Spanish Locations Most In Demand By Major International Productions

Emiliano de Pablos
14 February 2023

Their appeal includes increasingly competitive tax incentives

Spain has a long tradition of major international filming. More recently, the sector has undergone a renaissance. Productions such as Wrath of the Titans, Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, and The Crown, among many others, have chosen our country as a destination. 

The key factors for this attraction undoubtedly include internationally-competitive tax incentives. Productions also have access to the increasingly recognized local talent and technical skills, the transport network, hotels, restaurants and a huge variety of landscapes and locations that can be utilized intensively due to the large number of daylight hours available in the country.

Thanks to the Spain Film Commission and its network of more than 40 film commissions and film offices throughout the country, the projects have access to iconic locations that will remain in the memory of viewers from all over the world.

This is a summary of the most iconic shootings, both past and present:

*Castile-Leon. Destination in the 1950s for some of the most important filming for Hollywood in Spain. Just an hour from Madrid, four of its cities have been declared World Heritage Sites. Recently, El Cid, produced by Izán Producciones for Prime Video, was filmed in Burgos. The Ermita de San Frutos in Segovia hosted the partial filming of Money Heist, while Alejandro Amenábar filmed in Salamanca his hit produced by Mod for Movistar Plus Cuando acabe la guerra.

*Catalonia. Since the 1950s, the region has hosted international film shoots such as Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, The Passenger, and Game of Thrones. The most recent productions: the film Uncharted by Tom Holland and Alcarràs, by Carla Simón, Golden Bear at the Berlinale 2022. Other new titles include Prison 77 by Alberto Rodríguez and La Maternal by Pilar Palomero.

*Chinchón. One of the most recent major international shoots is Asteroid City, a film by Wes Anderson, which was produced by Meñakoz, headed by Fernando Victoria de Lecea. Chinchón was visited by Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Margott Robbie, the film's stars, which joins an impressive list of classic film titles such as The Magnificent Showman, Around the World in 80 Days, King of Kings, and The Magnificent Seven, which also left their mark there.

*Extremadura. This region has achieved great international popularity after the filming there, especially in the city of Cáceres, of Game of Thrones and later its spin-off House of the Dragon. Netflix and Diagonal TV also filmed the hit La Catedral del Mar there, while Prime Video and RTVE filmed Hernán and Inés del Alma Mía, respectively.

*Canary Islands. One of the main destinations for major international film shoots, driven in part by the tax incentives (45%-50% reimbursement of expenses incurred on the island for each shoot) which are among the most attractive in Europe. On the island of Tenerife, locations such as Llano de Ucanca and Minas de San José, in the Teide National Park, were the setting for Wrath of the Titans. Eternals was shot at Cuervo Volcano in Lanzarote. Juan ‘Nono’ Cano, leader of Tenerife-based Sur-Film has provided production services for other major North American titles such as Jason Bourne 5, Fast & Furious 6, and more recently The Witcher and Foundation.

*Madrid. Netflix created its first European production hub in Tres Cantos, near the capital, from where it produced the famous Money Heist; the series that helped unleash the fever for Spanish fiction around the world. The capital offers locations such as Gran Vía and Plaza de Callao and Cibeles, used in Telecinco Cinema’s Way Down, and its versatility has allowed it to be Mexico in Terminator: Dark Fate, New York in Soulmates, Buenos Aires in Dime quién soy, and Moscow in From the Cold. The Community of Madrid offers natural settings such as the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, Aranjuez, and San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

*Malaga. The Old Provincial Prison of Malaga hosted the filming of the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror, while the Botanical Garden of La Concepcion was the natural set for the hit The Crown that Left Bank and Sony produce for Netflix. With its wide range of locations, Malaga and the Costa del Sol continue to be a consistent destination for Spanish and international production.

*Mallorca. Headquarters of Palma Pictures, one of the most active service companies in supporting major international projects in Spain, the island of Mallorca has hosted The Crown and White Lines, both from Netflix, as well as The Mallorca Files and films such as The Hustle and The Belly of the Sea.

*Seville. The iconic Plaza de España can be seen in Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. The Real Alcázar hosted Game of Thrones, La Peste, Movistar Plus’ first original series produced by Atípica Films and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, among others.

*Tabernas. The province of Almeria is home to Europe’s main desert, in whose arid landscapes the ‘spaghetti western’ phenomenon exploded in the 1960s, thanks to legendary artists such as Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, and Ennio Morricone, with titles such as A Fistful of Dollars, The Price of Death, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It also hosted the filming of the mythical Lawrence of Arabia and more recently Game of Thrones, Exodus: Gods and Kings and The Crown.

*Biscay. Titles such as Prime Video’s Boundless, and the first Disney Plus series in Spain, Balenciaga, have emerged in the Basque province since 2014. It has also hosted Atresmedia’s production Presunto culpable and Netflix’s Spanish-language global hit The Platform. Another local production that triumphed internationally thanks to this streamer, the series Intimacy, is set in Bilbao, the capital of Biscay, whose Guggenheim Museum once hosted the filming of The World Is Not Enough, from the James Bond saga. But Biscay’s greatest international relevance has come with the choice of the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe for the setting Dragonstone in Game of Thrones, generating an important tourist boom in the area.


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