From Terrassa’s Soon to Open Soundstages to Bizkaia’s Audiovisual Hub and Mallorca’s Green Field Project, Spain’s New Generation Studios

Variety’s Global Locations Panel Conversations kicked off Saturday with a focus on Spain in which Juan-Manuel Guimeráns, Spain Film Commission general secretary, posited a new further reason for shooting in Spain. 

Much is made of the country’s OMG locations, highlighted in “Game of Thrones,” its talent and technical prowess, and now extraordinary incentives. Now, as big international companies seek cost control and to promote sustainability, increasing attention will be paid to the Spanish industry’s ability to produce quality, cost-effective film and TV content very largely shot on a limited number of soundstages. Variety’s John Hopewell, in conversation with Guimeráns, pointed to the example of milestone series from Spain, such as “Grand Hotel,” “Velvet” and the first two parts of “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”). In the final stretches of the conversation, Guimeráns drilled down on some of key projects and recently opened studio facilities in Spain. 

Projects’ financing in some cases is public – often from European Next Generation funds –  others are backed by private capital; yet more combine both options. Details of some of Spain’s next generation studios, some being built, others at least announced:  

Ciudad De Las Tic, A Coruña (Galicia)

A virtual production studio project, targeting film and TV sectors, set near A Coruña technological park Ciudad de las TIC, which is promoted by the Provincial Council and the Galician Audiovisual Cluster. 

The studio must be built before the end of 2023, according to the conditions of the Next Generation funding with which it will be partially financed. The building will have a surface of 44,778 sq. ft with a 59.1 foot maximum height, including dressing rooms, offices and production rooms, among other facilities. 

Dreamland Studios Canarias, Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) 

Originally set in Fuerteventura Island’s Dunas de Corralejo, Dreamland Studios Canarias project moved to Telde in Gran Canaria, being greenlit by Telde local authorities. Promoted by Newport Group, the project reportedly will represent a $151 million investment  combine three soundstages – the biggest, one of 64,584 sq. feet – , postproduction services and also training infrastructures and even a theme park related to film and video games industries. Industry sources said the project is still  at “a seed-stage.”

Fuerte De San Francisco, Guadalajara (Castilla La Mancha)

Guadalajara’s 215,278 square ft. San Francisco Fort, which includes early 20th century military facilities and a 13th century church, works as a natural backlot for shoots.

Since 2017, the Castilla-La Mancha Film Commission and the Guadalajara City Council offer the facilities as a multi-location space.

Set in the southeast of the historic center of Guadalajara, the San Francisco Fort hosted shoots of Netflix “Cable Girls,” “Warrior Nun” Season 2, “Sky Rojo,” Movistar+’s “La Unidad” Season 2, Mediaset and Prime Video’s “Madres” and the Sony Pictures-distributed “Voy a pasármelo bien.” Now the partners are hoping for an investment of €8 million from Next Generation Funds to house La Ciudad del Cine de Castilla-La Mancha. 

“Currently, a specialized consultancy is detailing which value-added peripheral services could complement the current offer,” says Castilla-La Mancha Film Commission’s Mike Villanueva.

Across different stages, the partners seek to rehabilitate the military facilities and the cloister, recondition warehouses to provide complementary services for production, launch an incubator for audiovisual companies and rent out both interior and exterior spaces for period productions. Per estimations, the initiatives will be completed in five years.

Gran Canaria Platós. Las Palmas (Canary Islands)

Launched in January, the complex offers two new soundnstages, sized 19,375 sq. feet and 12,916 sq. feet, counting annexes, allowing big productions to twin locations and studio work at the same base. Backlots are sized at 26,909 sq. feet and 15,069 sq. feet, respectively. One of the soundstages will include virtual LED studio XR technology combining real and digitally generated images.

Hub Audiovisual Andaluz–Nodo Sevilla, Sevilla (Andalucía)

Last year, Seville’s city council announced a plan to build a film and TV studio complex in a pavilion at the city’s Congresses and Exhibitions Palace, also known as Fibes.

