Hobbit star slams Spain’s cinema cuts

US actor Elijah Wood has criticized the Spanish Government's decision to cut state cinema funding, saying the move will destroy years of hard work.

Hobbit star slams Spain's cinema cuts
"When times are difficult, art is the last place where you should make cuts," Elijah Wood told Spain's El País newspaper. Photo: Dave Kotinsky/ Getty Images North America/AFP

"I'm shocked at how the government is ruining cinema," Wood of Lord of the Rings fame told Spain's El País newspaper recently.

"They are destroying years of work," said the 32-year-old actor who is currently in Spain to promote Spanish director Eugenio Mira's film Grand Piano. 

Wood's comments came in the wake of a recent Spanish Government announcement that it plans to slash its cinema spending by 12.4 percent to €48.2 million ($65.4 million) in 2014.

The institute's budget for 2013 is already 22.6 percent lower than that for 2012.

But Wood — who also starred in Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia's 2008 film The Oxford Murders — defended Spain's film industry

"When times are difficult, art is the last place where you should make cuts, because it helps people express themselves — it's cathartic and boosts self-esteem," said Wood, adding that film "helped form national identity".

"The cuts don't make sense to me" 

Spain has seen large falls in the numbers of both cinemas and cinema-goers in recent years.

Some 94.2 million film tickets were sold in Spain in 2012. That's down from 140.7 million in 2002. 

A rise in value-added tax on cinema tickets from 8 percent to 21 percent in 2012 has also damaged the sector, film industry officials argue.

But Spain's Budget Minister Cristóbal Montoro has dismissed those claims.

"The problems cinema is having are not only linked to subsidies, they are related to the quality of the movies that are made, their commercialization and many other things," Montoro said in a recent interview with news radio Cadena Ser.

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‘The Girls’ wins big at Spain’s live-streamed 2021 Goya awards

Pilar Palomero’s debut coming of age film ‘Girls’ was the big winner at the 2021 Goya Awards on Saturday, held via a live-streamed ceremony.

‘The Girls’ wins big at Spain's live-streamed 2021 Goya awards
Antonio Banderas presented the 35th Goya Awards with Spanish journalist María Casado. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

The Goyas, Spain’s prestigious annual film awards ceremony, was held at the Teatro del Soho CaixaBank in Málaga. It was a hybrid on-site/virtual ceremony, with no audience nor nominees attending in person.

‘The Girls’, a generation portrait of Spanish women who would now be in their 40s, swept the awards, winning best picture, best new director, best original screenplay, and best cinematography.

Nominees appeared on a large video screen in a Zoom-like setup, and winners accepted prizes from their own homes with their families, giving the ceremony a more intimate feel than usual.

Málaga-born Antonio Banderas directed the ceremony, and other big stars such as Pedro Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz, Paz Vega, and Alejandro Amenábar also made appearances to present the awards.

The non-audience format gave the ceremony, which is broadcast on TV, a larger reach than usual. Celebrities including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, and Isabelle Huppert sent in pre-recorded messages of support.

Just two days before international women’s day, gender issues featured strongly in nominated films and acceptance speeches. Women won almost as much as men, taking 12 categories, and Daniela Cajías became the first woman director of photography to win the best cinematography award for “Girls.”

In other categories, Mario Casas won best actor for “No Matarás” (Cross the Line), about a good-natured man who has an unexpectedly deadly confrontation, and Patricia López Arnaíz won best actress for her role in Ane (Ane is Missing), in which she plays a mother who investigates her daughter’s disappearance.

The Honorary Goya was awarded to actress Angela Molina, who starred in Luis Buñuel’s last film, “The Obscure Object of Desire”.

Last year, Pedro Almodóvar’s semi-autobiographical film Pain and Glory was the star of the ceremony, winning seven honours, including best picture, best director, original screenplay, and best actor for Antonio Banderas.