Budget cuts mean TVE will wind down most of its international film sales activities.

Major Spanish broadcaster TVE has had its budget stripped dramatically to the point that it can no longer invest in film projects and is likely to wind down its international film sales activities, with pre-buying TV rights the only remaining service.

The Spanish government has decided that because TVE is no longer allowed to advertise on its channels and is funded by the state, the broadcaster should not actively chase revenue through marketing and investments.

“This is a huge blow for us,” TVE’s head of film Gustavo Ferrada told ScreenDaily. “The commercial department no longer has a marketing team, so we can no longer exploit the rights of our films commercially, and we cannot co-produce films. But our intention is to continue supporting and promoting local film projects through our channels.”

TVE has invested in Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, Fernado Trueba’s The Dancer And The Thief and more recently Alex De La Iglesia’s Balada Triste De Trompeta, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and Mateo Gil’s Blackthorn, which TVE has been selling abroad, and is due to start shooting in Bolivia next month.  

In a further blow to TVE, it has also lost its film package deal with Warner Bros to rival Telecinco going forward.

This all follows a major reshuffling at TVE with the departures of both Luis Fernandez as president of the corporation and Javier Pons as the director, who was replaced by Santiago Gonzalez, former head of RNE, back in January.

The whole Spanish broadcasting industry’s investment in film is going through a major overhaul as just last week, Spanish parliament approved the General Audiovisual Communications Law, which has lowered the maximum level that private TV broadcasters are obliged to invest in film from 5% of their annual revenue to 3%, with the caveat that they invest more in independent projects. Ignasi Guardans, director general of government funded film institute ICAA, told ScreenDaily that without TV investment, the Spanish film industry might not survive.