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The shooting of films and series, like the rest of the industrial and economic activity in Spain, has gradually returned to normal despite the upturn of the Covid-19

The Film Industry is Reviving

Among the most recent international shoots is SamFilm's German production of "The Young Chief Winnetou,” distributed by Warner. The film kicked off on August 12 in the Tabernas Desert in Almería, with service from the production company Fresco Film.

The filming speed has intensified once the quarantine is over at key points for the industry such as the Canary Islands. Thus, since May, the island of El Hierro has hosted the return of the filming of the second season of the series "Hierro," a co-production of Portocabo and Movistar Plus with Atlantique Production and Arte Francia.

After the resumption of "Hierro," other series such as "Sky Rojo,” produced by Álex Pina for Netflix through Vancouver Media, or Dani de la Orden's film "Mamá o Papá” (Mom or Dad) produced by Warner and Atresmedia Cine, have been shot in Tenerife.

Another international shoot takes place in Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, the fiction film "Kamikaze," by Profile Pictures, HBO Europe's first original Danish series.

"The international audiovisual sector has shielded itself against the Covid-19 to protect both the technical team and the international stars already filming here. Spain continues to be a safe country for film shoots and we are confident that next year will be definitive in facing a change of paradigm,” says Adrián Guerra, Chairman of Profilm, the association that brings together 90% of production companies developing audiovisual projects with third countries.

“Despite the high number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Spain, safety in the work environment is excellent, most infections are related to meetings with friends, family and nightlife, not in work environments where things are strictly controlled," say sources at Fresco Film, a company chaired by Peter Welter.

"As filming has returned, it has not been necessary to adjust the previously established health protocols," says Natacha Mora, coordinator of Canary Islands Film.

Titles with great potential

The revival of the film industry comes hand in hand with titles with high commercial expectations. For example, at the beginning of September, filming began in Catalonia for "Las leyes de la frontera" (The Laws of the Border) a film by Daniel Monzón ("The Kid," "Cell 211") produced by Atresmedia Cine, La Terraza Films, Ikiru Films and Las Leyes de la Frontera AIE.

Filming will take place in different Catalan locations, including Manresa, Montblanc and Costa del Garraf, over nine weeks.

Navarre, which offers a 35% deduction through tax credits thanks to its own tax system, is hosting the filming of outstanding series throughout the summer, including “The Boarding School. The Hills,” produced by Globomedia (The Mediapro Studio), Atresmedia Studios and Amazon Prime Video, and "3Caminos” (3 Paths) a co-production of Ficción Producciones, Beta Film and the Galician Government, to be aired worldwide by Amazon Prime Video, and “Ana Tramel. The Game,” co-produced by Tornasol Films, DeAPlaneta, RTVE and the German company ZDF Enterprises, has been shooting since July between Pamplona and Madrid.

Madrid has also hosted recent shoots of key productions for the television industry, such as season 5 of "Money Heist," by Vancouver for Netflix; "Los reyes de la noche" (The Kings of the Night) by Movistar Plus; "The Ministry of Time," with the participation of RTVE, HBO Spain, The Mediapro Studio and Onza, and the fictions "Deudas" (Debts) from Good Mood and “Paco’s Men," from The Mediapro Studio, both for Atresmedia.

“La Fortuna” (Fortune) by Alenjandro Amenabar, one of the most eagerly-awaited series for 2021, a co-production between Movistar Plus and AMC Studios, in collaboration with Mod Producciones, has been shooting since July in locations in the Madrid region, Cadiz, Zaragoza, Galicia and the Basque Country, before completing it in North America in 2021.

Improving incentives

The appreciable five-point improvement in May in tax incentives for international film shoots, as well as tax credits for Spanish productions, is having a positive impact on the industry's recovery.

Tax relief for international film shoots was increased from 25% to 30% for the first million euro spent in the country and 20% to 25% thereafter, bringing the tax deduction limit to 10 million euro.

Spanish productions or co-productions can be deducted 30% of the first million euro, from the deduction base, and 25% of the remaining amount, through an Economic Interest Grouping.

In the Canary Islands, the general incentive rises to 50% the first million euro and 45% for the rest of the expenditure, 20 points more than in mainland Spain, with a ceiling that would reach 18 million euro after a next regulatory adaptation.

International feature films in preparation

According to Profilm, there are several international feature films in preparation, whose shootings are located between Catalonia, the Canary Islands and Alicante. These include a production by a large American studio, with a budget for blockbuster and equipment already incorporated, which is currently shooting in Germany and plans to do so in Spain from October, five weeks of first unit and three weeks of second unit.

In addition, a small international project is also scheduled to shoot in October and three more projects are in the localization/development phase, with shooting plans for the first third of 2021.

Among the international projects of imminent confirmation -which will be divided between the Canary Islands, Andalusia and Madrid- appears a feature film for another big American studio with preparation planned for this year and shooting for next year. There is also an independent American film with preparation and shooting planned for later this year, they add in Profilm.

In the case of VFX, an increase in the demand for the service from Spanish companies developing them is also being noticed, especially thanks to the new incentives, which lowered the minimum expenditure required to access the tax advantage to 200,000 euro for animation and VFX projects.

Although Covid-19 has also affected this sector, as delays in the implementation of projects make it difficult to maintain equipment or increase hiring, - Profilm explains - "we have never been as prepared as we are now to absorb all the work coming over.”