor A Contracorriente moved several theatrically intended non-Spanish premieres to salavirtualdecine.com.

However, Spanish films that release directly on subscription VOD currently forfeit subsidies. Indie producers demand flexibility on this issue, as do their French counterparts.

Post-production activities continue. “Many films in progress will be completed and have festival opportunities,” Saura says.

Meanwhile, the state of alarm and quarantine has generated a demand for content from platforms. “Beyond series binging, [OTT] platform users demand movies,” says Campos.

Key Spanish pics in the pipeline include:

 

“Official Competition” 


Directors: Mariano Cohn, Gastón Duprat


Producer: The Mediapro Studio


Key cast: Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas


Spain’s two most recognizable movie faces team with “The Distinguished Citizen” filmmakers.


Sales: Protagonist Pictures

 

“Amor de madre”

Director: Paco Caballero


Producer: Netflix


Key cast: Quim Gutiérrez, Carmen Machi


Comedy turns on a man who is stood up at the altar.

 

“Historias lamentables”


Director: Javier Fesser


Producer: Morena Films.


Key cast: Fernando Sansegundo, Pol López


New drama from the team behind Spanish box office smash “Champions.”

Sales: Latido

 

“La Abuela”


Director: Paco Plaza


Producer: Apache Films


New horror film by Plaza (“Verónica,” “[REC]”) and scripted by Carlos Vermut (“Magical Girl”).

 

“Operación Camarón”


Director: Carlos Therón


Producer: Telecinco Cinema


Key cast: Julián López, Carlos Librado,
Natalia de Molina


A rookie cop must go undercover in a Rosalía-style flamenco group.


Sales. Filmax