Spanish film-maker Angeles Gonzalez Sinde has been appointed as the new minister of culture for Spain in a radical shake-up of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’scabinet.

Gonzalez Sinde has been president of Spain’s film academy for the past two years and is a respected director and writer of local films, including the award winning Una Palabra Tuya (One Word From You), which she had been promoting on the Canary Islands until yesterday (April 6).

As part of her brief as minister for culture, she will be responsible for overseeing Spanish film law and administering the national subsidies, as well as promoting Spanish film abroad. She replaces Cesar Antonio Molina, who has held the role for two years and has now left the cabinet all together.

The move has surprised the industry but has been generally welcomed. One local producer told ScreenDaily: ‘We need someone like Gonzalez Sinde who knows the industry well and can hopefully guide us through the financial crisis.’

Zapatero, who announced the shake up today (April 7), made a number of key changes includingappointing Elena Salgado, the former minister for public administration, as the new economy minister and making Andalusian regional government president Manuel Chavesthe newdeputy prime minister.

‘Political developments and the economic situation demand a change of rhythm to confront the future with new drive and greater strength,’ Zapatero said.