Argentine films have had a banner year so far in 2000 according to local film institute INCAA, accounting for 19.8% of the domestic box office and racking up admissions of 6.2 million, up 700,000 on the previous year.

Of the 41 homegrown films released since January 2000, five titles attracted an average of 600,000 admissions: Papa Es Un Idolo, directed by Juan Jose Jusid; Corazon, Las Alegrias De Pantriste, from Manuel Garcia Ferre; Fabian Bielinsky's Nueve Reinas; Apariencias by Alberto Lecchi and Plata Quemada by Marcelo Pineyro. The average budget per film in Argentina ranges from $1.2m to $1.5m.

But the bad news is that the Argentine government is keeping INCAA's budget at $30m for 2001. INCAA's original budget of $60m was cut in half following fund embezzlement charges against its former director, Julio Maharbiz, in 1998. The institute's budget is partly sourced from a 10% tax levied on box office receipts.

Current INCAA director Jose Miguel Onanindia is fighting to recover the institute's original status as an independent government office, lost under Maharbiz' tenure. "Despite the problems, many films have completed production, 50 local films will have been released by year's end and several have been invited to participate in international film festivals," said INCAA promotion co-ordinator Jorge Sabate. As many as 17 films are currently in production while 48 are in post-production.