Argentina’s Far-Right Government Cuts State Funding To National Film Body INCAA

The government of Javier Milei, Argentina’s far-right leader, has pushed through highly controversial plans to defund all state funding to the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), the country’s national film body.

In an official public notice published Tuesday, Milei’s Human Capital Ministry said it discovered a $4 million deficit in INCAA’s budget partly funded by the Treasury and, as a result, would move to cut costs by suspending all funding to the institute.

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“Our commitment to a zero budget deficit is non-negotiable. The time when film festivals were financed with the hunger of thousands of children is over,” the ministry stated.

The austerity plans will see large parts of INCAA’s everyday operations suspended, with phone lines, transport fares, overtime pay, and staff contracts cut. The decision will also suspend all support for national film releases. The move is also expected to affect the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Eastern Argentina, the only category A film festival in Latin America, and the Buenos Aires-based market, Ventana Sur, which is jointly organized by INCAA and Cannes’ Marché du Film.

The controversial move will be a shock for local filmmakers who had staved off several previous attempts by Milei’s government to dismantle state funding for INCAA. Argentinian filmmakers have also garnered support from across the international film community, with high-profile names like Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Justine Triet, and Isabelle Huppert, lending their names to an open letter against proposed cuts.

State funding for cinema in Argentina had operated using a unique system, fueled by what locals describe as two “self-funded” cash pots: the first composed of a tax on cinema tickets, followed by cash receipts from a government levy on broadcasting companies.

“It would be the end of Argentinian cinema as we know it. It’s as simple as that,” veteran Los Angeles-based Argentinian producer Axel Kuschevatzky (Argentina, 1985) told Deadline when discussing past plans to gut INCAA funding. “Argentina will go from producing about 200 movies a year to producing a handful, and those films will be supported mostly by streamers.”

Local film union Cine Argentino Unido, which organized the last open letter, has set plans for a large-scale protest against the cuts on Thursday.

“For social security, education, and public health, for the Argentine territory and its resources, for national industries, for memory and for our cultural sovereignty, this community roundly rejects the DNU and the draft law omnibus,” the group said in a statement.

“We ask the Lawmakers who have the responsibility to protect our rights today, to say NO to this run over.”

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