Living from cinema in Spain: the keys to the sector





A few days before the Goya 2022 and with the sixth wave of the pandemic in decline, Spanish cinema continues to resist despite the coronavirus. If the current shootings are compared with those that were made in 2019, the figure remains the same: then there were 623 shootings and in 2021, 615. A third of the shootings in the last year correspond to movies.

Nevertheless, the fall of the sector is visible in the collection. Spanish films collected 88.9 million euros in 2019 and last year it did not even reach half, 37 million. Some figures that are also reflected in the number of spectators in movie theaters, since in 2019 there were 105 million, and in 2021 there have been 41 million. This significant economic downturn has meant that many cinemas cannot continue: more than 3,500 rooms closed in 2021. A trend that has been going on for more than a decade.

Security measures, tests and masks: Spanish cinema faces the pandemic

Masks, temperature controls or antigen tests are common measures that have been established in the daily life of many workplaces. In the cinema, all of them are mandatory, but they can drastically affect a film, since if a contagion occurs, filming must be stopped.

And producer María Zamora looks optimistically at this obstacle course and intermittent filming with the new film by Carla Simón, alcarrasabout to present it at the Berlinale, and the producer Enrique López Lavigne, who celebrates the success of The grandmother of Paco Plaza. The Newscast analyzes and reviews the keys to the Spanish film industry.

Director Isabel Coixet bets on movie theaters: “At home there is always the reality that distracts us”

The newscast makes an analysis and review the keys of the Spanish film industry.

Spanish cinema vs. Hollywood

The power of Hollywood continues to lead in the film industry. This enormous difference between Spanish cinema and that of the United States can be seen in box office receipts. North American productions receive more than 70%, while Spanish cinema hardly exceeds 15%. In addition, although a hundred Spanish films are released, only two or three, usually family comedies, manage to exceed one million viewers.

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In Spanish cinema, comedy is the genre that attracts the most viewers. Diego San José is one of the most successful screenwriters in our cinema, along with Borja Cobeaga, who triumphed at the box office with Eight Basque surnames. And another of the experts in this genre is, without a doubt, Santiago Segura, since his films have been the most viewed for three years.

Spanish productions only account for 15% of box office receipts: “Competing with Hollywood sounds very ambitious”

However, when it comes to budget and advertising, Hollywood is second to none. Spider-man: no way home It has cost more than 175 million eurosHowever, Father there is only one It cost almost three million. In two weeks, Spiderman managed to become the highest grossing of 2021, since it was released on 1,000 screens.

Likewise, animation produced in Spain has also entered Hollywood. Corpse Bride or Kung Fu Panda are some of the characters that have come out of a studio in Barcelona. The Grangel brothers have been creating small animated actors for 32 years that have ended up being exhibited in Hollywood. The authors have come to work alongside Ridley Scott, Tim Burton and now with Guillermo del Toro.

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Similarly, craft creativity also triumphs outside of Spain. The Peris Costumes company has been dedicated to theater, television and film costumes since 1865. In his studies everything starts with patterns, needle and thread, but technology has a great presence, since 144 cameras have been necessary to recreate the image of a model and her wardrobe. They have also produced Disney costumes, such as Cruella de Vill or Mulan.

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Perception of our cinema outside the borders

Apart from the figures and budgets, there are the great names of Spanish cinema that have marked the identity of the sector. Some of our brands are Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, recently nominated for the Oscars.

But if there is a name from the Spanish film industry that resonates in the United States, it is that of Pedro Almodóvar. He is a well-liked, respected and admired director who continues to receive awards and tributes, and for whom Hollywood has been fascinated ever since he triumphed with Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Among the actors Antonio Banderas is also one of the most popular and who opened the doors to Cruz and Bardem, who arrived later.

What is known about Spanish cinema in other countries?

find the vocation

The film industry includes many types of professionals. In Spain, close to 1,000 young people study cinema and two main schools, the ECAM in Madrid and the ESCAC in Barcelona.

Many of his students have discovered their vocation in childhood. They are aware that working in film is difficult but they have the most powerful weapon, their vocation. And in film schools they test theirs and that of others.

ECAM in Madrid and ESAC in Catalonia, the quarries of cinema in Spain

Thanks to the support of schools for student projects, many films have been successful lately. This is how projects have gone ahead with nominations and awards such as Anne, Josephine or five wolves.

Disadvantages in the film industry

From the outside, the film industry has always seemed like a world of glamour, full of red carpets, posing and grand galas. But the reality is very different on many occasions: the profession is full of uncertainties and obstacles even for familiar faces in the industry.

For long periods of time the phone stops ringing for 90% of actors and actresses. This means that many times it is difficult to make ends meet, since half of the actors earn less than 3,000 euros a year. The actor Carlos Olalla has been through this situation and it seems that his luck has finally changed in the last year, since he has a role in the next film by Dani Guzmán.

But if there is a part of the cinematographic sector that experiences great inequality, without a doubt, it is women. Although there are some changes in recent years, women in the film industry remain at a disadvantageboth economically and because of their lesser representation in some professional categories.

The gender gap persists in Spanish cinema despite the changes of recent years

Goya 2022: the festival of cinema

In this 36th edition of the Goya Awards, many of the nominated films have been supported by Radio Televisión Española. Last year, the corporation participated in 44 feature films in which it invested 16.5 million euros.

Apart from the economic contribution, this house supports Spanish cinema like every year: with the retransmission of the Goya gala. The prizes will be delivered this Saturday in Valenciawhere the last details are being prepared to celebrate the festival of cinema.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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