Argentine newspaper La Nacion has highlighted the relative dearth of admissions for local films despite the increasing number of releases, international festival awards and a general upsurge in film production.

According to the paper's analysis of the last six months, while there were 10 more releases in the first half of this year - a total of 27, they attracted little more than half the number of admissions: 1,253,500 compared with 2000's 1,893,600. And one film on current release, Eduardo Mignogna's La Fuga, accounts for more than half of this year's total, having attracted 684,000 admissions.

Despite this grim news, film production remains robust, with current hops riding on three youth-oriented films, Tobi Y El Libro Magico, Chiquititas: Rincon De Luz and Anteojito Y Antifaz. However, the application of a new 21% tax on the entertainment and media sectors has raised ticket prices across the country and may further discourage filmgoers from supporting national output.

Ironically, Argentina's film industry has been celebrating a renaissance of sorts with new filmmakers raking in awards from prestigious festivals including Lucrecia Martel's Golden Bear for best debut, La Cienega, in Berlin and most recently, the Youth Award for Adrian Caetano's Bolivia in Cannes. A growing number of Argentine films have sold abroad. Sony Pictures Classics recently picked up North American rights to last year's box office hit Nueve Reinas.