Spain is becoming more attractive for international filming
Apart from the Netflix production center, other platforms are also interested
Filming in Spain has become fashionable. Series such as Game of Thrones put our country on the world map for shoots while locating our most spectacular scenery in fantasy worlds such as those described by George R.R. Martin in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, on which the US platform HBO's TV super-production is based.
Only a few days ago, the series The Crown, produced by Netflix, returned to Cadiz to shoot some scenes for its fourth season. This is the second time the series has chosen scenarios such as the military buildings of the arsenal of La Carraca in San Fernando, and the library of the University of Cadiz in the Puerto Real campus, which will be the scene for moments from the life of Elizabeth II. On this occasion the actress Gillian Anderson (The X Files) has joined the production in the role of Margaret Thatcher.
The rise and splendor of the TV platforms
Without doubt, as can be seen from the examples of HBO and Netflix, the rise and splendor of the subscription video on demand platforms has spurred this proliferation of shoots arriving in Spain. In the past it was movie productions that chose our country, with examples ranging from El Cid and Doctor Zhivago to Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Night and Day; now it is television that is choosing our scenery and giving work to our professionals.
This year, Netflix has opened its first European production center in Madrid. Shooting is already underway in Spain. In 2019 alone, the center will employ 25,000 actors, technicians and extras, nearly twice the figure employed in 2018 in the country. The platform has been producing in Spain since 2016.
New TV model
The activity of Movistar, which in this case is on home territory, may also serve as a boost to attract other major players in the industry. It is not only international productions that are putting Spain on the TV map. Thanks to the business model of the new subscription platforms, Spanish series are experiencing a golden age around the world, with examples such as La casa de papel and the youth-focused Élite, both by Netflix, and Arde Madrid and Hierro, by Movistar.
Currently, HBO Spain is already producing series in Spain on a regular basis, using directors such as Isabel Coixet and Álex de la Iglesia. Also from the U.S., the company Viacom International Studios announced on April 3 the imminent opening of a production center in Madrid, headed up by Laura Abril, to coordinate the company's expansion in Western and Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Collaboration with Spanish producers
Amazon has already premiered a documentary series on the soccer player Sergio Ramos. According to information published recently on the website hollywoodreporter.com, Amazon Originals plans to shoot a series on El Cid in Spain, with Jaime Lorente, one of the actors from Élite in the lead, in a co-production with Zebra Producciones. There are also plans for a mystery coproduction with Bambú Producciones, set in the 1940s.
Orange has also decided to make a commitment to Spain, where it has announced it is shooting its first series, a horror fiction, with the collaboration of 100 Balas from the Mediapro Studio.
Relatively low prices and salaries
In the same publication, Peter Welter Soler, who took part in the production of Game of Thrones in Spain, says that our country is an attractive market "for many reasons." He cites relatively low prices and salaries, as well as tax incentives with a payback cap that favors TV series more than feature films, and with a wide variety of geographic locations in a concentrated space.
As explained by the Spain Film Commission on its website, the tax incentives for shooting in Spain makes us "one of the most competitive destinations in the area." They are incentives that apply to Spanish producers who are responsible for the execution of a foreign production.
The Spain Film Commission is a non-profit association that collaborates with audiovisual, commercial and tourist institutions in Spain to facilitate the management of shoots in our country for producers, advising them on the finance, locations, administrative matters and services of all kinds.
Currently, tax incentives consist of a return of 20% of the taxes paid in the Iberian Peninsula (except for Navarre) and the Balearic Islands, with a maximum limit of three million euros of deduction and a minimum expense of one million euros. The amount returned in the Canary Islands is 40%, with a maximum of 5.4 million euros. In Navarre, there is an incentive of 35% in a mixed form of corporate tax return plus tax credit.