Leading Spanish distributor, exhibitor and producer Alta Films is facing closure, according to CEO Enrique González Macho.
“We have reached a point of no return,” Macho told Spanish newspaper El País.
“We’ve come this far, but people have stopped going to the movies, DVD is ruined and the broadcasters -particularly our public broadcaster - are no longer supporting Spanish cinema or art house in general.”
Alta Films, founded in 1976, has been struggling but news of an imminent closure has come as a shock to the Spanish market, while 39 employees are facing redundancy.
Macho added that the rise of VAT on tickets to 21% - up from 8% - has hit cinema hard.
The exhibition business, through Renoir cinemas, has been steadily decreasing over recent months from 200 screens to just 20.
Enrique González Kuhn, head of Alta Films, told ScreenDaily: “We will shut unless a miracle occurs. The Government has done nothing about piracy and broadcasters just don’t buy European cinema. I am sure there may be an audience - or maybe there is simply no interest”.
Its distribution branch, Alta Classics, has brought international films to Spain from directors including Woody Allen, Michael Haneke, Mike Leigh, Steven Soderbergh and Roman Polanski.
González Kuhn says that films Alta has acquired that have yet to open will be given back to the sales agents as “usually happens in these cases”.
Such titles include US period drama Hyde Park on Hudson, Argentinian comedy Dos más dos and the recent Sundance winner, Fruitvale Station.
“This is the end of an era”, says Miguel Morales from Spanish distributor Wanda Vision.
“It’s very sad news for everybody. It is good when our competitors are doing well. This shows that we are facing a very difficult situation, on that we all hope we will get through”.