Argentina’s film institute carries out massive layoff

State workers union ATE reported INCAA’s president also plans to close and sell the iconic Gaumont movie theater in Buenos Aires

Director Santiago Mitre speaking before Congress

Argentina’s Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (INCAA) is moving ahead with massive layoffs and will end its financial support for film schools and festivals across the country.

According to minutes from a meeting between newly-appointed INCAA president Carlos Pirovano and delegates from state workers’ union ATE, the government aims to drastically reduce INCAA’s spending. Pirovano maintains that the institute spends over 60% of its budget on salaries and administration, while legislation states it should be less than 50%.

More than a hundred workers on temporary contracts are being laid off, and others with different kinds of contract will follow. Pirovano added that any workers who go on strike to protest these cuts will have the day’s wages docked, according to ATE. Severance payment plans will be offered to reduce the permanent staff.

“It was a very bad meeting,” said ATE delegates.

An economist with no prior experience in the audiovisual industry, Pirovano also hinted at the closure of INCAA’s iconic Gaumont Cinema in Buenos Aires and the elimination of the Cine.Ar TV channel, as well as its online streaming platform Cine.Ar Play.

ATE sources said the government is also targeting the setup that enables INCAA to monitor multiplexes’ compliance with the legally-mandated screen quota for Argentine cinema. They said that Pirovano saw no need for on-site inspectors, since monitoring could be carried out simply “by checking theaters’ program schedule.”    

“This is a declaration of war against Argentine cinema,” ATE said in a statement on Tuesday. “It’s a new onslaught against audiovisual sovereignty to transform culture into yet another niche for foreign and private capital.”  


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