In 2023, Barcelona hosts over 2,800 audiovisual productions

April 3, 2024
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Recreating the atmosphere of 1970s Barcelona was one of the biggest challenges faced by the production team of the film “Saben Aquell”, the biopic of comedian Eugenio starring David Verdaguer. Although most scenes were shot indoors, filming days outdoors required a complex adaptation of the city streets. Edmon Roch, the film’s producer, explains: “From sidewalks to traffic lights, signage, and urban furniture, everything was meticulously adjusted.” During these days, over 40 vintage vehicles circulated the streets, creating an authentic ambiance, such as in the scene depicting the dawn after the death of dictator Franco, set at the intersection of Passeig de Sant Joan and Carrer de Còrsega. Roch adds: “We chose to shoot on holidays to minimize disruption to the everyday life of Barcelona.”

The film succeeded in reviving an aesthetic that had been buried beneath the city’s modernization and received recognition at the Gaudí and Goya Awards. “We are very pleased with the result; the production designer, Marc Pou, did an outstanding job,” highlights Roch.

Every year, Barcelona attracts numerous productions ranging from feature films to commercials, music videos, and documentaries. Its streets become settings for everything from post-apocalyptic worlds to recreations of historical crimes. According to data from the Barcelona Film Commission (BFC), in 2023 the city hosted over 2,800 national and international productions, generating significant economic benefits totaling around 68 million euros, thanks to expenditures on technical equipment, accommodation, transportation, and catering.

In addition to the economic impact, Barcelona’s prominence in the audiovisual industry contributes to its projection both nationally and internationally. For example, the music video “Sirens” by American musician Travis Scott, filmed in Tarragona with the Castellers de Vilafranca, has amassed millions of views. Catalonia not only served as a backdrop but a local production company, Canada, was also in charge of the project, as with Rosalía’s music video “Vampiros.”

At the iconic Marsella bar in the Raval neighborhood, where part of the “Vampiros” video was filmed, numerous stories have been captured, from scenes in films like “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” to productions by Almodóvar. While series and movies often grab attention, advertising productions are equally relevant in the city. In 2023, 947 commercials were filmed for various brands, some highlighting Barcelona’s iconography.

The most popular districts for filming in Barcelona are Sant Martí, Eixample, and Ciutat Vella, although there are notable exceptions, such as the series “Això no és Suècia”, which was shot in less frequented areas like Vallvidrera, Tibidabo i Les Planes, requiring a total of 117 filming days and 53 permits.

Barcelona offers a unique combination of elements that make it attractive to the film and television industry, with a privileged location between mountains and coastline, well-preserved historic neighborhoods, and breathtaking panoramic views. However, as Roch emphasizes, it is essential to approach productions with caution and consideration for the city’s everyday life. “Barcelona is more than just a spectacular backdrop; it is a living city with its own needs, and we must be respectful of that,” he concludes.

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