After the first projection of a cinematographer in Spain by 1896, cinema developed in the following years, with Barcelona becoming the largest production hub in the country (as well as a major European hub) on the eve of the World War I. The conflict offered the Spanish industry of silent films an opportunity for further growth. Local studios for sound films were created in 1932. The government imposition of dubbing of foreign films in 1941 accustomed Spanish audiences to watching dubbed films.

Spanish cinema has achieved major international success including Oscars for recent films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Volver.

Distinct exploitation genres that flourished in the second half of the 20th century include the Fantaterror, the cine quinqui and the so-called destape films.

As of 2021, the festivals of San Sebastián and Málaga are ranked among the top cultural initiatives in the country.

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