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Spain: 2

Spain: 2

September 15, 2006
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" Spain is a very open country, but I think that the bigger part of Europe is that way today, more human-friendly, more freedom for the individual than you have in the U.S. today "

In part one, we began our look at this European hotbed of adult entertainment. In this conclusion, we'll continue our look at the Spanish market, gonzo productions and beyond.

One area in which Spain's adult film industry is deficient, according to El Glorioso, is gonzo porn. Gonzo has become a major niche in the U.S., but El Glorioso said that many Spanish companies refuse to make gonzo. They only want to make features that have nice directors like Narcis Bosh.

"The problem in Spain with gonzo is that nobody knows how to make good gonzo here," Navarro said. "But there are great possibilities for good gonzo in Spain. You have all that you need, the weather that is like California, great locations, passionate girls from Spain and Latin America. There are great possibilities, and nobody can see it."

The shortage of gonzo films in Spain, El Glorioso said, has nothing to do with Spain's obscenity laws; it is merely a question of the type of adult films that Spanish directors choose to make. El Glorioso said that when it comes to adult entertainment, Spain does not have a witch hunt like the U.S. does now, adding that the Spanish authorities are strict when it comes to the paperwork for age verification and avoiding child porn. But as long as the participants are legal adults and have the paperwork to prove it, sexually explicit material is not a problem in Spain.

In January, CNN reported that Spanish authorities had arrested 33 people in various parts of the country for allegedly acquiring and distributing child pornography on the Internet; that is in addition to the apprehension of alleged child porn rings in Spain in 2005.

Private Media CEO and Chairman Berth Milton Jr. told XBIZ that he applauded Spanish law enforcement's aggressive pursuit of child pornographers and believed that by taking a libertarian approach to consensual sexual activity among adults, Spanish authorities have more resources to combat the evils of child porn and terrorism.

"The Spanish government has a long history of dealing with terrorism and knows that there will always be extreme groups, and they find these kinds of problems more important to deal with than somebody who is sitting at home watching an adult movie," Milton said. "I don't think they believe that somebody watching an adult movie is the end of the human race."

Milton went on to say that he believes Spaniards enjoy more sexual freedom than Americans at the moment.

"Spain is a very open country, but I think that the bigger part of Europe is that way today, more human-friendly, more freedom for the individual than you have in the U.S. today," Milton said. "People say that the U.S. is the most free country in the world, but I don't see it like that."

Milton was quick to add, however, that he thinks America's Christian Right is on the losing side of a battle in a country that sexually will become more and more like Spain in the future — not less.

In Spain, sexual freedom is not only affecting adult films and websites but mainstream movies as well. Almodóvar's films have often dealt with sexuality in a candid fashion, and director Julio Medem's 2001 hit "Lucía y el Sexo" (Sex and Lucía) is a mainstream movie with some very explicit sex scenes. Although Spanish is Spain's most widely spoken language, not everyone in Spain speaks it as their primary language. Basque and Galician are official languages in some parts of Northwestern Spain, and in the Catalonia region, millions of people speak primarily Catalan, which, like Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese, is a romance language.

Franco did everything he could to suppress Catalan, but since his death, Catalan has flourished. In Barcelona, the very bilingual capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, street signs are in Catalan, as are signs and recorded announcements on the Metro, Barcelona's subway system.

Nonetheless, most Barcelonenses speak fluent Spanish, even if Catalan is their primary language, and Spanish-language erotica is much more plentiful in Barcelona than Catalan-language erotica.

Piracy Not So Severe
Navarro noted that one major advantage Spain has over Latin American countries when it comes to Spanish-language erotica is the fact that adult video piracy is not as severe in Spain as it is in Latin America. That is not to say that piracy is nonexistent; anyone who walks through the famous Puerta del Sol in Madrid can easily find lawbreakers selling pirated DVDs (both mainstream and adult), though the piraters quickly run away the minute a police car turns the corner. Navarro, however, said that in Latin America, piracy is much more out of control.

"The big problem in Latin America is piracy, so it's impossible to produce for local distribution," Navarro said. "But the big advantage in Latin America is the talent, which is quite cheap."

For English-speaking adult entrepreneurs, the most challenging part of a move to Spain could be the language barrier. Fluent English speakers are the norm in Sweden, Denmark and Holland, but that isn't the case in Spain, especially when one gets away from the more touristy areas.

"Knowing Spanish is important in Spain because not many people speak fluent English here," Navarro noted. He added that there is no reason why an American, British or Canadian adult company moving to Spaincouldn't make English-language material there, but he recommends at least a basic understanding of Spanish if they hope to converse with the locals. Navarro said that for companies moving to Barcelona, speaking Catalan is far from a requirement; they would be much better off studying Spanish.

"Catalan is not significant in the porn business, and in Barcelona, not speaking Catalan is not a problem," Navarro said. "People in Barcelona change to Spanish when they see you don't speak Catalan — and if they see you are a foreigner, they always speak Spanish."


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