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Canary Islands Film: “We are animation” Inspiration for an Animation Cluster

On 26th February 2019 the Association of Czech Animation Film (ASAF) organised a meeting with representatives of an animation cluster from the Canary Islands at the Spanish Embassy in Prague.

“Tourists are the main source of income for our economy. However, the government realises the need to diversify the economy and offer a perspective of interesting application to young people too, so in 2015 it decided to focus on the animation industry. This sector has a future. In addition, it is an environmentally friendly industry, which is important for our little paradise on earth here, ” as Natascha Mora explains the motivation behind establishment of Canary Islands Film.

The organisation is established and run by government agencies represented by Natacha Mora (Government of the Canary Islands, Culture Sector), Pila Moreno (PROEXCA agency for the internationalisation of the Canary Islands and attracting strategic investments) and Sabita Jagtani (Canaria ZEC agency promoting investment within the Canary Islands tax zone).  The main objective of the Canary Islands Film is to create favourable conditions for animation production, e.g. through film incentives in the amount of 40% to support the outsourcing of local studios or tax advantages for setting up new companies or subsidiaries.

As a Spanish province, the Canary Islands are a part of the EU, but they are an autonomous economic region with their own incentive system and tax advantages (see the table below). In addition to significant tax cuts, which are among the highest in the world (40% deduction for eligible costs for international co-productions), they have a lot to offer to companies: the best quality infrastructure in a technology park with a computing centre; geographically convenient location between Africa, Europe and the USA; maximum legal certainty (guarantees through EU membership); benefits connected with the quality of life, attractive climate and nature. Modern infrastructure (hospitals, shops of European standard) and lower costs than in Western Europe … these factors also contribute to the development of the cluster and the acquisition of professionals who work here, often with their families.

The cluster is made up of 11 animation studios based in the Canary Islands (such as Mondo TV, b.water, 3Doubles, Anima), employing between 15 and 60 people, in total about 250 people from all over the world. Of course, local animators are active here too; the largest one has about 20 employees.

FOCUS: tax incentives for animation in the CI

  • 40% discount (deduction on eligible costs) for international co-productions with CI, subject to a minimum of EUR 200,000 eligible costs and hiring a local company for collaboration. Cap. EUR 5.4 million
  • 40-45% discount for Spanish productions and co-productions which will be granted the Canary Islands Audiovisual Work Certificate
  • other: 45% deduction in the area of technological innovation (animation and video games). Canary Islands Special Zone: 4% corporate income tax (compared to 25% in Spain, 19% in the Czech Republic … the cheapest in Europe!)

Examples of animation activities supported:

  • production, postproduction
  • computer programming
  • professional training
  • distribution

Canary Islands Film is also behind the organisation of prestigious animation events: the Quirino Awards – a festival and co-production animation forum in Tenerife; animation lab for new talents Bridging the Gap; Cartoon Business, a conference for European animation professionals will take place in the Canary Islands in 2020 and focus on new business models and financing; last but not least, Animayo – the International Film Festival of Animation, Visual Effects and Video Games.

Presentation in Prague, launched by the Economic and Trade Secretary of Spain in the Czech Republic, Mr. Jose Manuel Revuelta Lapique, brought to the audience two dozen participants – in addition to members of ASAF, for example also a representative of CzechTrade Markéta Šebelová or the economic diplomacy specialist of the Project Management Department of the Prague City Hall Mrs Lenka Kolářová Bernklauová.

In the end, there was a lively discussion and exchange of experience. “ASAF’s strategy is to open up to the world and encourage producers to build international co-productions, networking and inspiration not only in the field of creativity, but also in state support, funding and distribution of animated works. That’s why we initiate such meetings, where we invite experienced professionals and travel abroad to gather ideas, “said ASAF Deputy Chair Marek Toušek, who hosted the debate.

After a study trip to the animation cluster in Stuttgart, a delegation of Czech studios and producers is scheduled for the spring of this year to the Canary Islands.

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