Producers: Uruguay’s film industry is in crisis

Movie producers have declared Uruguay’s film industry to be in an “emergency” due to falling government support for domestic movies, Film Producers Association, or ASOPROD, representative Esteban Schroeder told EFE.

Domestic funding covers about 30 percent of production costs and Uruguayan producers must go overseas for the rest of the money, Schroeder said.

“At one point, we were able to have 10 to 12 fiction movies per year and we’re down to less than four, with just one screened last year,” Schroeder said. “If we go on like this, we might not have a single movie.”

Uruguay passed a film law in 2008 that, among other things, created a fund to support the production and distribution of movies, project development and the training of filmmakers.

The appropriation of 25 million pesos (about $868,000) each fiscal year has not been adjusted since the fund’s creation and, according to the ASOPROD spokesman, no adjustment is contemplated in the 2015-2020 budget plan the government will send to Congress in the next few days.

The combination of inflation and changes in the exchange rate – the fund is denominated in Uruguayan pesos – means the appropriation is worth 67 percent of what it was in 2008.

Filmmakers in Uruguay also want to be exempted from the tax on profits, an incentive already provided to information technology and communications businesses.

The government included the audio-visual sector in the bill to create “special economic zones,” but Schroeder said the initiative was a “distraction” since filmmakers never considered the zones a priority. EFE

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