Argentina film board dips into TV

Incaa diversifies financing to online and videogames too

BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s state film board Incaa, a major source of financing for the country’s 70-plus features a year, is now funding content for the Internet and TV as well as videogames.

Incaa prexy Liliana Mazure said a fund has been created to cover 100% of the costs for projects selected through public tenders.

The aim is to expand output to meet growing demand from digital media, both private and public.

The government needs to fill schedules on a series of 16 state digital channels like kiddie-focused Paka Paka it is creating for a $2 billion digital feed launched last October to transmit TV content for free via state satellites and antennas.

“We are in times of profound technological change,” said Tristan Bauer, director of multi-prized “Blessed by Fire” who now oversees Argentine state media. “The government has decided to be present in this new time.”

The financing will come from different sources than a $40 million film fund that has made it possible for Argentina to build the most prolific production market in South America.

“The initiative opens new doors and new opportunities, in particular for new players,” said Leo Zanutto, a producer at Mancha, which launched three years ago to make online fiction series like subway-set “Combinaciones” (Combinations) for the online edition of Buenos Aires newspaper La Nacion.

Yet for established companies, the fund is limited, he added.

Incaa, for example, will cover the $150,000 budget for a miniseries. That’s enough to complete the production yet without a profit or the artistic and technical quality for DVD and foreign sales, Zanutto said.

Another concern is over rights. Incaa will get full rights in exchange for covering 100% of the budget. This will prevent producers from exporting and spinning off a series into DVDs and online editions, he said.

A solution, he suggested, would be for Incaa to return the rights to the producers after two years for expanding sales to improve profits.

No matter, Zanutto and others see the initiative as a way of discovering new talent, something tough today with tight schedules on broadcast TV and in film because of the barriers in getting a project to screen. Incaa, for example, doesn’t release some funds until a feature is released in 35 MM, a tough prospect for indies in a market 85% dominated by Hollywood.

Haddock Films topper Vanessa Ragone, who is behind hits like Juan Jose Campanella’s “The Secret in Their Eyes,” said the new fund could expand online fiction content so newcomers can get themselves known.

“There will be more potential for creating artists and new talent, and for finding them,” she said.

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