Argentina’s Far-Right Leader Scraps Plan To Gut State Film Funding

Javier Milei, Argentina’s new far-right leader, has walked back plans to dismantle state funding for the country’s National Institute of Film and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA).

The change was made as part of a last-minute amendment to Milei’s controversial and wide-reaching “Omnibus bill,” which Argentina’s federal commissions accepted early Wednesday morning. The bill will now be the subject of a final debate in Congress on Thursday, but the state funding of cinema is off the table for now.

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News of the deal to secure INCAA’s funding will allow local filmmakers to breathe a sigh of relief following a volatile few weeks of campaigning in opposition to Milei and his bill.

As we reported earlier, high-profile names from across the international film community voiced their concern over the new President’s proposed changes to the funding of INCAA and cinema in the country. Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Justine Triet and Isabelle Huppert were among those in the industry who signed a letter (organized by local film union Cine Argentino Unido) supporting Argentinian filmmakers against the cuts.

Milei’s bill had proposed the elimination of part of INCAA’s funding.

State funding for cinema in Argentina is unique, fueled by what locals describe as two “self-funded” cash pots: the first composed of a tax on cinema tickets, followed by cash receipts from a government levy on broadcasting companies. Milei’s bill proposed the elimination of the latter, which funds the bulk of state packages.

“It would be the end of Argentinian cinema as we know it. It’s as simple as that,” veteran Los Angeles-based Argentinian producer Axel Kuschevatzky (Argentina, 1985) told Deadline of the bill. “Argentina will go from producing about 200 movies a year to producing a handful, and those films will be supported mostly by streamers.”

Other key changes to Milei’s bill include a switch in his approach to privatizing public companies. Alongside the state oil company YPF, state electric company Nucleoeléctrica Argentina and national bank Banco Nación are now up for only partial privatization.

A final decision on the bill will be made by Argentina’s Congress in the coming days.

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