Imcine focuses on riskier pics

Stavenhagen to back auteurs

CANNES — Distribution, education and a fuller support for “riskier,” non-commercial films: these are priorities of Mexico’s Imcine Film Institute, per Marina Stavenhagen, its newly appointed general director.

Stavenhagen’s declarations came, appropriately enough, on the eve of Carlos Reygadas’ “Silent Light” bow in official competition at Cannes Tuesday.

While “Light” reportedly reps something of a move toward the mainstream for Reygadas after exultantly left-of-field “Japon” and “Battle in Heaven,” Stavenhagen insists that Reygadas and other Mexican auteurs deserve state support.

Her brief is wide. “There’s a rich creative diversity in Mexico. It’s healthy when the country can produce such wide-ranging films as ‘Una pelicula de huevos,’ ‘KM. 31,’ and ‘El violin,’ ” she said.

A former scribe (“Streeters”), Stavenhagen was tapped January after new president Felipe Cardenas took office Dec. 1.

Stavenhagen is still shaping film policy.

But it is inevitably being influenced by Mexico’s film tax breaks, which were finally clarified in mid-March.

They offer 100% write-offs on film investment up to 10% of tax bills, an attractive incentive.

The new schemes could see up to $50 million flowing into Mexican production per year.

Imcine operates two funds: Fidecine, for quality commercial fare, and Foprocine, for art pics. Their total coin is around pesos 140 million ($13 million).

“I’d like to think the tax coin will finance popcorn pics, and Imcine can concentrate on quality genre fare, auteurs and experimental films,” Stavenhagen said.

Imcine will look to establish Mexican film videothecques in school classrooms. “We should educate audiences so that they choose the films they want to see,” she said.

Only a small minority of Mexicans have access to cinemas. So Imcine is also looking to establish a network of digital cinemas in Mexico.

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