Spanish films dealt full brunt of budget cutback blows

Movie-making subsidies will be slashed by 35 percent

As if state financing for Spanish cinema wasn’t already anemic, after yesterday’s news it is now headed for intensive care. The government announced Tuesday that it will reduce funding for Spanish film productions by 35 percent as part of the deep cuts in spending to help bring down the deficit and show foreign investors that Spain is serious about getting its economy back into shape.

The Fund for the Protection of Cinematography will see its budget slashed from 76 million euros to 49 million euros, while the Cinematography and Visual Arts Institute’s budget will be cut from 106 million euros to 68.86 million — a 35.4-percent reduction.

Pedro Pérez, the president of the Federation of Associations of Audiovisual Producers (FAPAE), said he was “surprised” by the announcement made Tuesday by Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro. He called on the minister to “tighten belts” in other areas because he believes that the cuts for moviemakers and film producers are unfair compared to other reductions.

Cutbacks will also be made at the National Institute for Scenic Arts and Music (INAEM), which will see its budget reduced from 165.95 million to 137.68 million. The department of the Education, Culture and Sports Ministry in charge of promoting Spanish literature and cultural activities nationally and abroad will also lose 3.4 million euros from its budget, while money allotted to the country’s museums will drop 12.9 percent from 204.78 million euros to 177.51 million.

But the belt-tightening for the Spanish film industry is being seen as the biggest blow to the culture sector. José María Lassalle, former secretary of state for culture, told EL PAÍS in an interview published on the day the cutbacks were announced that the film industry was going to suffer the most. “The Spanish film industry must understand that it has a very complicated future ahead,” he said.

Fearing that the end of government subsidies was near, the number of films shooting has dropped between January and April compared to the same period last year. Twenty-five films are currently being shot — most of them shorts or documentaries. In 2011, 74 movies were shooting in Spain during the first four months of the year.

In other cultural cutbacks, reductions will be made in the Teatro Real’s budget, by 15 percent; the Cervantes Institute, 5.4 percent; the Reina Sofia Museum, 14 percent; and the National Library, 14.2 percent.

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