Here in Cannes, the Mexican Film Institute unveiled the restoration and redevelopment plans for the Cineteca Nacional, the world’s biggest cinematheque.

The Mexican government has spent €22m restoring and expanding the country’s film archive and national film centre, and improvements include four additional auditoria (for a total of 10 screens) and a new videotheque.

Its film archive facilties will also be expanded, a digital restoration lab will restore and preserve films, and there will be ‘green’ spaces and restaurants for audiences.

As a result of the investment in the renovation and development, admissions to the Cineteca are projected to double from 630,516 in 2011 to 1.2m a year in 2013. The Cineteca has traditionally attracted a young audience, with 22 years old being the average age of its cinema-goers.

Paula Astorga, General Director of Cineteca Nacional says, “Film can only be truly alive if people are able to see it and enjoy it, so the investment in our screening facilities is vital to the archive, as well as for art-house and contemporary cinema programming, and in addition to providing the equipment to preserve and restore our film heritage.    I believe that we are now the biggest cinemathèque in the world and having 10 screens will enable us to welcome more cinema-goers and programme an even wider diversity of cinema.  The whole film experience for audiences will be enriched through being able to see exhibitions and other related film materials.”

Marina Stavenhagen, General Director, Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, added, “The restoration and renovation of the Cineteca Nacional is an important investment in Mexico’s film culture for both filmmakers and audiences.  The investment in the building and high-end technology will ensure that the Cineteca is one of the best equipped venues for cultural film around the world, to continue its work in rescue and preservation, as well as promoting filmmaking excellence from across decades.” 

Filmmakers that have visited Cineteca in the past include Theo Angelopoulos, David Cronenberg, Bruno Dumont, Peter Greenaway, Werner Herzog, Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Naomi Kawase, Mike Leigh, Nicolas Philibert, Ulrich Seidl, Bela Tarr, Liv Ullmann, and Mexican filmmakers such as Carlos Reygadas and Guillermo Del Toro.

The whole renovation has been funded by the Federal Government through the National Council for Culture and the Arts of Mexico.