The survival of Europe's film industry depends on cooperation, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas said at the opening of the 20th Spanish and Ibero-American cinema week in the Bulgarian capital.

"It is very important for all of us working in movie making to be united, since (European) cinema is experiencing very difficult moments now," he said, citing a sharp decline in filmgoers, the problem of piracy and competition from big Hollywood studios.

Banderas is in Sofia to film "Automata," a science-fiction flick featuring himself and wife Melanie Griffith and directed by the Spaniard.

Referring to the 16-hour days he has been putting in to make the film, the actor quipped: "It's the life of a worker."

Banderas, an ambassador for "Brand Spain," was introduced at the festival opening by the Spanish envoy to Bulgaria, Jose Luis Tapia.

The actor confirmed that he has agreed to star in Carlos Saura's film about Pablo Picasso, a project Banderas described as "very special for many, many reasons."

The Malaga native pointed out that he was born about two blocks away from Picasso's birthplace.

Saura's film will focus on specific episodes in the artist's life, such as the period when Picasso painted "Guernica," a depiction of the devastating airstrike on that northern Spanish town during the country's 1936-1939 civil war. EFE