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The Audio-visual industry and international productions, a path to global collaboration and economic revival

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Andersen in Spain organises a webinar in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Film Commission, the Spain Film Commission, and the Miami Media & Film Market of CAMACOL (Latin American Chamber of Commerce USA), to discuss the audio-visual industry

The audio-visual sector has now become a clear example of a globalised industry, involving many actors from an international perspective. In this context, audio-visual production has become a fundamental tool for economic reactivation, which has led many countries, particularly at the European level, to develop and implement policies to attract international productions within the region, thus contributing to this recovery.

These issues were addressed at the International Meeting between American and Spanish producers 'Media: Globalisation of the Industry', organised by Andersen in Spain with the aim of facilitating cooperation between the two countries and, ultimately, the integration of the various markets that play a role in this scenario.

The event featured both Spanish and American experts, who explained the current situation of the sector, as well as their own experiences in the field and in international productions. Speakers included Patricia Motilla, Partner at Andersen and Coordinator of Andersen's European Media Group; Miguel Lilly, Associate at Andersen; Patty Arias, Co-founder and Chief Executive of the Miami Media Film Market (MMFM); Teresa Azcona, Vice President of the Spain Film Commission; Sandy Lighterman, Commissioner of the Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment; Matthew Stein, Producer at M. E.S. Productions; José Manuel González-Pacheco, General Director of Gestion Secuoya Studios; and José Luis Martínez, Co-founder and Creative Director of MMFM.

For years, the production sector in Spain has been working to make the country a successful and recognised brand for the audio-visual sector worldwide. As Teresa Azcona explained, Spain is an extremely attractive territory for filming and has been used to simulate places as different as Australia, Afghanistan, Russia, among many others. From Lawrence of Arabia to Star Wars or Game of Thrones. "We have been chosen for the magnificent locations, the professionals and the services we offer," he explained.

He explained that the Spain Film Commission has also been working with the Government on the fiscal impact and, "despite the tax increase for foreign productions last May, a new plan has recently been approved that will allow us to take production further".

Specifically on the tax deductions for producers who decide to use Spain as a backdrop, Patricia Motilla explained that there are two options when it comes to filming in Spain. On the one hand, to carry out an international co-production or to organise the investment as a foreign show in Spain, which will therefore be considered American. In the case of a co-production, it must comply with a series of regulatory requirements to be approved by the Ministry of Culture.

As for possible tax reductions for foreign productions, according to Patricia Motilla, it will depend on the location of the filming. If it takes place in the Canary Islands, there is a refundable reduction of approximately 50% of the first million of eligible expenses in the deductible base and 45% thereafter - with a minimum of 1 million euros of expenditure (or 200,000 in the case of animation) if the total cost of the production reaches 2 million euros. If the shooting takes place on the mainland, the deduction is 30% on the first million of eligible expenses, 25% on the excess - the Basque Country and Navarre also offer interesting deductions, but no monetisation.

From the perspective of the United States, and specifically from Miami, Sandy Lighterman explained that, although there is no law, they are working on it and from Florida there are local programmes that have been running for several years that, among other things, require filming at least 70% of the production in Miami-Dade County, and making a certain level of expenditure, of which a part will be returned. As for what it means to shoot in Florida, the Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment highlighted the versatility of the locations, which have allowed them to be used over time as the backdrop for landscapes in Afghanistan, Cuba and other US territories.

Regarding the scenario in which the audio-visual sector operates, when it comes to laying the foundations for possible cooperation between the US and Spain, several examples were offered in which the US has sought out Spanish directors, producers or screenwriters to make films from a different perspective. Los Otros and Darkness are examples of extraordinarily successful productions directed by Spaniards, "examples of how a film in the hands of a certain director is what makes it that particular production", explained Matthew Stein.

With these basic elements, regardless of the type of production that is chosen, from José Manuel González-Pacheco's perspective, it is essential, above all, to have a collaborative approach, on a national and international level, which must be extended to the Government, to the Film Commissions, to other producers, services, post-production companies, etc. that may have interesting projects for Spain and vice versa, all in order to be able to continue opening the way within the audio-visual industry, in Spain and beyond its borders.

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