French sellers ask who will distribute Audiard, Frears, Polanski, Leigh, and Moretti in Spain following news that Alta Films faces closure.

France’s top film exporters have issued a joint statement lamenting the news that Spanish producer, distributor and exhibitor Alta Films is on the verge of closing down.

The French Film Export association (ADEF) – representing all the major French sales companies – put out a joint statement on Friday expressing their concerns.

“The French cinema industry has learnt with great emotion that one of the best film companies in Europe, Alta Films has filed for bankruptcy,” the body said in a statement.

Alta Films CEO Enrique González Macho broke the news of the company’s imminent demise in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Founded in 1976, the company has been struggling for some time but news of its closure has come as a shock at home and further afield.

“This situation is the direct consequence of the lack of political support in Spain for national and European cinema, the decision by state and private broadcasters to no longer buy auteur films, unchecked piracy and the hike in VAT to 21% from 8% on cultural goods which has dramatically reduced cinema-going at time when theatres were already in trouble,” the ADEF statement continued.

Alta’s distribution branch, Alta Classics, was a key distributor of international auteur fare in Spain.

The company said on Thursday that unreleased titles on its slate – which include US period drama Hyde Park on Hudson, Argentinian comedy Dos más dos and the recent Sundance winner, Fruitvale Station – would be given back to their sales agents.

“For more than 40 years, Alta Films has been one of Spain’s most prestigious distributors of French and European films. Who in the country will now distribute films like The Artist and The Chorus or the films of Jacques Audiard, Stephen Frears, Roman Polanski, Mike Leigh, Nanni Moretti and so many others?

“The French film exporters highlight the fragility of companies fighting for cultural diversity, wherever they are in the world, who have to contend with disastrous state policies which the French government must continue to resist,” the statement concluded.

The statement was endorsed by all of ATEF’s members which comprise: Bac Films, Celluloid Dreams, The Coproduction Office, Doc & Film  International, Elle Driver, Europacorp, Films Distribution, Gaumont, Kinology, Le Pacte, Les films du Losange, Memento Films International, MK2, Other Angle, Pathé, Premium Films, Pyramid International, Rezo Films, SND, StudioCanal, TF1 International, Urban Distribution International and Wild Bunch.