Argentina produces more than 60 films annually that are commercially released (the number of super independent productions that don´t make it into cinemas is impossible to calculate, but let´s say, at least 100 more). Hollywood releases about twice that. In other words, a country with about 10% the population of the US manages to make half the number of films of the largest superpower in the world.
Is this a cause for celebration or a cause for concern?
Aside from a few blockbusters like “Música en Espera” and “Un novio por mi Mujer” most Argentine films do not convoke a large audience in Argentina. Some films find success on the festival circuit, but most don´t make their money back. And they don´t have to: the grand majority of films are financed by the INCAA, the national film board. This money is collected from a tax on all movie ticket sales.
Right now there is a huge debate taking place in the INCAA and the filming community in general: should Argentina make fewer films? Arguments for less production include that the same money could be given to less films, but these films could be more rigorously selected and receive more money. The cons shoot back with “cinema is art, not business” and that if too few films are chosen, corruption would reign.
Will Argentina be known for its art house successes or industrial output that is viewed at the multiplex? That is the question. . .