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CINEMA

‘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.

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TAX

Online streaming giants face rise in tax to fund Spanish productions

Spain is preparing legislation that would impose a 5.0 percent tax on streaming giants like Netflix with the funds used to boost Spanish cinematic production, the government said on Friday.

Online streaming giants face rise in tax to fund Spanish productions
Founder and CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings speaks during a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 27, 2017. LLUIS GENE / AFP

The draft law, which would tax online entertainment platforms on the basis of earnings generated in Spain, seeks to bring existing legislation “in line with the reality of the market where new audiovisual players have multiplied as a result of new technologies”, an economy ministry statement said.

The reform is part of the government's Digital Spain 2025 strategy, one of whose aims is to improve the country's appeal as one of the most attractive locations for shooting films and series.

The text “extends the obligation to fund European audiovisual production to those providers offering services in Spain even if they're not based there” in a nod to platforms like Netflix, HBO, Disney and Amazon Prime Video.

“Providers with a turnover of more than 50 million euros generated from services in Spain must allocate 5.0 percent of these revenues to finance European audiovisual works or as a contribution to the Cinematography Protection Fund,” it says.

Of that amount, 70 percent must be used to finance audiovisual works by independent producers, and a minimum of 40 percent must be used to fund independent films “in any of Spain's official languages”.

For those earning under 50 million euros, that 5.0 percent can be diverted into buying the rights to finished European productions, but at least 70 percent must go towards works by independent producers.

Those earning under 10 million euros in Spain will be exempt from the proposed tax.

Global giants such as Amazon, Google and Netflix often pay very little tax in nations where they are not physically present, presenting a major challenge for many countries.

Early last month, the Spanish government gave final approval to a 3.0 percent tax on revenues generated by digital giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon which will come into effect within three months.

It will apply to all internet giants with annual global sales of over 750 million euros and 3.0 million euros in Spain.

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