On Friday, December 4, the Council of Ministers approved the new Royal Decree-Law 1084/2015, amending the Act 55/2007, of December 28, of the Cinema. Overall, the new rule is intended to supplement and give greater legal certainty to the audiovisual sector regulation, which is characterized by constant alterations and subsequent adaptation to social and technological changes.

Audiovisual works financing

Firstly, the model variation of the audiovisual works financing should be noted, as ex-post aids under the previous legislation were replaced by ex-ante grants. In this sense, as a rule of thumb, aids granted may not exceed the 50% of the recognized costs (which includes production cost, preservation and exhibition copies costs, marketing and financial costs and audit). However, the percentage may be surpassed in particular cases.

In this regard, the concept of “difficult audiovisual work” is detailed, relevant in determining the maximum amount of eligible subsidy. Thus, a "difficult audiovisual work" includes, on the one hand, works directed by a new director and with budget of less than 300,000 euros, for which the aid may not exceed the 70%. As well, short-films are also considered "difficult works", with a maximum set at 75%. Finally, the works filmed on a different co-official language other than Spanish are also included, in which case the amount of the grant may not exceed the 65%.

Moreover, in cases of cross-border productions funded by more than one Member State of the European Union with the participation of European producers of different nationalities, the 50% limit mentioned in the second paragraph can be extended to the 60%.

The procedure for obtaining a certificate of Spanish nationality of audiovisual works is also regulated, underlining the need of the certificate in order to access to funds described above.

Rating of the audiovisual works by age

The rating of audiovisual works by age is also modified: on one hand, the qualification needs to be obtained before the commercialization or dissemination of the audiovisual work; and on the other hand, a unique rating system for distribution regardless of the medium used is established. In addition, “not recommended for children under 13” category has been deleted and new “under 16” and “under 12” ratings are introduced.

Release windows

Another important development comprises the removal of the release windows of audiovisual works; so far, a period of time between the display of the works in cinemas and its exploitation in other formats was required. The new measure breaks with the scheme in force until now, which conditioned the granting of aids to the non-commercialization of audiovisual works in audiovisual media for 3 months after the premiere in theaters. With the amendment, a release of a motion picture is possible in any format chosen by the producer. However, the granting of an aid will be conditioned upon the commercialization of the motion picture in the cinemas in first place.

Co-productions

Finally, in case of aids for co-productions with minor Spanish economic participation, effective participation of the staff should be proportional to said economic participation. In any case, in order to be eligible for the grants, it is reiterated that the coproduction project requests, which are approved by the Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts Institute, must take place before the start of filming.