BUENOS AIRES – Some 200 professionals with the Argentine film industry gathered on Monday before the headquarters of the National Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) to protest against the government over the forced resignation of the entity’s director and to ask that their financing methods be respected.
With slogans such as “Defending Argentine Film” and “Support INCAA,” along with criticism of Culture Minister Pablo Avelluto, the demonstration attracted scriptwriters, directors, actors, producers and all sorts of other film professionals and students to Buenos Aires.
“National film is at risk because there’s a fund that nourishes the industry ... which is at risk because of government intervention,” Argentine actor Dario Grandinetti, who participated in the protest, told EFE.
The demonstrators demanded that – thanks to the 10 percent tax on movie ticket sales, which is reinvested in film and the rule according to which audiovisual firms are paid for the use of the airwaves – Argentine film continue to finance itself, although the government is seeking to change that system.
“It’s not done with the money of retirees, or with the taxes that people pay, and the teachers will not fail to be paid,” said Grandinetti, discussing the way in which Argentine film is financed, going on to note that the film industry also creates jobs.
The conflict with the government erupted last week when the culture minister called for the resignation of then-INCAA president Alejandro Cacetta due to a “need to accelerate and deepen all the processes to improve administration” of the state-run entity.
Avelluto said later that the Anticorruption Office will investigate Cacetta’s tenure in the post for “possible irregularities” in contracts, transfers, advertising and purchases by INCAA.
The demonstration on Monday said that the move comes as part of a campaign against the film industry.
“This is a smokescreen to cover up what is in truth a move on the funds,” scriptwriter Esteban Wolfenson told EFE.
“Having a strong film industry is important because, first, film is a way of looking at reality ... (and) second, if it didn’t exist, the only view we’d have would be that of the great film powers, basically that of Hollywood,” Wolfenson said.