ON the eve of the fourth Ibizan Film Festival, British actress Jacqueline Bisset who is to act as President of the jury, said yesterday that the recession is making it very difficult to promote new talent in the cinema industry.

Speaking at the conference centre in Santa Eularia, Bisset was exchanging views with Madrid's actor and writer Carlos Bardem - brother of the Oscar-winning actor, Javier Bardem - and Antonio Isasi, veteran of the Spanish film world. “I think that Ibiza is a great place to hold a film festival,” said Bisset. “Success depends on the quality of the films which are brought here - I still haven't seen any which are to compete.”

Bardem, also a jury member, said it was going to be a humbling experience judging the work of others because he was so much more accustomed to others expressing opinions about his own performances and writing.

Antoni Isasi said that the festival was an ideal platform from which to raise awareness about the scarcity of funds with which to hold such an event. “Government should see the festival as an opportunity to promote the island,” he suggested. “It's a very difficult moment for the whole industry,” he added. “Only the greatest creative personalities are likely to survive.” Bardem said that Isasi was uniquely placed to speak with authority about how to survive in the film world at times of crisis. “He came to fame during the era of General Franco in Spain, producing films with marvellous action which were distributed internationally,” the actor claimed of Isasi.

Bisset said she was saddened how the cinema industry in Spain is being affected by economic cut backs, as indeed seems to be the case in other countries, she added. “It seems the recession is having a deep effect on culture,” Bisset commented.

She was sceptical about new talent in the film world being able to push its way forward without economic backing. Isasi agreed citing the work of young Ibizan cineast David Marques, Desechos, which won the last Film Festival in Malaga. “Marques hasn't been able to do anything with his embryonic work,” explained Isasi.

Bisset, recognised for her contribution to cinema on both sides of the Atlantic since the 1970s, said that the difference between the cinema industry in the United States and in Europe is that “the Americans make movies to appeal to a mass consumer audience, and Europe makes quality films as an art form.”