Basque Country Emerges as a Thriving Film Hub for Genre Cinema and Animation

The Basque Country in Spain has emerged as a thriving hub for the film industry, with a particular focus on animation and genre cinema. The region’s film industry is experiencing a period of growth and consolidation, fueled by recent successes on streaming platforms and recognition from labs and festivals. The sequel to “The Platform,” which is the second most watched non-English Netflix movie, is currently in production in the Basque Country. Other films, such as “Irati” and “The Chapel,” have also achieved box office success and received positive feedback from festivals.

According to Carlos Juárez, producer at Basque Films, there is a new generation of creators attracted to genre films. These films may initially appear niche, but they have the potential to attract a dedicated fan base and create communities. Director Paul Urkijo, who specializes in fantasy films, believes that the popularity of genre cinema in the 1980s has influenced the current generation of filmmakers. The Basque film industry’s infrastructure allows for the production of more ambitious and visually stunning films.

One of the factors contributing to the region’s success is the mysticism associated with the Basque Country’s backdrop. This, along with a competitive industry, financial incentives, and talented local creatives, has attracted a significant number of filmmakers to the region. The Basque culture, language (Euskera), folklore, and traditions provide a unique and magical atmosphere for storytelling. The landscape’s combination of ancient culture and modernity creates a perfect setting for the genre.

The Basque Country offers diverse and accessible locations for film production. Filmmakers can find cities, landscapes, mountains, beaches, and more within an hour’s drive. The region also boasts talented professionals who are supported by investment in short film projects and film schools. Programs and laboratories within the community provide resources and mentorship for emerging filmmakers. The collaboration, talent, and available professional equipment contribute to the region’s thriving cinematic ecosystem.

The presence of tax breaks and funding opportunities make the Basque Country an attractive place for genre production. Private investors are incentivized by tax relief, and public broadcaster EITB MEDIA supports the local film sector. The extensive technical and artistic infrastructure, as demonstrated in previous films, combined with stunning natural landscapes and historical architecture, further enhance the possibilities for genre storytelling.

Despite the challenges of centralism and lack of filming infrastructure, Basque Films aims to continue working in the region. The entry of streaming platforms makes it easier to produce from the Basque Country, but efforts to improve communication with the industry’s main hubs in Madrid and Barcelona are still necessary.

Directors Paul Urkijo and Carlota Pereda express their enthusiasm for future filming in the Basque Country. The unique locations, nature, and lighting provide a rich visual and creative atmosphere. The region’s talented crew, experienced in producing genre films, are well-equipped to bring fantastical stories to life.

In conclusion, the Basque Country’s film industry is experiencing a period of growth and consolidation, driven by the region’s mystical backdrop, talented creatives, accessible locations, and robust funding. The success of recent projects and the region’s expertise in producing genre films ensure a bright future for the Basque film industry.

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