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The Network - 11/05/2010


Interview with Enrique Perez Font, President of Cines Verdi (Spain)


Enrique Perez look back over the issue of Digital Cinema in Spain, and over the topical outline in the film exhibition sector of this country : independant exhibition, piracy, dubbing situation, dominance of Hollywood films

2010_Entretien avec Enrique Perez, Président des Cines Verdi (Espagne

How many digital screens do you have?
Four in Madrid and five in Barcelona, but our plan is to have them all equipped by the end of the year. However, we won’t dismantle our 35mm projectors because we will need to show some films in that format at festivals.

Are the costs involved a huge stumbling block? Does the VPF model work?
The problem with digital now is that it is mostly an initiative of the majors, and the business models in place are only really clear for them. For the indie distributors it is a lot harder. We had to pay for all our projectors ourselves because I want to be free to show the films that I want, whether they are from the US of Nepal.

How important is digital and 3D?
Our experience of putting high definition on in 2D has been magnificent. The public is definitely becoming aware of the quality of digital.  It´s like when computers arrived and took over from type writers. But with 3D I think the films need to be seen on a giant screen like an IMAX. There is a rush to put 3D in cinemas and while some are doing a good job, others are giving 3D a bad image.

European films work in Spain? If not, why not?
In the most part no. Aside from the dominance of Hollywood films, there are too many smaller, independent/art house films that are shown in Spain which in the US would just go straight to cable. As a result the competition for space is fierce and the quality indie films find it harder to stick around.

Are there too many cinemas in Spain? Will some close?
In Spain there is double the number of cinemas it actually needs due to over expansion, especially in shopping centers. So at least half of them need to close. It must not be seen as a debacle but as a need to put the market in its place. It´s also the fault of the US distributors that have sent TV movies to be shown in Spain that haven´t even been shown in their own country. This has created false expectations that we need double the number of cinemas we actually do.

How do you promote your cinemas?
We have various festivals. We´ve got one in December at the Verdi Park that promotes Brazilian cinema, another one that highlights African cinema, there´s a real mixture of different activities that we are doing. The last thing was the festival of documentaries, which was very successful.

What do you make of the problems with piracy in Spain?
A culture has been encouraged in Spain that you can download everything in your house for free and the blame for this lies with the government. The legislation is not good enough.

What do you make of the situation with dubbing in Catalunya?
I´ve spent 22 years projecting Catalan and American films subtitled in Catalan and nothing has happened. But this new law has been done in a hurry to curry favour with a small part of the nationalist electorate and I think it´s been badly conceived and all it´s done is infuriate everybody.
Interview by Chris Evans
For more information, read the Spanish Focus in the last issue of the Network Review.