In today’s society, the audiovisual industry is the main source of information, leisure and culture. In this sector, filmmaking plays a significant role by adding images to a people’s culture and conveying, at the same time, values and traditions.
Cinema is undoubtedly the channel that the director uses to express a feeling, an idea, or to try and influence the spectator. Therefore, cinema’s evolution is nothing more than the reflection of society’s evolution at each moment of time and of the way the director has been influenced by events.
Audiovisual progress is one of the features defining modernity throughout Europe. All of the elements making up the sector, not only generate a great volume of business and direct and indirect employment, but also help to create the different communities’ own culture, while promoting their development.
During its more than one hundred years of history, Spanish cinema has experienced a notably progressive transformation. From being an almost insignificant industry, it is now the fourth European country in the film production ranking, after France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Spanish feature films have attained much higher percentages than those of the eighties and nineties, as regards screening share, box-office takings and tickets sold. Although such figures are still lower than other European countries such as France, Spanish cinema is now undoubtedly a consolidated industry, featuring a wide range of themes, genres and styles.
On the other hand, Spanish cinema is closely linked to the European and Latin American film industries, as shown by the high rate of annual co-productions with these and other countries.
Galicia has a lot to say in the history of Spanish cinema. This is the case not only due to its filmmakers’ contribution to all of the industry’s different fields, but also to its widespread use as a filming location in a great variety of national films. Naturally, in order to have a clear vision of filmmaking in Galicia, it is worth taking into account the evolution of Spanish cinema, since the State’s socio-economic, political and geographical aspects have always been a determining factor in Galicia’s cinematographic development.
During the eighties and early nineties, Galicia was behind other historical regions as regards the number of films being made. For the industry as a whole, Galicia was a very attractive location. However the production companies that arose at that time were modest or even family-based; i.e. companies with little capital, with little or no capacity for accessing interior or exterior markets and, in most cases, dependent on exterior resources.
Despite these obstacles, Galician filmmaking began to experience continuous growth in the nineties. This has turned it into an example of professionalism, technological innovation and maturity, to the extent that more than 30% of Galician production companies were created after 1995. Likewise, the products made in the last fifteen years reflect an enriching heterogeneity and important progress in commanding the medium’s language. The Animated Forest, by the Dygra production company, to cite an example, was Europe’s first digitally animated film.
Galicia’s audiovisual market has now reached a decisive moment in its evolution. After numerous technological and structural transformations, the sector has become one of the region’s basic pillars of economic and cultural development.
Now, the great challenge consists in promoting awareness of Galicia beyond its borders and consolidating the sector, in order to be capable of making between eight and ten feature films per year. The progressive increase in the audiovisual sector’s budget within the Directorate General for Audiovisual Communication, as well as the agreements reached between Galician Television and the Galician Association of Independent Producers, in relation to making audiovisual projects in the following years, and the implementation of the European programme Media Plus (2001-2005) are laying the groundwork to make this dream possible.