The Costa del Sol looks close to being chosen to host next January's Goya awards. On Monday, representatives from the prestigious Spanish film academy (Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España) visited Malaga's Martín Carpena basketball arena (the copper-domed building on the outskirts of the city) to assess it as likely venue.
The Goya awards are similar to the Oscars in the US or the UK's Baftas and promote Spanish cinema. The event attracts large television audiences in Spanish-speaking countries. Normally the gala is held in Madrid, but recently efforts have been made to organise it outside the capital. Last year it was held in Seville.
Last week the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, met with Goya representatives in Madrid and explained that he hoped an agreement could be signed imminently. The city will have to find around 1.5 million euros towards the estimated two-million cost. "We're going in the right direction," said the mayor, "but we aren't counting the deal as done yet."
Malaga's candidacy is the only one outside the award's normal base in Madrid for 2020. Organisers need a venue with a 3,000 seating capacity. Working with the mayor are the Junta regional government and the Diputación provincial authority, and Unicaja Banco has expressed an interest in supporting with sponsorship. Other cities have backed out or have said they will bid in 2021.
The final decision should be taken in a board meeting at the film academy on Monday, 29 July. Key to making the decision will be the views of show producer Emiliano Otegui, himself a three-time winner of a Goya, and head of sponsorship and awards, Ana Nuñez. Both were in Malaga this week.
The ceremony would provide a boost both to the image of the city and local hotel suppliers, especially at a quieter time of year on the Costa. Next year's Goyas will move from February to January as the Oscars have been brought forward to early February in Hollywood.
Initially it looked like Palma de Mallorca would be the favoured candidate, but the cost of flights for all the participants made it less attractive. Bilbao and Zaragoza also suggested that they might be interested in hosting the ceremony but never formalised their offers. Valencia was also interested but eventually delayed its candidacy to 2021, the centenary of the birth of Valencian filmmaker, Luis García Berlanga.
Malaga is therefore the only remaining candidacy outside Madrid, helped by good connections with the AVE train. The only alternative now to Malaga for organisers is to hold the event in Madrid nearer its base, where costs are less.
On Tuesday, after the reconnaissance visit, the mayor added that "the academy wants the Goyas to be in Malaga".
The first Goyas were awarded in 1987. The name for the awards comes from the famous Spanish painter of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Francisco de Goya, because of the sequential characteristic of his painting akin to filmmaking. In addition the name has just two syllables, easy to remember like the Oscars or the French César award.