Argentinian government suspends state funding to national film body INCAA

The announcement was made on March 11 via the country's Ministry of Human Capital

By Gabriella Geisinger 13 Mar 2024

Argentinian government suspends state funding to national film body INCAA
Javier Milei; Cr: Cancillería Argentina / Cc By 2.0 Deed

Argentina's government has moved ahead with plans to withdraw all state funding from the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), Argentina's national film body.

The announcement was made on March 11 via the country's Ministry of Human Capital, which claimed the INCAA had a $4m deficit.

Argentinian director and writer Benjamín Naishtat appeared on Radio con vos, an Argentinian radio station, to decry the decision. "There is a kind of cruelty towards cinema because it is a sector not aligned with this political proposal that has made culture in general and cinema in particular an enemy, a scapegoat," he said.

The government statement read: “Our commitment to a zero budget deficit is non-negotiable. The time when film festivals were financed with the hunger of thousands of children is over." The official resolution was published March 12 and revealed the full extent and timings of the funding suspension, including to festivals such as the Buenos Aires-based market Ventana Sur, overtime payments, mobile phone contracts, financing for national film releases, and more. 

On X, Chilean screenwriter Gonzalo Maza, who wrote 2017's A Fantastic Woman posted: “Today is a horrible day for Argentinian cinema, one of the most powerful film production sectors in this part of the world. Chilean script writers and directors have been inspired by Argentinian films forever. They have our full solidarity in this awful moment they are going through.”

Vanessa Ragone, a veteran producer behind 2009's Goya nominated Secrets Of Their Eyes, also posted on X: "A very sad path begins for Argentinian cinema" adding that the measures are a "'cultural battle' that is now aimed at destroying audiovisual activity."

Cine Argentino Unido, the coalition group representing Argentinian film organisations, are planning a large-scale protest against the cuts on Thursday, in front of Buenos Aires' iconic Gaumont Cinema. 

In statements across social media, the Cine Argentino Unido wrote: "We demand that the new INCAA authorities work together with the film community to find solutions that protect and strengthen an industry that generates work, while preserving an invaluable cultural heritage.

"It is the responsibility of the National Government to ensure the integrity of the Argentinian people as a whole, preserving and not attacking the cultural sovereignty of the country."

The suspension of state funding to INCAA follows a raft of layoffs revealed last week and the ending of INCAA's financial support for film schools and festivals across the country. 

Proposed cuts to Argentina's audiovisual industry have been in various stages since January when the newly-elected-president Javier Milei first proposed defunding INCAA and scrapping the country’s film schools. Milei seemed to backpedal on the plans in the wake of protests from Cine Argentino Unido and industry stalwarts such as Justine Triet, Pedro Almodóvar, and Aki Kaurismäki amongst others. 

However, during the Berlin Film Festival, calls for support from Cine Argentino Unido were made in the face of the renewed-proposal for cuts, which have now come to pass.

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