Spain/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

A new Cinema Act was produced at the end of 2007 (Act 55/2007) with the aims of promoting and developing the production, distribution and exhibition of cinematographic and audiovisual works, establishing the conditions that favour creation and dissemination and implementing measures for the preservation of film and audiovisual heritage, all in a context of the defence and promotion of cultural identity and diversity.

The Act also introduced the concept of integration of cinematography in the audiovisual sector, considering it as a whole, with its specificities, and by designing film and audiovisual production as the core content of television and this as an important element for disseminating, promoting and financing the cinema industry.

Latter, the 2062/2008Royal Decree developed many aspects that are listed in the Cinema Act. In particular, the text simplifies the administrative procedures that are required of film companies; describes general regulations for subsidies in the sector; encourages the creation of economic interest groupings for film production; fosters co-productions with foreign companies; provides various measures to combat piracy; opens up a space for consensus among television operators and film production companies; and strongly embraces collaboration with the Autonomous Communities in promoting cinemas and co-official language films. This new regulation aims to provide the basis for strengthening the film industry and enhancing the presence of Spanish films in the market.

After months of debate with film industry representatives, the government approved the 2834/2009 Ministerial Order on subsidies for the film sector. While the Order came into force in October 2009, its application was subject to approval by the European Commission. Finally, in January 2010, the European Commission gave the green light to the Spanish system of aid to the cinematographic and audiovisual sector. Despite its adoption and entry into force, an important part of the industry, led by the group "Filmmakers against the Order", still believed that certain aspects of the Order had not been sufficiently studied and could have negative consequences in film production. However, the recent adoption, in November 2013, of the new rules on aid to film production by the European Commission compels the Spanish government to adapt the existing system in the field of financing to the European communication in the following two years.

Following a proposal of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, in July 2014, the 8/2014 Royal Decree Act of urgent measures for growth, competitiveness and efficiency suppressed the mandate to be registered in the Administrative Register of Cinema and Audiovisual Companies of the Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (ICAA), or in the equivalent institutions of the Autonomous Communities, reforming the Cinema Act (55/2007 Act).

Central government cultural policy on film is the responsibility of the ICAA, a body set up in 1984 and governed by a Decree passed in 1997. Some of the regions have adopted legislation of their own designed to encourage the film industry. This is the case in Catalonia (20/2010 Act), which has a law governing the film and audiovisual industry in terms of production, distribution, marketing, promotion, international dissemination and exhibition of films and audiovisual material besides regulating aspects related to the preservation of film heritage. The Catalan Linguistic Policy Act of 1998, for its part, sets out measures designed to promote Catalan-language films, and provides the possibility for the regional government to introduce screen and distribution quotas to ensure such films are exhibited to the public. Another piece of regional legislation established the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries, a body designed to develop and monitor compliance with initiatives introduced to foster the Catalan language and culture (Article3.j of the 20/2000 Act). To the same end, the Galician Audiovisual Act was passed in 1999 (6/1999 Act) and the Galician Audiovisual Consortium was created. The Valencian community has also its own Audiovisual Act (1/2006 Act) and the "Ricardo Muñoz Suay" Valencian Audiovisual and Cinema Institute (58/1998 Act), today integrated in CulturArts Generalitat (5/2013 Decree). In 2000, the Andalusian government adopted a programme to encourage and protect the audiovisual arts and created the Andalusian Audiovisual Council (52/2000 Act). In 2011, as a result of the economic crisis and the need to rationalise public administration, the 15/2011 Act abolished the Navarre Audiovisual Council that was created by the 18/2001 Act on audiovisual activities in Navarre. More recently, the Balearic Islands have passed the 5/2013 Act aimed at promoting the audiovisual sector in its community.

With a broader spectrum, which includes the media, Catalonia and Andalusia have their Audiovisual Councils (the Catalan Audiovisual Council is regulated by the 2/2000 Act and the Andalusian Audiovisual Council by the 1/2004 Act), which seek to encourage and protect the audiovisual arts. More recently, the Balearic Islands have created the Balearic Audiovisual Council (2/2010 Act) and the 9/2011 Acton Public Media of Galicia foresees the creation of the Galician Audiovisual Council that will establish the main lines of the Galician audiovisual policy and will function as an advisory body.

One of the objectives announced by the government for the present term is to reinforce the relationship between cinema and television, through the review and harmonisation of the Cinema Act and the General Act Audiovisual Communication, as well as the design of a new funding model for the film and audiovisual sector (see also chapter 5.3.7).


Chapter published: 24-06-2015


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