The establishment of a quota to guarantee that films produced in the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) will have a minimum percentage of showings in the countries that make up the bloc is one of the topics being discussed at the IV Specialized Meeting of Mercosur Cinematographic and Audiovisual Authorities (Recam).
The meeting, which is being held in São Paulo, brings together representatives from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, together with Chile, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
The implementation of the so-called “screen quota” is intended to stimulate the growth of film production in these countries, as well as regional co-productions.
“The idea is appealing, because it has an economic dimension, offering the prospect of more screen time. The range of choice becomes greater. In addition, it increases competitivenss (production quality),” emphasized the president of the National Film Agency (Ancine), Gustavo Dahl.
According to Dahl, even if the screen quota is regional, it represents a benefit, because it breaks the English-language hegemony over movie-going, and nationalism besides.
“This sets up a market dynamics. You also break a type of monopoly of American films and national films. It is a daring concept, because national film industries are always protectionist,” he asserted.
The Audiovisual secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Orlando Senna, informed that, for the screen quota to become viable, it is first necessary to harmonize the cinematographic laws of the countries interested in the measure.
According to Senna, only Brazil and Argentina possess laws to regulate production. The other countries are still working to formulate rules for the sector.
Both Senna and Dahl highlight the co-production of films as a tool to facilitate the screening of films in the countries involved in the production, as well as the possibility of benefitting from the incentives that exist in each.
The other idea is to reserve a percentage of the national quota for Mercosur films.
Senna recalls that discussions of the proposal have just begun, among other reasons, because only Brazil has a screen quota, and Argentina is close to adopting one.
Brazilian movie theaters are presently required to show national films for 63 days each year.
Translator: David Silberstein