Mendoza, Argentina’s premier wine-producing region, is venturing into the film and TV biz. An Audiovisual Law has passed the lower chambers of its local parliament and is pending ratification by its senate. Regardless of whether the law passes, the state has already approved a 2018 budget that includes a series of initiatives, funds and projects that will serve to put Mendoza on the audiovisual map by next year. Under the auspices of Mendoza’s Ministry of Economy, Infrastructure and Energy, the measures include the:

*Creation of a local Reciprocal Guarantee Society – akin to a Bond Insurance Group – designed to underwrite financing of up to $3.4 million (60 million pesos) for 20 productions;

*Creation of a fund which allots up to $12,000 each to 20 audiovisual projects in development;

*The progressive reduction of Mendoza’s state tax for audiovisual productions made in partnership with a local company in the region. The current state tax of 4% will be reduced by 0.25% each year until it reaches 1%, making it the only state in Argentina to do this;

*Creation of the Mendoza Film Commission;

*Contracting the professional consulting services of a highly recognized international firm, Steve Solot’s LATC, as advisor for Film Commission Mendoza;

*Creation of the FilmAndes Audiovisual Creative District complex.

“The package of measures represents the culmination of a strategic pioneering process initiated in 2011 and backed by the Inter-American Development Bank-IDB to position Mendoza as an international audiovisual creative and industrial complex,” said Mario Lazzaro, the Mendoza Economy Ministry’s executive co-ordinator and director of export promotion agency ProMendoza, who adds that the film law, once passed, will confirm the state’s solid commitment to the measures.

Separated from Chile’s capital of Santiago by the Cordillera mountain range, Mendoza boasts the 4th largest GDP of Argentina, exporting a diversity of goods to 137 countries worldwide. It has a climate similar to California’s, which fosters pest-free agriculture with the added perk of irrigation water mainly sourced from melting glacier snow from the Andes.

Given that Mendoza produces 71% of Argentina’s wine, it is only fitting that the upcoming FilmAndes Audiovisual Creative District will be built on the 16-acre grounds of an old wine bodega. In collaboration with the FilmAndes cluster, a non-profit association of over 20 producers,  and the local university, the $45 million facility will include a business park property for residential, office and hotel spaces; infrastructure for creative industry training workshops; thematic restaurants, bars and wine cellars; an underground audiovisual museum and film preservation area backed by the National Film Institute; multi-use studios and sound stages; a six-screen cinema complex; a 16,000 square ft. exhibition and concert hall space; retail store area for design, architecture and art suppliers; and recreational, social and cultural areas.

Mendoza can count on the backing of Argentina’s INCAA National Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute which has signaled its support for regional production hubs by offering grants of $317,818 million (Pesos5.5 million) to a dozen features produced outside Buenos Aires.

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