The job of film producer is probably one of the least known and, at the same time, most fascinating of all the cogs in the intricate machine responsible for the manufacture of films. The idea behind The arithmetic of creation; Interviews with contemporary Spanish film producers was to investigate the roots of this profession "in the shadows" through the declarations made by the producers interviewed, to provide a varied and heterogeneous view of the field of activities in which they work in the ever-changing and highly unstable modern Spanish film industry.
The hybrid nature of cinema, divided between purely industrial and economic elements (the arithmetic) and those prioritizing the artistic base (the creative side), means the profession of producer focuses here on its role as a mediator, sitting as it does on the fence between the two sides and at the confluence of both. The producer must be able dispose of a sufficiently robust and stable economic base to foster the freest and most autonomous creative responses possible. By leaning towards one area of activity or another, not only are they defining the modus operandi of the venture, they are also defining the type of cinema being created. That is why the producers involved in this book, all of whom are currently active, have been selected to cover the widest and most varied range possible from different models that define and comprise the multi-faceted and sumptuous realities of Spanish cinema. They belong to different generations, and have different tastes, interests and approaches, from one end of the spectrum to the other, including those with long careers and newcomers, those aiming to create crowd-pleasing box-office hits and those who are more solitary; the risk-takers and outsiders. A large part of what defines recent Spanish cinema and its near future resides in the decisions, ideas, instinct and even the personal tastes of the protagonists of this book. And, to a greater or lesser extent, they all have something in common; their passion for cinema.
As the decade of the 1990s reaches its end, the Spanish short film seems to have reached its peak. This moment of glory runs parallel to the boom of young directors who seem to have reconciled the Spanish cinema with the box office through their feature length films. The short film occupies a cultural space and a recognition by the media that would have been impossible at the end of the 1980s. The financial means increase in same proportions as the production planning gets better - every time more professional and with an excellent technical result, every time closer to what had only been possible in feature length films before. Furthermore, the deficiencies in the area of exhibition - a very urgent topic in the previous decade - seem to have found solutions that could help to clear a horizon that appeared - only few years ago - very cloudy and not too promising. The growing demand by some television stations and new diffusion circuits seem to free the short film from the state of agony in which - due to a lack of help - it was trapped in the beginning of the decade. For all these reasons, It wouldn't seem daring to affirm that the 1990's are the wonderful decade of the Spanish short film.
Yet, another question is to clarify whether the spectacular growth of the works' industrial quality and the constant increase of production sums correspond with a success in the artistic and creative territory. And whether the new perspectives in the area of exhibition aren't more than a deception - an illusion that may disappear from one moment to the next due to the weak structures that sustain the format.
Under these premises one can ask: Are the 1990's really a wonderful decade?