You Burn Me

Source: Berlin International Film Festival

‘You Burn Me’

Argentinian filmmakers are uniting under the banner Cine Argentino Unido to gather in Berlin on Tuesday to raise awareness of the unfolding public funding crisis in the country.

National film and TV institute INCAA, which funds most of the country’s local productions, has been unable to allocate money since Nicolas Batlle resigned as head last December in protest over the election of far-right president Javier Milei.

Milei has promised a programme of deep cuts to help fix the country’s ravaged economy and the industry fears cultural funding is high up his list.

The far-right government is attempting to eliminate and defund all of our national cultural institutions,” said Melanie Schapiro of Trapecio cine, producer of Matias Piñeiro’s You Burn Me (pictured), which is premiering here in Encounters.

The film institute has been headless since December, which hampers its normal operations,” she continued. “The ENERC, a free film university, has also been deeply affected by the lack of funding.”

The film community is on high alert for cuts despite a rejection by lawmakers of public sector cuts and a walk-back by the president on proposals to slash INCAA funding and close film schools.

INCAA cannot elect a new head without jumping through numerus bureaucratic hoops. While funds remain frozen there has been no stand at the Gropius Bau this year, nor financial support for filmmakers travelling to festivals and markets.

This is despite a strong Berlinale presence from Argentinian filmmakers including Nele Wahlatz’s Sleep With Eyes Open in Encounters; Ingrid Pokropek’s The Major Tones in Generation Plus; and Lola Arias’ Forum documentary Reas.

Julieta Amalric’s Next Apparition and Agustina San Martín’s The Numbered Days are taking part in the Berlin Co-Production market.

Santiago Gallelli of Rei Pictures, producer of Lucretia Martel’s anticipated documentary Chocobar, notes INCAA’s predicament marks a worrying trend that has seen funding levels decline since 2020. He wants to see a streamer levy to help fund Argentinian film and TV funding and a programme of incentives to support productions.

Producer Ignacio Rey of Leyenda agrees: “The amount of INCAA subsidies is the lowest in dollars in the last 30 years. I’m very concerned.”

Rey, who is currently producing Goyo by Marcos Carnevale and Gabriel Nesci’s Message In A Bottle, is also calling for the introduction of a national cash rebate to stimulate local production and attract international shoots.

Cine Argentino Unido is gathering at the Kino Arsenal at 11am on Tuesday February 20.