The plank had not yet resonated, but the constant light of Alicante and the air of the sea already circulated through the enormous clusters that had been closed for a long time. Five years ago, the City of Light served her sentence. A ruling by the General Court of the European Union declared illegal in 2014 the €274 million contribution to the pool by Generalitat Valenciana, considering it to be state aid in contravention of competition regulations. The result was the forced closure of the facilities and the prohibition of any economic activity in them, not to mention cinematography, until 2027.
“In Spain, I saw the best studio in the world and it was empty. It couldn’t be used. It was crazy. If they rented it, they would include it all.” These are the words of Ridley Scott. He introduced them to an interview a few years ago. boss alien He did not know to what extent the management of the project by the Zaplana government advocated the revitalization of the deteriorating economy of Alicante and the errors that led to its long abandonment were insane.
“In Spain, I saw the best studio in the world and it was empty. It couldn’t be used. It was crazy. If they rented it, they would include it all.” It’s Ridley Scott’s words
But long negotiations lowered the term, and since last July 1, large production groups have been like the impossible also Asterix at the Olympics They are legally open to welcoming this extraordinary blend of fiction and business, the dream factory that the word Hollywood sums up so succinctly, evocatively and, in a more realistic way, we know as the audiovisual industry.
A report by the regional government expects to capture about 222 audiovisual productions within five years, of which 26, at least, will be medium and large-scale cinema productions. Generalitat Valenciana will invest 2.4 million euros in adapting the studies again. But the investment that the production companies will make will reach 850 million euros within five years. That will be, if expectations are met.
Antonio Rhodes has no doubts. “We start from historical data for the first stage, when productions were also in smaller quantities, so we are sure that expectations will be met.” The wisdom that this kind of negotiation requires prevents him from naming names, but assures that “soon” it will be possible to announce the first three shoots, all with a high budget. “These studios can only achieve profitability through large productions,” he says. “These three shoots alone will create 1,200 jobs for us,” he adds. Rhodes is the General Director of the Thematic Projects Association, a public entity that runs the complex created by Luis García Berlanga.
In the field of work, the aforementioned report calculates the signing of 4,900 direct contracts in the Valencian region related to photography, and about 22,800 contracts in the services sector related to the activity generated by the complex, in addition to 1,430,000 hotel accommodations. “A great movie brings in 600 people and 300 more work here,” Rhodes says. The carpentry, the make-up, the decor, the audio camera assistants… “It’s impressive what this industry generates; you only need to multiply all these people in six or seven months of continuous filming, to calculate the impact on the city, in restaurants, in the hotel overnight Overnight stay…”.
“These studios can only achieve profitability through large productions,” says Antonio Rhodes.
This effect is measured in economic terms. Suppose the complex has a production budget of 100 million euros. The usual thing is that between 30 and 40% is spent in the city where it was filmed. Of that number, 5 or 5%, roughly 2 or 3 million remain in school.
Although proper maintenance allowed the equipment and all auxiliary buildings to be in good condition, some improvements would be made to adapt them to the latest industry requirements. City of Light closed nearly ten years ago, demand for films grew 30%, but demand for TV series increased 200% due to the success of the new platforms. “The spread of the pandemic has increased demand,” Rhodes explains.
“The logical thing could be to outsource management, but that’s what was done in the first phase, and it ended up like it did: with financial ruin and shutdown by Europe.” So the idea is to “take the first months, max one year, to produce the first production, check the studies at the same time, and we’re already doing a technical audit, deciding whether to continue with general management or outsourcing; we’d rather the practice tell us “.
The management company explains that its role is to remain in “the first link in the chain”. This means having a customer service department – communicating with producers – at a minimum call centerAnd a legal and financial support team that oversees contracts and invoices. “What we won’t get into is everything else: industrial services, production, post-production…what the producers do, we’ll rent them the spaces to do it there,” Rhodes continues.
Says Rhodes, who advocates not giving up leadership until he sees how it works in general
At the moment, two sets are already in excellent magazine condition. The other four were used for a few months to receive Ukrainian refugees, but steps are already being taken to find alternative sites and release one or two more in September and the rest two months later. In any case, the first sound is expected to be “Action! Resound before the end of 2022.
Berlanga’s original project was associated with a film school that, like the entire group, had a short existence. In its old facilities today is the Alicante delegation of the independent radio and television station À Punt and a handful of companies belonging to the so-called digital zone. But the new city of light does not forget about training.
“These studios are the best in Europe in terms of quality and standards, Alicante has the best conditions in terms of electricity, infrastructure, communications, hotel facilities and gastronomy… But when making a decision, the production company needs professional support for textiles and crafts related to film and television; something remains of what has been done done in his day, thanks Fscience officebut the film school must be grouped together to nourish this fabric, but the model will be different, linked for example to vocational training, where specific courses are designed with students tanning in different buds,” concludes Rhodes.