The Spanish Producers'Federation (FAPAE) said this week it would lobby the government to block themajor studios from accessing state subsidies for local film productions.

Speaking at the Spanish FilmFestival of Malaga (April 22-30), where he laid out the production sector's toppriorities from the Socialist government, FAPAE president Pedro Perez said: "Wewill do all we can to prevent Spanish production from being overtaken byforeign companies."

He reiterated the statementlater the same day during a roundtable: "As president of FAPAE I will doeverything legally within my capacity to ensure money from public funds doesnot wind up in the hands of the majors."

In the last four years,Warner, Columbia and BVI have all begun producing in Spain. To date they havelargely co-produced with local partners, such as Columbia's successful 2004debut Say I Do (Di Que Si) withMadrid-based Zebra Producciones. However,Warner'shigh-profile Queens (Reinas),released in Spain on April 8, was made without a Spanish partner. "Right nowthere is nothing to impede Warner from accessing automatic [box office-linked]subsidies on Queens," FernandoLara, new director of the Spanish Film Institute (ICAA), commented

Ironically it was thecontroversy over Warner's involvement in French language production on lastyear's blockbuster A Very Long Engagement which led to the move last month by the French government opening localsubsidies to non-European companies.

The majors aren't Spanishproducers' only concern. Perez also insinuated broadcasters should be fined fornot fulfilling legal investment obligations in Spanish and European cinema, andrallied the government to more clearly definethe role of TV in featurefilm production. "If broadcasters wanted to produce all the films in Spain theycould do away with independent producers," Perez said. "TV's role is ultimatelyto broadcast; the producers' role is to produce."

"Broadcasters are definingthe subject matter of films," complained independent producer Mate Canteroduring the same roundtable. "If you bring them a project with a subject theydeem difficult you aren't likely to get TV backing."

Lolafilms producer AndresVicente Gomez agreed, echoing a general sentiment in Spain since this year'sCannes line-up was announced with the usual dearth of Spanish films: "Talentcan't develop and make films themselves if they could there would have beenten films the Cannes selection committee would have been happy to choose."

Agustin Almodovar supportedanother FAPAE goal to see tax breaks upped from the current unused 5% to amore attractive 20%: "Tax breaks are the best way toattract financing tofilms." Cantero added that producers would welcome a new financing system,following France's model, that would reinvest a portion of ticket sales intolocal production.