The Basque government has activated a bank guarantee scheme for the cultural and creative industries channeled through a Basque guarantee specialist with San Sebastian- ased Elkargi SGR, and supported by Triodos Bank, which offers low-interest (1%) credit line, Basque government’s deputy culture minister Joxean Muñoz explained to Variety.
Announced in May, this 1% credit line is already an agreement formally closed by Triodos bank and the Basque government. Muñoz added that Basque government is also setting up training programs to help technically the producers in their link to SGR’s funding entities.
The SGR’s functioning at the Basque country was the focus of a round table organized by 1980-founded Elkargi that took place on Friday 23 during the 64th San Sebastian festival under the title ‘Financing at the service of the Audiovisual.’
Panelists were general director at Crea SGR Rafael Lambea, Elkargi SGR general director, Marco Pineda, and Triodos Bank director general, Mikel García-Prieto. Event was moderated by Muñoz.
Pineda explained that SGR’s motivating features for cinema sector basically are a long term financing and intangibles assessment.
“We’re an entity aiming not just to search the maximum profitability for our stock-holders, but to incorporate values into money’s world (…). The big challenge is to culturize the economy instead of financing the culture,” said García- Prieto at Triodos, a bank specialized in financing social, cultural and environmental projects.
“The Audiovisual sector could be a driving force for change in this country; the only thing we need is a boost from the government,” Lambea said.
Despite the crisis, the Basque government maintained its direct subsidy support for Basque films, which is crucial, per Muñoz words. “The challenge now is to take the Basque industry to another level -- strengthening financing links with the private sector and increasing Basque cinema’s international reach,” he added. Joxe Portela, prexi at Basque producers association Ibaia, asked for a better legal certainty: “You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. And that is what Icaa, Spanish cinema institute, is doing during the last years. The time between the project development and the film launching is long. If government subsidies requirements change during this period, it usually generates legal uncertainty,” he complained.