The Latin American Film Industry in 2021

By | 05 August, 2021

The Latin American Film industry can certainly hold its own alongside the US, China and India. Find out what the state of film-making is like these days.

The state of the South American film industry

Encompassing mainly Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, the South American film industry, more often referred to as Latin American cinema, has enjoyed a long and prosperous journey. The past few decades have really seen a boom in the Latin American film industry, not just pertaining to quality or a wider distribution in terms of a global audience, but also with regards to fiscal incentives that some of the countries offer, thus making Latin America an appealing destination to international film makers. The South American continent plays host to a slew of industry events, film festivals and film markets.

What’s on offer at the festivals?

The US and Britain have generally dominated the film-making market, so much so that buying shares in British production companies like BBC Film or Working Title can prove quite lucrative. However, as is evident by the Latin American film industry festivals, this market can hold its own alongside the US and Britain. The majority of the film festivals don’t just showcase new talent or new films, they also provide services where talents and minds can connect. The idea is to provide an environment of creative incubation. Latin American film festivals usually provide the following types of services:

  • Round table discussion with industry experts.
  • Networking events for all festival attendants.
  • Pitching events for projects that are still in development.
  • Financial auctioning for projects still in post-production.
  • Several workshops for the improvement of skill sets in a specific department of film-making, usually veering towards the business aspects.

Notable Latin American film festivals

  • FICCI — International Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias (Colombia)
  • FICG — Guadalajara International Film Festival (México)
  • SANFIC — Santiago International Film Festival (Chile)

Along came the streaming giants

Streaming has most likely forever changed the landscape of film-making. Even real auteurs like the great Martin Scorsese eventually succumbed to the lure of Netflix when they financed The Irishman. Steven Spielberg has spoken out in the past against the whole superhero genre, likening it to the Western that also had its heyday. However, if Disney+ or Amazon Prime has anything to say on that matter, it’s that the superhero genre is here to stay. Also, there have been rumours doing the rounds in Tinseltown that Netflix is trying to court that other great auteur, Christopher Nolan. For the longest time Mexico and Arizona have had a shared history as well as close ties with Hollywood. Mexico has also for quite some time had a thriving film industry; James Cameron shot Titanic there and Paul Verhoeven made the Schwarzenegger vehicle, Total Recall down there too. The Mexican film industry is deeply entrenched and this is why the streaming industry has also set its sights upon Mexico’s film-making prowess. In fact, from a global perspective, Mexico places 10th in the production of films. In 2020 alone, Mexico played host to the production of 200 films, with half being funded by way of public money and the other half by way of private funds. Mexico’s commanding presence as part of the South American film industry is further reiterated by the fact that it has the world’s fourth largest cinema market. It’s literally a case of China, India, the US, and them Mexico. Mexico’s world class facilities and its agreeable currency means that Tinseltown regularly films down there and in more recent times so to have streaming giants like Amazon and Netflix.

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