“Women have always been storytellers, calling on legends and transferring them. Besides, nowadays 80% of the audience is female”, says the director and scriptwriter Manuela Burló. Despite all, we know that sharing an audiovisual project, being heard and making it a reality is not always easy. If initiatives as WAWA are so necessary, it is because we still have a long way to go and a lot to give.
As Manager of the Cultural Sector at Triodos Bank I am glad to help making it possible. Since I remember, I have been linked to culture, both personally and professionally. I graduated in performing arts at the University of Kent, I carried out studies in film, TV, radio and show production; then I continued at the Escuela de Cine de San Antonio de los Baños (San Antonio de los Baños International School of Film and Television) Cuba, I also completed the Higher Management Programme for Audiovisual Companies held by the IE Business School. Professionally I worked 8 years in different areas of audiovisual production until 2012, where I joined the project of Triodos Bank in Spain.
I am frequently asked what does a girl like me doing in a field like this, but for me it is only a continuation of my work in culture.
I started working in the entity with the objective of developing its business area linked to art and culture and in 2019 we ended the year with about 79 millions rendered in Spain and 482 millions in the whole of our activity in Europe. This financing represents a 5.6% from the bank’s balance in Spain and a 5.9% of the group. Today we are present across the value chain: producers, distributors, exhibitors, providers and other business enterprises from the audiovisual universe.
During these 8 years at the bank, we have adapted our ways to analyze projects according to the sector’s changes and needs. It’s not the same a film with a financing plan depending on local TV grants and contracts than an international coproduction project with fiscal incentives and participation in digital platforms.
If, for example, we are talking about a film, our job consists on proving that the project is solid. We analyze the budget, the financing plan, the chain of title contracts and every other contract key to the project, such as the cash flow and the work timetable. Then, we advance the financing plan so the production can have sufficient liquidity to meet the project objectives. Having reached this goal, it is a matter of time for the initial financing sources to make the payment and pay off the advance loan. On our part, analyzing payers’ risk is also elementary. This way the producer can focus on materializing a good project and producing it on time. If so, there will be no place for liquidity pressures.
On the other side, the health situation is testing the stability of the whole system and particularly of cultural initiatives. In this sense, since March 13th (the date of confinement in Spain), at Triodos Bank we haven’t stopped working for the enterprises and professionals from this sector. We endorsed to the ICO lines (Official Credit Institue) Covid_19 liquidity, that allow us to provide liquidity to companies severely affected by the crisis. Only in April, 50% of the loans we granted under this umbrella were destined to culture. Right after this, we signed up with Audiovisual SGR (a mutual guarantee company specialized in culture in Spain) a convention to provide liquidity to small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as freelancers.
This readiness in seeking solutions, also in difficult times, is further evidence of our commitment to this sector. It is about more than companies, it is about the families behind them, technicians, artists…
It is difficult to envisage the future, but every crisis is also a moment of opportunities. The audiovisual demand has increased through digital platforms and no greater crisis is foreseen in audiovisual production beyond dealing with the new security measures, modifying romantic scenes on scripts or making stops due to possible confinements.
On the other hand, live experience in films, theatres or music festivals is indeed being adversely affected. However much digital development is build-up, we still are people in the physical world and we need real experiences, therefore live experiences will not cease. I am convinced that female leadership in the audiovisual field, historically having faced and overcome many difficulties, will contribute to addressing this challenge of the whole of society.
Manager of the Cultural Sector
Triodos Bank NV S.E.