Text: Virginia Servera.

Pedro Barbadillo. Foto: Pep Caparrós.

He comes from written journalism and accumulates experience as a documentaries producer and director. Pedro Barbadillo, head of the Mallorca Film Commission since its inception, works daily to promote the audiovisual industry in Mallorca, which, at the moment, is weathering the crisis.

Is it true that Mallorca is experiencing a filming boom?

In Mallorca, which was a place very focused on commercials production, the growth of fiction production has been very large in the last 5-8 years. This has a lot to do with the emergence of online content distribution platforms, which has triggered a huge expansion in production.

How has coronavirus affected the shooting activity?

In the last year we were doubling and tripling the volume of production. In March everything stopped and three months later filming began again. I cannot say that it has been reactivated 100% of what was planned but surprisingly it has reactivated much more than we expected.

“The growth of fiction production has been very large in the last 5-8 years”

What has prevented us from climbing in the audiovisual industry until now if the benefits of the climate and the variety of landscapes are an excellent claim?

On the one hand, there is a need for studios that Mallorca did not have – it had sets – and a very broad professional and technical base to be able to attend all the filming. On the other hand, the creation of tax incentives in Spain in 2015 meant that a very important part of the shootings that had not previously gone to the Canary Islands went there since they enjoy better conditions.

Insularity has also influenced us. There have been shootings, such as Game of Thrones, in which the producer told me that he didn’t dare to mess with 400 trucks on an island because if the weather was bad he ran the risk of not making it to the next shoot.

Will a great set be created?

I have been promoting that idea for a long time. It can be a set, a small ‘city of image’, a pole of audiovisual digital innovation… It is absolutely essential. There are places to do it, for example the Parc Bit, there are interested investors, aid to support it… What has been lacking so far is a final push to do it. I see it closer and closer.

“It is reductionist to think that showing a beautiful postcard image is only what favours the attractiveness of places”

What are the most popular locations?

There are 50% urban and 50% natural. The coastal areas of the northern part such as Deià, Valldemosa, Sóller, Alcúdia, Pollença, Formentor, Torrent de Pareis… are locations in high demand. Also some places on the Levante coast, such as Portocolom and Portocristo. And of course Palma, which attracts almost all of the modern urban planning filming on the island.

The image that is projected in Mallorca in the cinema is sometimes negative, mainly in foreign productions. Do you think something could be done about it?

The contents fall within the freedom of the creators; it’s not entities like ours that have to say a single word. Furthermore, people’s motivations and niches of interest are very broad. It is a bit reductionist to think that showing the beautiful postcard image is only what favours the attractiveness of the places. I like the New York of the suburbs with smoky subway entrances as much as the New York of Fifth Avenue.