Filming in Madrid recovered rapidly after last year’s lockdown
The Madrid Film Office remained active, assisting 266 productions and participating in 9 markets and festivals
The heavy demand for content and the efficient way the audiovisual sector adapted its safety protocols in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been determining factors in the rapid recovery of filming in the city of Madrid since the State of Alarm was lifted at the end of June 2020. As a result, during the second half of 2020, the number of applications matched and sometimes even exceeded those of the same period of 2019. In July, applications for announced activities increased by 14.1% compared to the same month in 2019, while similar numbers were reported the following months and they were exceeded once again in December, this time by 21.4% Meanwhile, applications for permits to occupy the public highway gradually increased until September when they were 2.5% higher than in the same month of the previous year.
Throughout 2020, the Madrid City Council processed 8,247 applications to film on public roads through the Filming Authorisations Department, which represents a decrease of 39.8% with respect to the overall amount for 2019 due to the complete halt of filming during the three months of lockdown imposed by the State of Alarm. Of the processed applications, 31% were permits to occupy public roads (2,557 applications), corresponding to 537 different projects which generated revenue of 233,632 Euro in municipal fees. The remaining 69% of the applications (5,690 applications) were free of charge announced activities for small teams.
In terms of project types, advertising productions took first place with 21% of all permit applications in 2020 (1,724 applications). TV shows were in second place with 16% of all applications (1,304) and the third slot was for series, with 14% (1,142). Short films and feature films come next with 11% (946) and 6% (494) of the applications, respectively.
As for the territorial distribution of the filming, during 2020 the Centro district once again accounted for a highly significant part of the shootings that were carried out within the municipality, with 37,1% of applications, followed by such districts as Retiro (10.6%), Moncloa-Aravaca (8.3%), Salamanca (6.2%) and Chamberí (5.6%).
A major commitment to the production of series
The balance of shootings in 2020 reflects how Madrid has established itself as a reference centre for the production of content in the last few years, especially fiction series. Throughout 2020, the city hosted the filming of 55 different series, which despite the healthcare crisis is in fact only an 18% decrease with respect to 2019 which was a record year with no less than 66 series. This high level of production is thanks to the increasing investment by both national and international platforms and networks.
Series shot in Madrid in 2020 include outstanding new projects with an international projection such as La Fortuna, the first series by Alejandro Amenábar, produced by Mod Pictures for Movistar+ and AMC Studios; Parot, produced by Onza Entertainment, ViacomCBS International Studios and RTVE for Amazon Prime; Ana Tramel, produced by Tornasol Films with DeAplaneta for RTVE and ZDF Enterprises; and the final shooting of the international series Soulmates, produced by AMC Studios and Fearless Minds with the support in Spain of Fresco Film.
In 2020, the city’s streets also hosted the shooting of new series such as Veneno (Suma Latina and Apache Films for Atresmedia), Debts (GoodMood for Atresmedia), Maricón Perdido (El Terrat and WarnerMedia for TNT), HIT (Grupo Ganga for RTVE) and One Way or Another (Globomedia and Lacoproductora for HBO). There were also new series for Netflix such as Jaguar (Bambú Producciones) and The Time It Takes (Corte y Confección de Películas) as well as new seasons of such successes as Money Heist (Vancouver Media), Elite (Zeta Ficción TV) and Valeria (Plano a Plano). Other noteworthy series that have recorded new seasons in the city are Little Coincidences (Onza for Amazon Prime), I’m Alive (Globomedia for RTVE), SKAM (Zeppelin TV for Movistar+) and The Ministry of Time (Onza Partners and Cliffhanger for RTVE and HBO).
Madrid as a film set
26 fiction films were shot in the streets of Madrid during 2020, which is a decrease of 26% with respect to the 35 that were shot the year before. After the lockdown, filming resumed for Official Competition (The Mediapro Studios), codirected by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat and starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, as well as for Grandmother (Apache Films) by Paco Plaza and The Cover by Secun de la Rosa. Among the first films shot after the lockdown in Madrid, we should mention Ignacio Tatay’s debut as a director, The Other House (Pokepsie Films), the second films by Daniel Guzmán, The Great Lie (La Canica Films, El Niño P.C. and Movistar+), and Arantxa Echevarría’s The Perfect Family (Lazona Producciones and Atresmedia Cine), as well as the new film by Fernando León de Aranoa, The Good Boss (Reposado PC and The Mediapro Studio). Towards the end of the year, filming began for A Thousand Kilometres from Christmas (produced by Nadie es Perfecto), Netflix’s first Spanish Christmas film, and You have to come and see her (Los Ilusos Films), the new film by Jonás Trueba.
Advertising and TV shows
As far as advertising is concerned, the City Council has processed permits to occupy the public highway for 229 advertisements and 34 photographic reports. The city has been the setting for campaigns by such brands as Adidas, Aguila Amstel, Alhambra, Amena, Amstel, Audi, Axe, Bankia, BBVA, Beefeater, Burger King, Cabify, Caixabank, Campofrío, Citröen, Coca Cola, El Corte Inglés, Estrella Galicia, Ford, Foster’s Hollywood, Heineken, Iberdrola, Ikea, Jazztel, Kia, La Caixa, Larios, Leroy Merlin, Lidl , Mahou, McDonalds, Mercedes, Movistar, Nescafé, Once, Plátano Canarias, Renault, Repsol, Ruavieja, Samsung, Schweppes, Subaru, Telepizza, Toyota, Vodafone, Volkswagen, Zalando and Zara.
