Local filmmaker Jorge Coscia takes over the reins of Argentina's national film institute INCAA this week, filling a void that left the state-backed entity in limbo and many film productions in the lurch. Coscia replaces Jose Miguel Onaindia who resigned following the ouster of President Fernando de la Rua in December.

Coscia, who directed nine films of which he wrote the screenplays for six, has pledged to retain the institute's annual budget of $15.5m (31m pesos) and keep Argentina's A-list film festival Mar del Plata running at all costs (see separate story). Given the current financial crisis in Argentina, he plans to manage INCAA with a combination of austerity, transparency, prudence and common sense.

Coscia made his directorial debut in 1987 with Sentimientos. Regarded as one of the most honest movies about the military dictatorship in Argentina, it is widely considered his best film. Oddly enough, Coscia's El General Y La Fiebre (1990), a drama about Argentine national hero San Martin and the illness he suffered, features current Argentine secretary of culture Ruben Stella playing the role of San Martin.

'I think it's a mistake to keep believing that a film director can run a purely administrative entity like the film institute, but I wish him the best of luck,' said Los Angeles-based Argentinean producer Ricardo Freixa.