Finance minister blames film industry crisis on “quality”

Montoro attributes problems to declining audiences, in contrast to government's own figures

Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro.
Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro.ULY MARTÍN

Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro on Tuesday said that the crisis enveloping the Spanish film industry had nothing to do with the VAT hike on cinema tickets or the cuts imposed by the Popular Party government, but with the “quality of the films.”

When asked about the 12.4-percent cut to the Film Guarantee Fund, the body that distributes film production subsidies, the minister blamed the crisis in the industry on a decline in audience numbers over the past 10 years.

His comments to the SER radio network, which will only further strain relations between the government and the film industry, run in direct contrast to the government’s own figures, which report that the Spanish film industry grew at the box office over the last 10 years — in 2002 it generated 85.4 million euros paid by 19 million filmgoers and in 2012 it took in 119.9 million paid by 18.2 million people.

A short time later secretary of state for culture, José María Lassalle, responded to the minister’s words as he explained the culture budget to Congress. “Fortunately, the quality of Spanish cinema has nothing to do with what Mr Montoro or I think about it,” he said.

Socialist spokesman for culture in Congress, José Andrés Torres Mora, threw the current situation of the government’s film policy back at Lassalle. “There has been a 58-percent fall in the budget of the ICAA [state film institute] in three years. Cristóbal Montoro is carrying out his revenge against cinema with the Culture Ministry chiefs remaining passive. Cristóbal Montoro is acting in an ideological way against culture in general and cinema in particular.”

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