In addition, during 2020, a total of 78 entertainment programmes and TV broadcasts requested a permit to occupy the public highway. Among the entertainment shows filmed in the city are such popular titles as MasterChef, MasterChef Junior and Maestros de la Costura (RTVE’s version of The Great British Sewing Bee), El Hormiguero, Dónde Estabas Entonces and Road Trip (Atresmedia), Got Talent (Mediaset), Ilustres Ignorantes and Radio Gaga (Movistar+) and Desmontando Madrid (Telemadrid).
Activity of City of Madrid Film Office during 2020
The City of Madrid Film Office, the municipal office for the promotion of and support for film shootings of the City Council of Madrid, assisted 266 productions with information and advice on location scouting, help in processing permits to film on the public highway, coordination with different departments of the City Council and mediation with other administrations and institutions. These include 42 series, 16 films, 21 commercials and 41 television programmes. It also centralised applications for the Aplaude Plan, an initiative to make cultural spaces in the city available free of charge from July to December 2020, one of the measures taken to recover filming in the city promoted by the Department of Culture, Tourism and Sport.
With regard to promotional activities, in 2020 it participated in 9 audiovisual festivals and markets, 5 of which were international and 4 national. It attended Fitur Screen and the European Film Market-Berlinale, where a promotional action for Madrid was carried out which included the presentation of Way Down, a super-production filmed in the city and declared of municipal interest. It also took part in a virtual way in the Marché du Film, the American Film Market, Ventana Sur and Focus London, and in a hybrid format in the Cinemad Window, Conecta Fiction and the San Sebastián International Film Festival.
The City of Madrid Film Office also strengthened its collaboration with festivals and professional events that promote education, the development of projects and the promotion of audiovisual content from Madrid. During the course of the year it sponsored Madrid Online Pitchbox, a project presentation event organised by the Filmarket Hub platform, and “Producing in a Sustainable way is Possible”, a series of training sessions developed within the framework of the Another Way Film Festival in collaboration with Fiction Changing the World, whose purpose is to raise awareness of and promote new sustainable measures for the audiovisual sector. In addition to all this, it provided support to the Madrid Film Festival which was organised by the Platform of New Filmmakers to showcase the best emerging Spanish cinema; the Rizoma Festival, noted for its efforts to shed light on the work of new Spanish artists, and the international series festival Serielizados, for which it helped to organise a session dedicated to “The Madrid of the Series: Riot Police”,
The City of Madrid Film Office also provided technical support for two important events that are also supported by the Madrid City Council, the CineMad Window, organised by the Audiovisual Association of Madrid (AMA), and the Film Academy’s Residencies Programme which helps emerging talent to develop audiovisual projects linked with the city and is developed in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In the line of action aimed at disseminating Madrid’s audiovisual heritage, the City of Madrid Film Office has launched a project to create a film directory that will include the geolocation of sets used for film shootings and a movie map that will have over 1,500 references from works from different periods and types (feature films, series, commercial advertisements, videoclips, documentaries, short films and TV shows). It will provide a documentary basis for the creation of itineraries and products related to films and tourism. A project of photographic reports of the peripheral districts has also been launched to showcase the potential of locations in the 14 districts that extend beyond the central area of Madrid that is enclosed by the M-30 motorway. In addition, the brochure “Madrid, Capital of Series” was presented at Fitur Screen and a round table discussion was held with the presence of leading professionals.
The Madrid Film Office also organised the second edition of the #MiMadriddeCine Awards, a photography and video contest developed on Instagram in collaboration with EGEDA. It carried out several actions to disseminate the city’s audiovisual heritage as part of the #CulturaEnCasa campaign, including the publication of the guides “The Madrid of Edgar Neville”, “21 Films for 21 Districts” and “Monumental Axis: from Atocha to Plaza de España”. It sponsored the publication of a special issue of the magazine Versión Original dedicated to “Madrid in Film”. And it collaborated with the sixth edition of the Open House Madrid festival to launch the first edition of OpenFilm by designing two guided tours through the neighbourhoods of La Guindalera and Lavapiés, aimed at enhancing the audiovisual, architectural and urban heritage of the city.
The website www.cityofmadridfilmoffice.com, an information and promotion tool aimed at professionals in the audiovisual sector, incorporated two new sections in 2020: one that provided information about Covid-19 with regard to shootings and the audiovisual industry, which is constantly being updated, and a repository devoted to sustainability in the audiovisual sector. The number of references in the directories of companies (286) and professionals (346) in the audiovisual sector in Madrid increased, as did the catalogue of locations (510). In 2020, the website generated a traffic of 371,422 visits to its pages, which represents a growth of 86% in respect to 2019 and of 1,365 in the number of users, going from near 64,000 in 2019 to more than 150,590 in 2020.