Controversy surrounding the Spanish government's draft for a new film law heated up Wednesday following strong criticism by the the local exhibitors' federation FECE.

FECE accused the current bill of catering to the interests of producers 'who live off public subsidies and indirect subidies (at exhibitors' expense) destined for a cinema that holds no interest for the public.'

'The exhibition sector will not accept a new imposition of the screen quota' of one European film for every three non-European, FECE declared, suggesting exhibitors have seen revenues drop over the last six years by more than ($1.3bn) Euros 1bn as a consequence of the quota.

The draft revisions to the law governing the film industry have already suffered setbacks following equally strong criticism from the television sector, up in arms over a proposed 1% increase to their already controversial 5% investment obligation in European cinema, and distributors' lobby FEDICINE.

Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, Spain 's vice president, told news agency EFE over the weekend that the government would take some extra time to try and achieve consensus among sectors before pushing the bill forward. Culture Minister Carmen Calvo had said earlier this month that the definitive text of the new law would be ready by April.

The private broadcasters' lobby UTECA has repeatedly denounced the bill, calling the investment obligation 'absolutely anti-natural and anti-competitive... it makes no sense to require one business sector to finance another.'

On Wednesday, FECE accused the government of refusing to meet with exhibitors to negotiate key aspects of the new law and said the current bill includes none of the recommendations proposed by the exhibition sector, such as a regulation of exploitation windows. FECE won a landmark lawsuit in Spain last year against five Hollywood studios accused of unfair practices such as price-fixing.