J.A. Bayona Honored in Madrid as MPA Awards Held Abroad for First Time

The Motion Picture Association hosted its 2024 MPA Awards today in Madrid, marking the first time the organization has done so outside of the U.S. During the event, several key figures from Spain’s creative, policy and law enforcement communities were recognized for their contributions to the country’s flourishing creative sector and for “defending the global film, TV and streaming industry.”

Among today’s recipients, director J.A. Bayona (“Society of the Snow,” “The Impossible”) received the MPA Creator Award, given in recognition of his “stellar career delivering stunning creative masterpieces to audiences worldwide,” the organization explained.

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“I want to thank the MPA for recognizing my creative work, which I hope stirs new ideas that cause people to think and feel differently,” said Bayona of the honor. “As filmmakers, we try to tell stories that matter, stories that can make a real difference in the world. I’ve devoted my career to creating films that make a real difference, and I deeply appreciate the MPA for honoring my efforts.”

The MPA Industry Champion Award went to former First Vice President of Spain and current president of the European Investment Bank Group, Nadia Calviño, for her role in developing and implementing Spain’s Audiovisual Hub program.

“I’m really honored to be recognized by the MPA for my unwavering support to the audiovisual industry. It is a key sector with strong value added to our economy, our society and culture,” said Calviño. “The MPA Award shows the importance of championing the arts, and I look forward to continuing to support talent, innovation and diversity in my new position as President of the EIB.”

Francisco Pardo, director-general of the Spanish National Police, accepted the first-ever MPA Creative Protector Award, given to an individual or organization that works to combat digital piracy.

“As we celebrate our 200th anniversary, the Spanish National Police continues to expand our ability to combat the evolving menace of digital piracy, which drains Spain’s economy, endangers our citizens and poses an existential threat to our creative community,” said Pardo. “We are proud of our successful efforts on this front, and we thank the MPA for recognizing this important work.”

MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin was in Madrid for this year’s ceremony. In a release accompanying the event, he explained: “This year’s MPA Awards pay tribute to a fundamental truth about cinema: our industry is global in its reach and impact, and its champions in Spain exemplify what it means to promote film, protect the rights of storytellers, and inspire audiences worldwide. I could not be prouder to honor three leaders who are making Spain a prime destination for production, a pathbreaking pioneer in advancing the rule of law, and a key source of extraordinary storytelling.”

Rivkin’s praise for the Spanish industry is hardly unique. For example, this year, Spain is Mipcom’s Country of Honor. The Madrid-based ceremony was well-timed, too. In 2021, while visiting NBC Universal’s L.A. studios, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez laid out a plan to turn Spain into the “Hollywood of Europe” by increasing government investment in the country’s AV sector by €1.6 billion ($1.71 billion). In the years since the fruits of that investment have been indisputable.

According to the MPA, international productions shot in Spain generated €196 million ($210 million) in investment last year, creating more than 10,000 jobs and generating more than €55.5 million ($59.4 million) in wages. The numbers are more impressive when domestic shoots are included. Audiovisual Hub data shows that Spain’s screen industries created 62,000 jobs in the last quarter of 2023.

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