SPAIN / Investigation into subsidy fraud

According to El País, the government has opened an investigation after discovering that several production and distribution companies have falsified ticket sales for certain films to obtain subsidies. Spanish-made films which sell 60,000 tickets (or foreign language films attracting at least 30,000 spectators) are eligible for a grant from the Ministry of Culture – up to 1.5 million euros.
Following a complaint lodged in 2012 by the INCAA (Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales), the government discovered that box office figures for some films had been artificially inflated to reach the required threshold. Among them, El País cites Bernard Rose’ “Mr. Nice”, Christian Molina’s “I want to be a soldier” and José Luis García Sánchez’ “Los muertos no se tocan, nene”, all of whose box office takings were apparently falsified. For 2012 alone 64 films are involved, receiving subsidies worth 34 million euros.
Although these examples are “isolated cases” in the words of Minister of Culture, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo, new rules allocating grants will come into force in 2016. In the past, many producers had complained of this allocation system because of the pressure it put on films to sell tickets.
Sources : El País, Screen Daily

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