by Lauren Pringle, contributing blogger
Funding for television content in Argentina has always been a challenge: the few private broadcasters that commission do so mainly in house or with associated production companies. This has kept independent producers out of the market, and limited the quantity of hours produced. A new initiative has been created by the INCAA (Argentine Film Board, responsible for financing most films made in Argentina) that will encourage the growth of independent film and documentaries by finding them homes on public and private television.
The INCAA will fund hundreds of hours of new television series, allowing smaller production companies, who have previously focused on films, to enter the market.
The initiative will offer coverage and exposure for independent film makers to develop and encourage new talent across Argentina, as well as creating much more television content, ranging from “telenovelas” with social themes to dramas, comedies and factual series.
To quote Charles Newberry from The Variety he explains how “The initiative came from a state initiative to finance indie programs to fill the slates of Pubcasters –and eventually a state DTT network – spawning the production of 220 series in 2011; an estimated 300 are in the pipeline for this year”. With exciting statistics the prospect of film here in Argentina looks hopeful.
Telenovela writer Jorge Maestro wholly supports the idea says “This is the road we need to take to develop talent.” Gonzalo Ferrari Nicolay is an example of some exciting new talent discovered by the program. To quote Charles Newberry “After a change of career, he got his big break as a producer when he won a DTT commission for historical documentary “The Broken Wing: The Life of Jorge Newbery” a famous Argentine aviator (and namesake of the BsAs domestic airport). The project had been pitched to various big wigs but no-one took an interest. With state financing, the documentary was aired this year.
Television viewers have also enjoyed a boom in new series: whereas many broadcasters have offered mainly magazine and news content (with a lot of gossip and pretty girls mixed in) this year these same broadcasters are now showing original factual and fiction programming. “Canal 9”, which offered no original fiction programming for almost five years, now offers fictional series of high quality that were funded by the INCAA. The goal is that this content and/or the formats can be exported overseas (Argentina has traditionally exported children´s and telenovela formats).
Foreign producers should note that there are also opportunities for funding of international co-productions. At San Telmo Productions, we are working on developing narrative content to present in the upcoming calls for projects.
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Following a similar initiative last year, the Argentine Government has announced the second edition of a national competition to produce content to be shown on the country’s digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform.
Called Prime Time 2012, the competition will select eight original fictional TV series of up to 13 episodes of 48 minutes each. They will have to be produced in Full HD, with eligible participants restricted to national free-to-air channels and TV production companies partnering with a free-to-air channel.
The competition is being jointly run by the Advising Council for SATVD-T (Argentinean System for Digital Terrestrial Television) and the National Interuniversity Council (CIN).
Those interested in participating will need get on writing their scripts, though, as applications will only be received between the 24th of January and the 3rd of February, 2012. Terms and conditions are available on www.cin.edu.ar and www.tda.gob.ar.