Hobbit star slams Spain’s cinema cuts

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
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.

"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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