Venezuela has outlawed local film guilds Anac and Caveprol after they sent an open letter urging Danny Glover not to take $18 million from the government to fund his pet project “Toussaint.” Culture Minister Francisco Sesto has also instructed state-backed film institute Cnac to cut all ties with the guilds.
Move is yet another strike against the country’s audiovisual industry where its oldest TV station RCTV has been shuttered for allegedly inciting rebellion and dissent. Another TV station, 24-hour news channel Globovision, is also under increasing pressure to toe the line or risk being closed down.
The president’s year-old state-sponsored studio complex Villa del Cine will funnel $18 million into the $30 million “Toussaint” which Glover plans to co-produce as well as make his feature directing debut. In their letter, the guilds pointed out that this funding could finance scores of Venezuelan films.
“By shutting us out, the government supposedly wants to give opportunities to new filmmakers,” said director Jose Ramon Novoa. But the guilds complain the Chavez administration has bypassed competitive bidding as stipulated in the film law to give Glover his funding. “What kind of example does this give to our young filmmakers who see that all they need to do is curry favor with politicians to get their films made,” the letter asks.
These guilds (Asociacion Nacional de Autores Cinematograficos and the Camara Venezolana de Productores de Largometrajes) represent nearly 400-plus Venezuelan filmmakers, including writers and producers.