Spanish mini-studio Filmax is expanding its Barcelona-based activities with plans for a new, integrated hub in the northwest Galicia region.

The company has appointed former TV producer Xose Manuel Barreira new general manager to oversee activities in the region, where Filmax Animation and part-owned animation factory Bren Entertainment are currently headquartered.

"Galicia is our second production centre," says Filmax CEO and Galicia native Julio Fernandez. "With this new window we aim to repeat the example of what we have created in Catalonia," including growing production and distribution activities. Exhibition division Filmax Pictures may also be stationed in Galicia, where the company is building two new multiplexes.

Productions in the region may be set up as 100% Filmax or as co-productions with local companies, a handful of whom Barreira says have already called to pitch projects. "There is a lot of talent in Galicia and we want to help local film projects grow in dimension and reach an international market," he says.

The company also hopes to attract international talents to shoot in the region, as it has done in Catalonia with Brad Anderson's Barcelona-shot The Machinist (in Berlin's Panorama) and the US-imported talents behind its Fantastic Factory films. Barreira adds that Galicia can be a good launching pad into the Portuguese and Brazilian markets.

Not coincidentally, Galicia's regional government became a minority shareholder in Filmax last September through investment fund XesGalicia, also a partner in Bren. Fernandez cites as additional incentives the regional government subsidies for film and TV product, support from local broadcaster TVG and European aides for companies setting up shop in the economically-depressed region.