The Spanish film industry is going aggressively out into the world for the same reason as the Spanish navy sailed out half a millennium ago. The home economy is cash-strapped and the home market isn't big enough.
Ironically, the film industry's current plight is partly brought about by
the imperial agenda of the old navy. Films produced in Spain are dwarfed by those made in Spain's former colonies in Latin America. Rahul Sen, executive director of the Spanish film festival in India, says, "I've heard so many producers say, 'We can't compete with the sheer number of Latin American films year after year'."
It's about quality too, says Indranil Chakravarty, professor of film appreciation at Mumbai's Whistling Woods. "The creative vitality of LatAm cinema far supersedes that of Spanish cinema." And both sides see India as a big market for production and screening.
As a result Spanish-language films have found a market here. Sen says more than a third of the Spanish productions screened at the annual fest are snapped up by PVR, Alliance Media and UTV. Latin American producers, too, have tasted success through such festivals.
This week, the fight back by the newly-colonial - read 'purely Spanish' - producers has given Delhi's film lovers a reason to celebrate.
@ Stein Auditorium, Habitat Centre, and Instituto Cervantes, Hanuman Road, evenings of March 28-April 3.
Call 2601-1430/32 for free passes