Andalusia offers ray of light for film sector

Producers still flocking to shoot in region

Mario Casas (l) and Antonio de la Torre in Seville-shot thriller 'Grupo 7.'
Mario Casas (l) and Antonio de la Torre in Seville-shot thriller 'Grupo 7.'

Not everything is doom and gloom in the Spanish film industry in the wake of government cuts. Despite the crisis, Andalusia is holding its own as a location for film, TV shows, documentary and music video shoots.

The region registered a total of 1,073 shoots in 2011, just 43 fewer than last year — a rate of activity that, according to data from the Andalusia Film Commission (AFC), generated 140 million euros for the Andalusian economy and provided employment for around 11,000 workers.

TV programs and ads were behind the greatest number of shoots — 295, a 27.4-percent rise on 2010. This is followed by documentaries (113), short films (96), corporate videos (81), music videos (56), TV series (29) and TV movies (14). However, the figures reflect the impact of the crisis on the cinema industry with feature film shoots down almost half on last year, from 59 to 24. Producers came from 49 countries in 2011, most of them (87.8 percent) European.

Nevertheless, the AFC estimates it has lost out on winning 26 percent of possible projects due to a lack of tax incentives similar to those offered in France, the UK and Germany.

The sight of Mario Casas chasing criminals around Seville up on screen in police thriller Grupo 7 (Unit 7) or Sacha Baron Cohen picking the Andalusian capital to recreate an Arab country in The Dictator also has another positive impact — on the tourist industry. “We are talking about culture but also about the economy because there are studies that show that some 25 percent of tourists decide to visit a place because they saw it in the cinema or on television,” explains AFC president Carlos Rosado.

“A film acts as a promotional brochure that provokes a more intense relationship than a simple advert. Their impact is bigger because it lasts longer and spreads in a viral way.” That’s why the AFC has teamed up with the Andalusian tourist board to create the Gran ruta del cine por Andalucía (The great Andalusia movie route), which, via the internet, offers visitors a virtual tour through places chosen as the locations of some of the most important films shot in the region.

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