It looks like no coincidence that two of the biggest announcements concerning celebrated Argentine movie directors and producers this year were their moves into drama series creation. In February, Netflix announced that K & S, producers of “Wild Tales,” “The Clan” and “El Angel,” will produce a series adaptation of legendary Argentine sci-fi graphic novel “El Eternauta,” with Bruno Stagnaro directing.
In March, El Estudio announced two series with another founding father of the New Argentine Cinema, Pablo Trapero: a U.S. series remake
of his movie “Carancho” and bio-series “Galimberti.”
Appointed president of Argentina’s film agency Incaa in December, director Luis Puenzo does enjoy government backing, but he faces a perfect storm.
Even before COVID-19 struck, Argentina sustained crippling inflation: 50% last year and in 2018, plus a plunging peso, which lost 77% of its dollar value from April 2018 and studios’ lock on prime exhibition slots.
Last month, coronavirus had halted some 30 shoots, and decimated Incaa funding, culled from cinema admissions, now nil, and TV advertising, down 35% in a month.
The crux is whether Incaa can access 50% of VAT paid by Argentines in order to subscribe to streaming platforms such as Netflix — a measure that’s allowed in Argentina’s 1994 film law, says Edson Sidonie, producer of “Karnawal.” But an April 18 Incaa report suggested that money wouldn’t be put into place in a pandemic emergency.
“I feel a nostalgia for the future that was awaiting our film industry before COVID,” says REI Cine producer Santiago Gallelli. At December’s Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires, producers were still bringing ambitious new films onto the market, such as REI’s own Berlin Competition entry, “The Intruder.” Buenos Aires’ Film Commission was trying to attract big foreign shoots. Now, Argentina is on the verge of a possible default.
“Markets hate uncertainty,” says Gallelli.
Argentine movies on tap include:
Director: Lucrecia Martel
Producer: Rei Cine
Martel’s first feature doc portrays murdered indigenous activist Javier Chocobar.
Director: Juan Pablo Félix
Producers: Bikini Films, 3 Moinhos Produçoes, Picardía Films, Phototaxia Pictures, Norsk Filmproduksjon, Londra Films
Key cast: Martin López Lacci, Alfredo Castro
Multi-prized as a project, a striking coming-of-age feature debut set in the high Andes.
Sales: Beta Cinema
“La Noche Mágica”
Director: Gastón Portal
Key cast: Natalia Oreiro, Diego Peretti
A burglary takes on a life-enhancing fantasy.
“El Perro que No Calla”
Director: Ana Katz
Producer: Laura Cine
Key cast: Daniel Katz
Shot in black and white, pic is account of a man’s transformation through work and thanks to love.
Director: Santiago Mitre
Producers: Maneki Films, La Unión de Los Ríos, Panache Prods., La Compagnie Cinématographique, Setembro Cine, Logical Pictures
Key cast: Daniel Hendler, Vimala Pons, Melvil Poupaud
Darkly comedic drama is the French-language debut of Mitre, the director of Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Paulina.”
Director: Paula Hernández
Producer: Tarea Fina
Key cast: Valeria Lois, Rita Cortese
Chronicle of a destructive mother-daughter relationship.