The plan, which would be financed with Next Generation funds, proposes four sets and a production area, 32,690sq. feet for production support parking, and 141,955sq. feet to be used as backlot. The project also contemplates the creation of training areas.

Imagine Green Studios. Adeje, Tenerife (Canary Islands)

According to Tenerife-based newspaper El día, Spain’s Kiss Media Group is promoting the development in the southern municipality of Adeje of Imagine Green Studios, reportedly designed by U.S. company Stone Creek.

The project, in which they have been working for three years, currently is at the study stage and pending on a technical examination for its approval by the Cabildo de Tenerife. IGS, which will host film and TV studios and a campus to train future professionals. The Studios would be operational from 2025. 

Mallorca Green Film Studios. Marratxi, Majorca (Balearic Islands)

Having recently welcomed production teams from Netflix’s “Hustle” and “The Crown” and Paramount’s “Lioness,” the challenge now for Mallorca is to complement its splendid natural landscapes with a powerful studios infrastructure.

Promoted by the Mallorca Council, the project already counts with a 107,639 sq. feet terrain given by the Marratxi town hall. It has received support from Europe. Architectural design is now out for tender.  

MGFS will consist of three buildings, one a 16,145 sq. feet floodable set, to be used as a water tank, another, a 37,674 sq. feet-53,820 sq. feet studio, with the aim of becoming one of the largest in Spain.

The Green Film Studios will also include a virtual set, backlots and a 91,493sq. feet multi-service building, with production offices, casting rooms, catering, workshops and post-production. 

“The aim is to building the studios in phases. By the end of 2024, at least phase one will be operative,” says Pedro Barbadillo, director of Mallorca Film Commission.

Park Audiovisual De Catalunya, Sant Adrià De Besòs (Catalunya)

Strategically located close to Barcelona, the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, the Park Audiovisual de Catalunya, in Terrassa, is a 538,196 square feet production center that boasts four soundstages, two backlots and multiple locations such as an old hospital from the 1950s, hosting some 30-to-60 shoots a year. It also houses more than 40 companies from the audiovisual, technology and media sectors, representing an important part of the local business engine. 

The Catalan government recently announced the expansion of the PAC, adding 64,584 square feet to incorporate new sound stages between 16,146 and 26,910 sq. feet. The government hopes that to be able to cut the ribbon on the new facilities next year. The project will form part of the Catalunya Media City, an ambitious audiovisual and video game industry hub entered in Sant Adrià de Besòs’ Tres Chimeneas area, also completing the soundstage offer.

Punta Zorrotza, Bizkaia (Basque Country)

Basque Country’s Bizkaia is developing a 1,1 million sq. feet audiovisual hub -– 215,278 of them built –  in the strategic enclave of Zorrotza, three kilometers from the Guggenheim Museum, next to the Ría.

Promoted by the Bilbao City Council, in collaboration with Bizkaia’s Provincial Council, in the coming months it will launch a tender for the facilities’ management and operation.

The area’s industrial pavilions have already hosted the filming of projects such as Netflix hits “Intimacy” and “The Platform.”

The plan is to construct a digital set, three-to-four outdoor studios, post-production spaces, offices, warehouses and dressing rooms, among other facilities.

Bilbao-Bizkaia is experiencing a moment of opportunity with the launch from January of an attractive up-to-70% deduction tax break for national and international productions, which is generating a production boom.

“In this context, the Audiovisual Hub is now a priority challenge to meet the demands of the industry,” says Agustín Atxa at Bilbao-Bizkaia Film Commission.

Toboggan Studios. Madrid, Andalucia, Navarra, Basque Country

Founded three years ago, Toboggan Studios is growing around Spain, rapidly emerging as one of the country’s leading film, TV and advertising production services companies. It operates 18 soundstages and post-production facilities throughout Madrid, Andalucia, Navarra and the Basque Country. 

One of its newest locations, following the recent tax credit approval in Bizkaia, is Plató Bilbao Toboggan, a 19,375sq. feet production center with a 8,611sq. feet soundstage in Arrigorriaga.

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