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Praca do Comercio is one of the landmarks of the parish of Santa Maria Maior in Lisbon

Lisbon mayors in a spat over Netflix filming in the city

Lisbon mayors in a spat over Netflix filming in the city

Production activities bring money and renown to the Portuguese capital but also inconveniences

Earlier this week, a dispute arose between two levels of the Lisbon metropolis caused by the authorization for a Netflix filming production to take place in July. Miguel Coelho, the mayor of the Parish Council of Santa Maria Maior, which comprises the historical core of the city and includes many of the picturesque heritage sites, was unhappy with the authorization of the production for 8 nights in a row.

He argues that this would effectively disturb the local residents’ rights to mobility and rest. The mayor of Lisbon (the overall municipality), Carlos Moedas, however, is of the opinion that such interventions are necessary and should be welcomed as they boost the tourism and economic appeal of the Portuguese capital.

Cultural industry mired in controversy

Miguel Coelho said, quoted by The Portugal News, that what is at stake is "night footage that involves closing blocks, entire streets, changes in traffic, which imply noise, shooting scenes, crashing cars, motorcycle chases on stairs”, which he considered to be “very difficult to achieve”.

Speaking to the Lusa agency, the mayor stressed that the planned filming of “eight nights in a row”, between 18:00 and 08:00, will “very sharply penalize the quality of life, the right to peace and rest for people living in the territory”, as well as the rights of movement, access and parking, as a result of the “massive occupation” of public space by the film production.

The mayor of the City of Lisbon, however, stated that the capital must stay open to the opportunities that the modern cinematic industries provide. He even described that refusing such a chance was “unthinkable”.

How all of this will be resolved remains to be seen. Carlos Moedas assured that he was keeping in touch daily with the parish mayor and had offered him to have a constructive eye-to-eye discussion about the issue.

"I think the two of us are going to sit down and find a solution so that everyone can be happy at this point and so that the filming can take place in a way that doesn't bother people too much because I don't want people to be bothered either," said the Mayor of Lisbon, who is currently outside of the city on a visit to the ARCOmadrid art fair in the Spanish capital.

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