Malaga’s Spanish Screenings – A Provisional Take

Rapa Das Bestas
Credit: Jaime Olmedo

A historic Malaga Festival-Spanish Screenings finally began to wind down Thursday evening. Spain has celebrated national showcases for decades, but it’s never seen anything quite like the last four days. 

Briefly, five first takeaways from this year’s edition: 

Spain’s On Fire

“Spain’s audiovisual sectors are on fire,” said Luis Cueto, at Spain’s Department of Commerce, at a Malaga round table on Thursday. Just one generation ago, Spanish cinema was regarded with suspicion in Spain’s august financial circles. No more. At the same panel, Arturo Azcorra at Spain’s Telecommunications Ministry announced €30 million ($33 million) in new incentives, largely for high-tech innovation, such as VFX prototypes, animation and AI production technology. Cueto presented an ambitious Spain AVS Hub website. Speakers took 100 minutes to drill down on new r expanded financial instruments planned for Spain’s film and TV, such as the country’s ICO state bank discounting pre-buys from not only public broadcaster RTVE but also the country’s commercial networks and platforms.

Supersized as Never Before

The Malaga industry screenings form the first leg of the newly inaugurated Spanish Screenings XXL, second leg at the San Sebastian Fest, a third afterwards outside Spain. The event lived up to its name. Attendance skyrocketed to over 1,100 industry delegates, which is a serious figure. In all, the Screenings showed over 100 finished films (63), projects (26) and pìx in post (14). It will take industry prizes, announced on Friday, to highlight many titles.

Regulation: The Gamechanger

Broadly speaking, the AVS hub can go two ways, using enhanced financing to power up industry facets to another level, or via regulation. The former was seen this week at Series Mania, where Spain’s ICEX staged an up next Spanish series showcase, case study and buyers’ breakfast, The extension of the ICEX spread was only matched by France and Finland. The latter option was tabled at Málaga when the Spain Film Commission, Profilm line producer body and ALIA service sector assn. called on the Spanish government to raise caps on tax breaks for international shoots in Spain from €10 million ($11 million) to €3o million ($33 million) per title. That hike would ensure that more mega-shoots came to Spain, said the SFC’s Carlos Rosado.

Screenings Pace Setters

Through March 21-22, most seen movies at the Spanish Screenings took in “The Test,” backed By Atresmedia Cine and Warner Bros Entertainment España; “Full Of Grace,” the fest closer, about an orphanage soccer team run by a nun; and four Filmax titles – “Lemon And Poppy Seed Cake,”

“Can’t Live Without You,” “We Wont Kill Each Other With Guns” and “Mediterráneo.” Also in a Top 10, or 11, is “Lullaby,”

“Football Heroes of the Block,” “You Keep the Kids,”  “Toscana” and Netflix fest opener “Emperor Code.” Save for “Lullaby,” which world premiered in Berlin’s Panorama, these most watched movies are very much broader more mainstream fare. In a platform world, and theatrical sector dominated by Hollywood’s biggest swings, arthouse, unless exceptional, is now a much harder play.

Malaga TV Heft Grows

Malaga may not have had many more drama series this year. Their weight, however, means that the festival is gaining an ever larger TV heft. One of the best new movies at Málaga this year, for example, may be “Rapa,” a six-part series marking Movistar Plus and prodco Portocabo’s follow-up to “Hierro,” the platform’s most-watched series of 2021. “I don’t really distinguish between film and TV,” “Hierro” and “Rapa” creator  Pepe Coira told Variety. Teetering between cosy rural murder mystery and far darker Latino noir, the series is superbly and pointedly shot. Cast is led by Javier Cámara, star of Almodóvar’s arguably best film. “Rapa” will be brought onto the market by Beta Film at MipTV.

More to come….