New plans are underway to build studio and production centres in both Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain is already gearing up for the opening this summer of sections of the massive City of Light (Ciudad de la Luz) studio complex in Alicante. Whereas City of Light will target international productions, the smaller initiatives in Madrid and Barcelona - the main hubs of the Spanish industry - are targeted more at local companies.

The Madrid project, the brainchild of Tornasol Films chief Gerardo Herrero, envisions bringing together producers, laboratories, auxiliary services and four to five newly-constructed soundstages into one concentrated area on the outskirts of Madrid.

"The idea is to synchronise and facilitate production by forging a place where the Spanish industry can be concentrated and where we can finally have studios that are accessible to and tailored for local feature films, TV movies and series," Herrero says.

He adds that several leading producers have expressed interest in becoming investing partners. The regional government of Madrid, which recently supported the launch of the Madrid Film Commission, is also likely to back the project, which is in early stages of planning for a potential 2005 construction start-date.

Meanwhile in Barcelona, MediaPro has joined with the local government and the Pompeu Fabra University to construct Parc Barcelona Media in the heart of the city. An estimated Euros 80m is being invested to raise the complex for a 2006 opening.

Aside from training centres, Parc Barcelona Media will house 12,000 square meters of production space, including soundstages and post-production facilities, and an additional 12,000 square meters of office space for media companies.

Neither project compares in magnitude to the Euros 300m-plus investment and 800,000 square meters of the City of Light complex, backed by the Valencian regional government, which aims to open at least six of its planned 10 soundstages by September and begin offering services to international productions by January 2005.