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The Influencers

Forget the Stereotypes and Siestas – There’s So Much More to Spain

INFLUENCER: All is not as it seems in Spain, says Blur Films’ Executive Producer Inés Segura

Forget the Stereotypes and Siestas – There’s So Much More to Spain

Think of Spain and, I’m sure, certain images and clichés pop into your mind. And while some of these stereotypes might help attract the world’s advertising industry to shoot in the country – sun, sandy beaches, sports people, and cheap beer – they’re also deeply frustrating and can, at times, obscure a wealth of creative talent. If all you think of is the siestas, you’re unlikely to see what’s really going on with Spain’s hungry and ambitious young generation.

Spain is a paradox, and so much more than what it seems. Take me, for example.

I am Spanish. But I look Swedish. When I was little I was told I had to have a siesta even when I didn’t want to. When I was a teenager I wanted to have siestas but they wouldn't let me.

I am Executive Producer of Blur Films. I look more like a rock star. As a child I was taught to give two kisses to everyone - because it was considered well educated. When I was a teenager I just wanted to kiss everyone.

I am a person who thinks that the secret is in “wanting”. The wanting that you have in childhood, and adolescence unite with experience when you mature.

I learned my profession as a child in front of the cameras. Then I realised I was more interested in what happened behind them.

In Spain, we aren’t who we seem, or do what they tell us to do. Basically we do what we feel we have to do.

Look past the stereotypes; Spaniards aren’t people who take siestas, eat gazpacho and wear Flamenco dresses. As I said, nothing is what it appears to be.

And maybe that's why there’s been a trend in recent years for Spanish production companies to try and open up new markets. It’s not just because we want to or we feel like it (which, of course, we also do) but because we are really good at what we do.  As we reach outwards, we’re met by those who tell us that others are better, and that our way of working revolves around siestas.

It turns out that as well as the image of Spain as a destination for sun, sand and beer, Spain is also known for being good, nice and cheap if you come to shoot. But next to that image there is another reality. As I said at the beginning, nothing is what it seems.

Over the years I have shot in many countries. And I've learned something in all of them. It all adds up, the good, the bad and the regular. And when you go abroad to shoot you come back and you question things.

You question, for example, why many other countries continually come to Spain to shoot, but only take advantage of the "service industry”. Why does no one take the whole pack? The talent and the service?

It turns out that my country, Spain (I only look Swedish, I am Spanish, in case there was any doubt!) has some of the best crews in the world: directors of photography who shoot with Woody Allen; Art Directors who work on Game of Thrones; Oscar-winning makeup artists; stylists who work for world renowned directors. All of these same people also shoot in Spain with Spanish directors. Spanish directors who succeed abroad, but who live in Spain. Spanish directors who ooze talent.

Directors like Marc Corominas. And his recent work for Audi.

Or Alberto Blanco. With his music video for El Guincho.

And that’s just a taster of course. There are many more.

As I write this, I sip my gazpacho, and Kate (Jenner), my English producer, eats porridge and toast with Marmite. Nothing is what it seems; the Spanish don’t just eat gazpacho or the Brits porridge and Marmite. Kate is English but she knows and understands the Spanish advertising market, which twinned with her British work ethic makes her the person to know in Spain if the “whole pack” sounds appealing.

Perhaps the answer is easier than I think and quite possibly I have answered my own question when I say that nothing is what it seems. There is so much more to Spain.

I am Inés, Executive Producer of Blur Films, Spain. I am of a generation that doesn’t take siestas, watch bull fights or wear flamenco outfits. We have decided to defy the stereotypes and do the opposite of what we were told.