With its wide range of beautiful locations, the medieval Spanish town of Satiago de Compostela is ideal to shoot any genre of film
This week, we make a stopover at a medieval town called Satiago de Compostela, also the final route for pilgrims on the St James Pilgrimage, a walk from Southern France. This historic settlement is the capital of the Galicia region of Spain and is a breathtaking destination visited by thousands of holidaymakers.
The city is a juxtaposition of old and new design, which blends with each other to form a picturesque canvas. From ruins of the past to a sizeable nightlife, tapas bars and narrow streets surrounded by rustic buildings, the city has much history and culture to be explored by both, the tourists and filmmakers.
Reflecting olden times, the cathedral has a baroque facade with an architectural composition that is a major attraction today. The approach to this shrine will take you through cobbled lanes and by-lanes, buzzing with local restaurants and bars. At night, these dimly-lit lanes are interesting to traverse but it is even more appealing to see them leap off from the real to the reel.
Filming is not limited to these narrow roads. The entire city can double up for any genre, thanks to its wide range of locations. Within the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, you will encounter medieval structures, whereas the new town is more lavish with posh localities and parks. Other points of interest include the 16th century baroque Abbey de San Martín Pinario and University of Santiago de Compostela.
What’s unique is the fact that apart from Spanish films and TV series, the town has not been featured in many international motion pictures. It can thus come across as new on the big screen. Still want more? The film commission provides all kinds of help to production houses, making the cumbersome task of shooting, hassle-free.
Filming Assistance: Santiago de Compostela Film Commission (SCFC) offers the international audio-visual professionals all the information, support and advice required in order to make cinematographic productions. It not only provides all the filming permits required during production, but also functions as a complete and effective information point regarding the city. It is also a link between audio-visual sectors and other auxiliary services: accommodation, catering, post-production and more.
Municipal Fees: The filming fee charged by the Santiago City Council for all filming, regardless of its nature, on public grounds is about € 410 per day due to the occupation of a public area. However, a 50-per cent discount is applied to cinematographic or similar projects that duly certify that the resulting product will contribute significantly to the promotion of the city of Santiago de Compostela. Such projects also have to include the collaboration of Santiago City Council in the credits and promotion of their films. To that end, interested production companies should present a brief letter clearly explaining the reasons why their project will benefit the public image of the city and its inhabitants.
Obtaining Permits: SCFC is responsible for processing the necessary applications in order to film in the previously chosen locations. All you have to do is fill out two forms: a general one, which contains information about the production company, a description of the project including budget data, the approximate number of technical and artistic personnel, and the technical elements that will be used during filming; and another one related to the place where filming will take place or to the service that is requested. All SCFC services are free.
Foreign Productions: Foreign production companies that want to work in Spain can either open a subsidiary office in Spain or simply work with a local production company, which provides its services in exchange for a previously negotiated payment or establishes a co-production with the foreign company. For filming, all companies have to pay certain taxes. These include a tax on Commercial and Professional Activities (IAE), Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax (IRPF).
However, companies are eligible for a VAT refund on the services received and material purchased in Spain, as long as they can certify, from their country of origin, that they are persons liable for VAT. In the case of IRPF, non-residents are subject to tax only on their income and capital gains produced in Spain and their assets acquired in Spain. A 7-per cent deduction during the first three years of commercial activity and a 15-per cent deduction thereafter are issued.