Spain's media sector came to a halt this weekend,responding to last week's terrorist attacks with the same solemnity andshock that has characterised national - and international -response to the tragedy.
Celebrities such as Pedro Almodovar and Javier Bardem wereamong the more than two million people who gathered in an anti-terroristdemonstration in Madrid on Friday night. Some eleven million people acrossSpain marched to protest the bombs set off Thursday morning on four commutertrains, killing 200 and injuring thousands more.
The images on TV looked like something out of the movies,but cinema was the last thing on anyone's mind this weekend. "Themajority of audiovisual producers in the country have curbed business activityto join in the suffering of the victims," the Spanish Producers'Federation FAPAE said on Friday.
The Las Palmas International Film Festival suspended itsopening night gala celebration on Friday. Media companies called off plannedactivities including press conferences, roundtables and casting calls. El Deseoput a halt to its frenzied promotional activities for Almodovar's Cannesopener Bad Education (La MalaEducacion), premiering in Spain March 19.
Film and TV production came to a halt, including on featurefilm shoots at Filmax (Rottweiler, Donkey Xote, Nocturna), KanZaman (H6), Tornasol (Para Que No Me Olvides), Cre-Accion (La Ultima Herida), Infinity Films (The Birthday) and others.
"We are professionals of the film industry, our job isto create dreams, invent stories and entertain, but in the face of suchabsolute evil, the only appropriate response seems to us complete andrespectful silence," was KanZaman's response.
Cinemas closed their doors Thursday evening and all dayFriday, responding to a call from the Exhibitors' and Distributors'Federations. New releases opened as planned, although Buena Vista for one saidit anticipated ticket sales on its weekend premiere, Hidalgo, to lag more than 50% behind normal expectations.
Other heavyweight premieres certain to be affected includeUIP's Along Came Polly, Columbia'sThe Missing and Warner's Alex& Emma.
TV producers called on broadcasters, most of which finallyended round-the-clock news coverage of the massacre on Friday night, not toemit previously-taped programs. Nonetheless, Telecinco's Thursday nightfamily series Los Serrano was thesecond-most watched program of the week.
Three days of national mourning were called followingThursday's tragedy while political candidates cancelled campaigning inthe final countdown to the country's general elections on Sunday. Butconfusion and anger over who was responsible for the attacks brought peopleback out onto the streets and politicians back onto TV screens incriss-crossing messages on Saturday night, seemingly contributing to the election upset which saw the Socialists take power from the ruling Partido Popular.