Argentina boosts film subsidies

INCAA will pay out maximum of $1.06 million

BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s government Friday raised the maximum amount of film subsidies to help producers contend with rising costs that have been stalling projects.

The national film institute, INCAA, will now pay out a maximum of 3.5 million pesos ($1.06 million) compared with $758,000, according to a decree signed by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Average production costs have risen to $697,000 from $394,000 over the past year or so because of 25% annual inflation and rising wages.

This has led producers to put projects on hold in anticipation of the higher subsidies from INCAA, which is a major source of financing for the industry out of a $30 million annual fund. Producers have said they fear a slowing economy and rising inflation will cut B.O. receipts and make it harder to turn a profit.

The tougher times are spurring more genre pics as producers seek larger audiences, a strategy that gained steam after the runaway success of Juan Taratuto’s romantic comedy “Un novio para mi mujer” (A Boyfriend for My Wife). It sold more 1.38 million tickets this year to become the hottest homegrown pic so far in 2008 – and second overall after “Kung Fu Panda.”

“I hope that we can have five or six films per year with such success,” INCAA prexy Liliana Mazure told Variety. “That is what we are aiming for.”

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