Yesterday a member of the Spanish Academy of the Arts and Cinematographic Sciences, and two employees from his production company, were arrested on suspicion of film piracy –specifically uploading copies of films that were made available to members of the Academy in relation to the Goya Awards, but also films that they had access to prior to their release in cinemas (the specific example given is Ispansi (Iglesias, 2011), which was only released a couple of weeks ago). Manuel Sirgo won a Goya for a short animated film in 2002, and is head of the production company 12 Pingüinos Dibujos Animados (12 Animated Penguins). There is a system whereby Academy members can watch the films streamed online by using a special code. The possibility that a member of the Academy was involved in piracy was highlighted in February when, days after the Goya Awards and Álex de la Iglesia’s defense of the Internet, an Academy copy of de la Iglesia’s Balada triste de trompeta suddenly appeared online. El País reports that in his statement to police, Sirgo accused his two employees of having taken his code in order to access the films, but the employees in turn say that he gave the code to them. I’ll return to this story as and when there is more information.
As I’m writing this, I have just seen that the Academy has released a statement in support of Sirgo, saying that they believe his version of events.
The Spanish box office stats for 2010 have finally been released. I will write an individual post about this at some point in the next couple of weeks, once I’ve had a chance to look at the figures properly. But at first glance, the figures are not as bad as some people had been predicting, although Spanish cinema’s share of the market dropped from 15.5% in 2009 to 12.1%.
In other box office news, Santiago Segura’s Torrente 4: Crisis letal had the best opening weekend of any Spanish film ever in monetary terms (in terms of audience figures that crown still belongs to Torrente 3) –again, the Torrente phenomenon will receive its own post at some point in the future.
And finally: the race for President of the Academy has picked up with another team entering the running. Exhibitor / Distributor Enrique González Macho has decided to run, with actress Marta Etura (Azuloscurocasinegro (Sánchez Arévalo, 2006) and Celda 211 (Monzón, 2009)) and director Judith Colell (Elisa K (2010)) as his deputies. El Pais has interviews with the two prospective Presidents, Bigas Luna and González Macho.
I'm on holiday next week, so blogging will be light -if I don't at least manage to do a links roundup, I'll do one at the start of the following week.