Pedro Almodovar, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, Andy Muschietti, Juan Antonio Bayona and the four-time Oscar winner Alejandro González Iñárritu They are some of the dozens of directors, producers and actors from Hollywood and Europe who expressed their support for the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) and his opposition to the cultural reforms of the omnibus law presented by the national government.
“The survival of the Argentine film industry and the community of cultural workers is currently threatened by the far-right government of Javier Milei,” reads the statement from film industry collective Cine Argentino Unidos.
The document bears the signature of international film stars such as the French actress Isabelle Huppert and prestigious directors such as Walter Salles, Pablo Larraín, Asif Kapadia, Abel Ferrara, Aki Kaurismäki and Justine Trietwhose film Anatomy of a fall She was the last winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
The bill, currently being debated in Congress, puts in check state support for Argentine cinema by eliminating some of the sources of income of the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) and modifying its structure. INCAA financing is not provided by taxpayers, but of the assignments of rights of the audiovisual industry. The bill also provides for the elimination of funding for the state film school ENERC and the elimination of the screen fee for Argentine films in cinemas.
“The proposed laws represent a total reduction of the promotion fund, also destroying the autonomy of the Film Institute. This single measure makes our work impossible. In addition, the eight headquarters of the National School of Film Experimentation and Production (ENERC), public and free, throughout the country they will stop receiving financing,” the statement says.
After an immediate reaction from the local film industry – which included speeches at the Directors’ Congress Santiago Miter and Lucrecia Marteland from Oscar-winning producers Vanessa Ragone and Axel Kuschevatzky-, the cultural chapter of the bill was reviewed and modified.
But the changes, announced yesterday, are seen by many as insignificant.
“The bill offered a Dracula, and after ‘almost’ changing it, they now offer a Frankenstein,” a producer and member of Cine Argentino Unidos told the Buenos Aires Herald.
The modifications are not enough
For example, the new version establishes that the financing of the INCAA will not be affected, but continues to include an article that establishes that the Executive Branch has the power to redistribute the funds of autonomous entities. This would mean that The president could remove INCAA funds and allocate them to other State agencies at any time.
Screen quotas for local films are eliminated, as well as the requirement that a film must be spoken primarily in Spanish to be considered Argentine and eligible for a subsidy. Therefore, any foreign film shot in Argentina could request state financing.
In the original bill, the INCAA (ENERC) network of public film schools was completely defunded. The new version establishes that no more than 25% of the INCAA budget should be allocated to internal management, seriously limiting the financing necessary to keep ENERC schools operating.
Both Martel and Ragone had stated that film professionals agree on the need to reform the structure and funding system of the National Film Institute, but that this should occur after a process of informed debate.
In his speech in Congress, Martel said that reading the bill reveals that those who wrote it “They did not communicate with the sector, or they did so with prejudices towards the film industryperhaps due to lack of time or ignorance, and we still have time to remedy it.
“I suggest that bills regulating cinema be made once the Government learns how cinema works, rather than offering improvised rules.”
*Originally published in Buenos Aires Herald.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.