Argentina’s Flourishing Film Industry
Argentina is known for the vibrancy and diversity of its artistic production. Brought up on a rich and varied cultural diet, the Argentinian people possess a high level of appreciation for the valuable contribution made by the country’s cultural industries to their quality of life as well as to their national economy. These industries, such as in the audiovisual sector, have traditionally crossed global borders, in terms of both what they give to – and what they gain from – other countries of the world.
Recent years have witnessed significant growth in the size and technical capacity of Argentina’s film, television and advertising industries. A new generation of talented young film directors is attracting international interest, as are the high standards of output by the country’s authors, actors and producers. Argentinean films are winning critical acclaim at international festivals, and on cinema and television screens around the world.
Boosting export revenues
The country’s 2004 economic indicators reflect this dynamism. Revenue from Argentina’s exports in the film sector last year rose faster than in any other sector, with an increase of 1,000 percent over the 2003 figures. Some 70 new films were produced or co-produced nationally. Daniel Burman’s El Abrazo Partido (Lost Embrace) won two prestigious Silver Bear awards –for Best Picture and for Best Actor – at the 2004 Berlin Festival. Crowds thronged to the annual international film festivals in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata. Rights to Argentinean screenplays were bought by major Hollywood producers: Fabian Bielinksy’s Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) was recently remade by Hollywood as Criminal. Lucrecia Martel’s 2004 Cannes Film Festival Competition entry, La Niňa Santa (Holy Girl), opened in New York in May. Meanwhile, the sector’s reputation for professionalism resulted in a steady demand from outside film companies seeking to engage local producers.
Copyright as a tool
As the cultural industries have expanded, so has the importance of copyright and related rights as the means of providing IP protection for the creators, and for all those involved in distributing and commercializing their works. This was the conclusion shared by the producers, directors, actors and entertainment lawyers attending a WIPO seminar in Buenos Aires in April 2005 on the subject of “Audiovisual works: their creation, production and exploitation.”
The seminar was held in the University of Buenos Aires, with the support of the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) and the Spanish Collective Management Society for the Rights of Audiovisual Producers (EGEDA), as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations from Argentina, Spain and Latin America. Discussions included legal questions, such as the various forms of contracts used in the different sectors; financial and taxation aspects, including financial subsidies; and issues relating to distribution and access to international markets. The aim was to offer a dynamic approach to the management of audiovisual works, based on a vision of copyright as a tool to reward creativity, to promote access to knowledge and to entertainment, and to strengthen cultural diversity.