Argentina to fete local pix with Sur awards

Initial event will be held in December

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s Film Arts and Sciences Academy will launch its first Sur awards ceremony for local films, a la the Oscars or Spanish Goyas, in December.

The initial event will be held in December, newly elected academy prexy Pablo Bossi told artists and industryites at a gala in Buenos Aires.

In subsequent years, the event is to be televised, says the producer and ex-prexy of Disney-backed production house Patagonik Film Group.

The academy’s members — currently 233 — will nominate each year’s contenders in 21 categories.

They reformed the academy in 2004 after a previous military government disbanded it in 1955. It is associated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Hollywood. The members select the country’s Goya and Oscar candidates.

The academy also plans to press for greater exhibition of local movies, composer and academy secretary Jose Luis Castineira de Dios says.

This is a response to complaints from local artists and producers of poor exhibition, limited promotional finance and a lack of airtime on local broadcast TV.

The 25 domestic releases in the first half of 2006 took 4.2% of ticket sales, narrower than a normal 6-7%, despite a 16% surge in total admissions and 34% rise in grosses. Hollywood films, with vastly bigger marketing budgets, snared 88% of admissions, up from 85% in the first half of 2005. Argentina produces 60-70 features a year, many of them partially financed by the state.

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