What have you done wrong Catalonia to become an audiovisual wasteland and what has been done well Madrid to become an audiovisual powerhouse?
Without a doubt there is a terrain that Catalonia has lost and Madrid is leading that battle now. Madrid has had a economic boom important in recent years. There are those who think it is due to the capital effect, there are those who think it is due to their special relationship with Latin America… Surely there is not a single factor. While in Catalonia we have had several years of a perception of instability and of looking more inward than outward. But nothing is irreversible. I think that in Catalonia stability and an attitude clearly favorable to the investment. Catalonia has great potential in the audiovisual field and it must take advantage of it. In competition and in collaboration. One of the Government’s projects is a ‘hub’ audiovisual that it is not limited to Madrid but that it covers the whole of Spain and therefore encourages investments in Catalonia that help both its own production and the installation of foreign companies.
There will be a court for everyone who knows how to use it. The concept of European funds is to promote certain investment programs that can be presented from administrations to private companies. It will depend largely on the offers that are put on the table. But I am convinced that there will be great Catalan audiovisual projects that will succeed. Instead of lamenting what we have to do is dedicate more resources to our own production so as not to limit ourselves to being consumers of products designed from other cultural guidelines.
I am confident that when we recover from the pandemic and shake our fear, people will return to theaters.
How do you see the relationship between movie theaters and streaming platforms in the very near future?
I wish it was a happy coexistence. Watching a movie in a movie theater and watching it at home is completely different. What I would like is for everyone to go to the premieres in theaters, and that over time if they decide to enjoy that show again they will do so with a platform. We must seek the coexistence of the two sectors.
It sounds utopian.
I am one of those who think that We must not resign ourselves. The ministry has created, and was not planned, a support line for theaters because we believe that it is worth maintaining the possibility of enjoying the cinema in all its splendor. Now, in the end we depend on what people decide. I am confident that when we recover from the pandemic and shake our fear, people will return to theaters.
The book sector is an opposite case to that of the cinematographic exhibition. In 2020 it resisted very well and in 2021 it expects to have grown in turnover between 15% and 20%.
Of course, the pandemic has forced confinement and seek refuge in reading. What I hope is that it has come to stay. What costs is that a person who does not read, reads. But it is very difficult for a person who reads to stop doing it, rather he reads more and more. What we are going to try is to encourage the reader even more. We just launched a Plan to promote reading and we are making a very important investment in public libraries and also in the eBiblio e-book loan platform. We are moved by the idea that a society that reads is a better society.
If we only had the large distribution platforms, there would be authors, books and even genres that would disappear
The proliferation of small publishers and bookstores appears to have occurred under the radar and outside the ministry.
They have named it: bibliodiversity. And when things are named they cease to be ‘underground‘. The perception we have is that the idea is recovering that the bookseller is not a person who gives you what you ask for but helps you discover authors and works that you did not know. The booksellers have organized their distribution platforms in front of the big ones. Balances are being found. The booksellers sector has been able to respond. I am very happy because if we only had the large distribution platforms, there would be authors, books and even genres that would disappear.
The French Government has long campaigned in favor of independent bookstores and against distributors such as Amazon. Without going any further, he recently imposed a minimum price for the shipment of books. And the Spanish Government?
There is support, although perhaps not as capillary as in France. We try to help with the formation of booksellers and the creation of small distribution platforms. We promote congresses of booksellers and public libraries.
We must think of an integrated and plural cultural tourism offer that is not limited to Madrid and Barcelona
With the covid, the massification of the museums. Will the pre-pandemic model of museums as a tourist claim be valid again?
It will take time to return to those figures, but cultural tourism must have more and more weight. Spain is fortunate to be an open-air museum. Our problem is that we do not have enough resources to take care of all our heritage as we should. We must think of an integrated and plural offer that is not limited to Madrid and Barcelona. The country has the ability to offer invincible packages.
What do you think of the ‘case Carmen Mola‘?
I’ll stick with the good: I don’t think it’s bad news that a woman’s pseudonym helps more than a pseudonym of man.
When will we see the first real movement of the State Public Library in Barcelona, next to the França station, a project that has been going on for more than 20 years and has a budget of about 40 million euros?
In 2022 there are 1.5 million budgeted, of which 1.2 million should be used to empty the site on which to build and the remaining 300,000 to adapt the project [del despacho de arquitectura Nitidus] to new requirements. In 2023 the first stone will be laid and in 2024 it should be finished if nothing goes wrong. It should be baptized, because the State Public Library in Barcelona …
How would you baptize her?
I have my option but I reserve it for later. I can advance that I like poetry.
“As a Barcelona native, I think it is a mistake to say ‘no’ to the Hermitage”
Barcelona is not exactly a city with a poor stock of libraries. What do you want great equipment like this for?
In this I am classic. The idea of a great temple of books seems important to me. It allows many people to be accommodated, it allows a wide range of activities to be had, and it tends to radiate activities that have to do with culture and universities. It has those advantages. There is nothing sadder than an empty facility and this is never the case with libraries in Barcelona, we have to admit it. But Barcelona deserves a facility like the State Library. When we have it, we can criticize it. I would rather criticize what has already been done than the eternal delays.
The recovered cultural and scientific coca-capital of Barcelona will contribute 20 million euros to local institutions in 2022. Does coca-capital have any more subtle intention?
It is not just a pretext to give money to Barcelona but the materialization of the idea that Spain has several capitals. We are going to try to weave networks. Culture is not only identity, it is also connectivity. Synergies must be found between two cities that are competitors but also complementary and that if presented together abroad are invincible. Outside of Madrid and Barcelona, there is a feeling that what Madrid does not take, Barcelona takes, and we don’t want that either. For example, we are in negotiations to acquire the Berlanga archive, which would go to Valencia.
What do you think of the ‘no’ of the Barcelona City Council to the Hermitage project?
As a Barcelona native, I think it is a mistake. I wouldn’t add much more. I remember the campaign that the PSOE made when NATO: “From the outset, no.” Well, I think that in the face of a project of the size of the Hermitage you have to say: “Right off the bat, yes.” Then we will see. The ‘no’ has been put forward too early. It is true that there may be problems of location, communication, museum saturation … but that possibility would not have been ruled out from the outset.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.