Ten reasons why Spain is a favorite for big-budget productions:
Up to 70% Tax Incentives In 2020, a tax break hike catapulted Spain into the top echelon of destinations for big international shoots. Its mainland offers a competitive 30% tax rebate for the first €1 million ($1 million) of spend and 25% for further expenditure, capped at $10.1 million. In the Canary Islands, the rebates reach 50% for the first $1.1 million and 45% thereafter, with a $19.4 million ceiling. The Basque Country’s Bizkaia province looks set to offer tax breaks up to 70% beginning in 2023. One thing are these figures, another the general international industry take that the tax breaks and rebates are reliable, in contrast to someplace around the world.
A Compact Variety of Climates and Landscapes Spain boasts mountains, deserts, forests, rivers and lakes, 5,000 miles of coastline, nature parks, tropical areas, flatlands and plateaus. “The combination of its extensive and diverse location backdrops, great climate, multiple airport hubs and depth of tourism infrastructure makes Spain a premium choice for visiting producers,” says Palma Pictures CEO Mike Day. The terrain ranges from Navarre’s desert-like Bárdenas Reales, used in “Game of Thrones,” to snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains, where J.A. Bayona shot “La sociedad de la nieve” for Netflix, only 25 miles from sunny beaches.
Cost Competition for top crew talent has spiked pay rates. That said, while shooting in the U.S. and U.K. is becoming more expensive, Spanish costs still compare pretty favorably to France’s.
3,000 Hours of Annual Sunshine Most of Spain is blessed by more than 3,000 hours of sun a year. Around the Mediterranean, that equates to 200-220 days of brilliant light. “The Crown” Seasons 3, 4 and 5 shot there. “Having bursts of extraordinary sunlight and vibrancy really enriched the look of the show,” says Left Bank producer Martin Harrison.
State of the Art Studio Facilities Spain is boosting its studio infrastructure. Alicante’s Ciudad de la Luz, which includes a backlot water tank, reopened in July. Netflix has doubled to 10 itssoundstages at Secuoya’s Madrid Content City. Over the next two to three years, considerable infrastructure projects will be greenlit in Spain, Day predicts.
Talent Pool Spanish creators have exploded onto the world stage. Think “Money Heist.” Its line producers have earned their stripes on some of the biggest shoots in the world. “The talent in front of and, of course, behind the camera is one of the great competitive values of production in Spain,” says Diego Ávalos at Netflix, who highlights the “impressive” VFX of “Money Heist” and work on the chess pieces in “The Queen’s Gambit” and the costumes of “Bridgerton”— all made by Spanish talent.
Spain Audiovisual Bureau A centralized consultancy for any question regarding shooting in Spain is up and running, launched by ICEX-Invest in Spain.
Special Visas Spain has developed special regulations for shoots. For up to 90 days, no permit is required. From 90 to 180 days, a specific visa is needed but can be processed three months before the trip. “Administrative improvements such as the immigration procedures for professionals in the sector, introduced in the context of the Spain Audiovisual Hub, will be of great value for our commitment to continue investing in Spain,” says Amazon Prime Video Spain director Koro Castellano.
Heritage Sites “Spain is one of the most interesting sets in the world, not only because of its scenic beauty or its geographical richness, but also because of the diversity of its heritage and its cultural value,” says Netflix’s Ávalos. “The territory is filled with a rich history and landscapes, lending itself to incredible locations — whether a project requires mountains, seascapes, a medieval village or a vibrant city, a variety of looks and visual textures are available,” adds Superna Kalle, president of international networks at Starz.
Lifestyle Spain’s economy is largely powered by offering visitors ways to enjoy life. Downtime options abound: Bustling Spanish streets, open-air terrace dining and ample pools and beaches, all catnip for the deskbound.
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