Argentina president also raises film subsidies

Liliana Mazure, prexy of Argentina’s Incaa Film Institute, arrives today at the Venice Film Market with a spring in her step.

Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner unveiled Wednesday state plans for a huge Buenos Aires studio and office complex, plus a national film subsidy hike and — implicitly — sales tax breaks for movie production.

Together, the measures look set to take the local film industry to a new level and make Argentina a more attractive co-production partner and shoot locale.

Wednesday on national TV, Fernandez de Kirchner said her government would create a public-private state company harnessing state pension funds to attract private investment for the Polo Audiovisual Isla Demarchi.

The 1,291,669 sq. ft. industrial park will be built in a rundown area just off Buenos Aires’ chic waterfront Puerto Madero district, where Latin American film market Ventana Sur unspools every December.

The president called on real-estate developers to help build studios, production and business offices, plus recreation areas for the public.

Argentinean state subsidy caps, previously set at 3 million peso (around $650,000) per movie, will now nearly double to $1.2 million.

The hike will allow Argentinean producers to bring far more money to the table for international co-productions: Currently, they sometimes struggle to meet the minimum percentage-of-budget requirements that would allow movies to qualify for Argentine nationality, hence subsidies.

Kirchner also announced that film and TV would gain strategic industry status, which could usher in film production exemptions from Argentina’s 21% sales tax.

Announcing the film and TV measures, Kirchner paid tribute to the overseas prestige and export vibrancy of Argentinean films and TV shows, capped by Juan Jose Campanella’s foreign-language film Academy Award win for 2009′s “The Secret in Their Eyes.”

She also tubthumped the international prestige of Buenos Aires’ Latin American film mart Ventana Sur, co-organized by Argentina’s Incaa, which has one of the central stands at the Venice Film Market, and the Cannes Festival Market.

Relatively low shoot costs and Buenos Aires’ high-quality technicians have already attracted international shoots to Argentina.

Many more, especially if the Polo Audiovisual offers top-flight studio facilities, could now follow.

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