Ciudad de la Luz reopens on 1 July, boosting the supply of infrastructure for the production of films and series in Spain.
On 15 March, the Valencian Regional Government (Generalitat valenciana), through the public company Sociedad de Proyectos Temáticos de la Comunidad Valenciana, announced the recovery of full control over the use of Ciudad de la Luz, a complex which until 2012 hosted the shooting of films such as “The Impossible" by J.A. Bayona, “Tetro” by Francis Ford Coppola and “Asterix at the Olympic Games” by Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann.
The president of the Valencian Regional Government, Ximo Puig, pointed out that the Valencian government had requested the removal of the restrictions that prevented the development of economic activities in Ciudad de la Luz until June 2027 and that the response from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition had been favourable.
The decision allows the complex to resume its audiovisual-related activity as of 1 July 2022. The studios operated between 2005 and 2012, the year in which the European Commission banned the Valencia Regional Government from taking over the filming of movies for violating free competition in the construction of the Ciudad de la Luz with public resources.
The Valencian Regional Government, announced a strategic plan, which will be ready before 1 July, with the aim of recovering film and audiovisual activity. Plans include the possibility of the complex becoming the headquarters of the European television channel Euronews.
On 22 March, during a debate on the Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe plan, which took place within the framework of the Malaga Festival, the news was commented on with great satisfaction by the speakers.
"I think we are at a great moment, not only because of the launch of the Spain, Audiovisual Hub of Europe plan, but also because of the opening of the Ciudad de la Luz, which is great news for the sector. We need to do everything we can to bring it back and attract more productions," explained Fernando Victoria de Lecea, founder of Meñakoz Films and president of Profilm, the association that represents 90% of the production companies that develop audiovisual projects with third countries in Spain.
Traditionally, the lack of infrastructure for international filming has been one of the Spanish industry's pending issues when it comes to competing with other territories.
"Any effort in this area is mandatory. The lifting of the punishment of the Ciudad de la Luz by the European authorities is good news. We hope that this will allow for the rapid recycling of facilities that have been closed for many years, and that it will help to diversify production centers, which is so necessary," said Carlos Rosado, president of the Spain Film Commission.
Beyond La Ciudad de la Luz, Spain has Madrid Content City in Tres Cantos (Madrid), the complex promoted by Grupo Secuoya that integrates industry and training and that since 2018 has become the first production center in Europe for Netflix.
Madrid Content City and Netflix increased the number of sets in the complex from five to 10 last year, adding new post-production facilities.
"Spain lacks large studio facilities for filming, unlike other countries such as the UK or Czech Republic, but we see that something is changing," Mike Day, CEO of Palma Pictures, said recently.
"We foresee that in the next two or three years there will be considerable infrastructure projects that will get the green light in Spain," he predicted.
The thinking among Spanish and international producers is that Ciudad de la Luz will reopen its doors just in time to meet today's burgeoning demand for production services.
The Ciudad de la Luz macro-studio in Alicante, one of the largest in Europe, includes among its features an 86,111.28 ft2 (8,000m2) water tank in which the Telecinco Cinema and Apaches film "The Impossible,” starring Naomi Watts, was partially filmed in 2012 and sold around the world.