GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Mexican film institute Imcine’s annual presentation of its 8th Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinema at the Guadalajara Int’l Film Festival (FICG) had good news and not-so-good news to impart.

The good news was that Mexico’s output of 176 films last year signaled a robust production sector that has benefited from the raft of public-sector initiatives introduced in recent years.

Mexico hit a milestone in 2017 with 52 international co-productions with 27 countries – which represents 30% of the country’s total production – seven more than in 2016.

Women’s participation in Mexican filmmaking has also grown in the past few years, with as many as 42 films being directed by women last year. In comparing stats between 2016 and 2017, female-produced pics rose 35% and those penned by women, 30%.

Television, featured in the Yearbook for the first time, also represented significant growth with 27 series produced, eight more than in 2016, with productions from streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Televisa’s Blim, predominating. For the first time in 2018, Imcine will include a call for entries of series and mini-series in its continued bid to provide impetus to the Mexican audiovisual industry.

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Outgoing Imcine head Jorge Sanchez sat on the sidelines after introducing the Yearbook while a panel that included Ernesto Contreras, award-winning director (“I Dream in Another Language”) and president of the Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences, Canacine director general Tabata Vilar, academic Rolando Cordera and National Institute of Statistics chief Francisco Guillen presented the facts.

Contreras, who can cite his own personal experience in the delay of his latest film’s local exhibition, pointed out that there should be more exhibition space for Mexican and other international films aside from that of the U.S., which still occupy a lion’s share of Mexico’s 6,633 screens., 88% last year. Gussi releases “I Dream in Another Language” on 150 screens on April 20, more than a year after it won an audience award at Sundance.

The highest-grossing Mexican film in 2017 was, notably, co-written and directed by Chilean Nicolás López: “Hazlo como hombre,” a satire of homophobia, which earned Pesos200.8 million ($10.8 million), making it the sixth highest-grossing Mexican movie of all time.

Box office for all films in Mexican rose 5.3% in 2017 in terms of admissions to 338 million and 9% in box office grosses to Pesos 16.1 billion ($868 million) compared to the prior year. But admissions for Mexican movies plunged 24% to 22.4 million, with Mexican films had a 7% share of total admissions, three percentage points less than in 2016, though still marking the fourth-highest attendance for Mexican films in the last three decades.

Despite the not-so-good news, Vilar noted that “Mexico is experiencing its second golden age, “ given its high output in the past three years.

“At the end of the day, it’s a business,” said Vilar, who called for more Mexican films to connect with its audience.

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