The pandemic reduced two thirds of the contribution of cinema to the national GDP

The figure for 2021 is not a record figure, it is a figure that accumulates two years, but it is a figure that does account for a recovery in film production, and we celebrate it”,

María Novaro Peñalosa, director of Imcine.

In 2019, the mexican cinematography achieved its best productive moment with a record number of 216 feature films made in the annual cycle. The irruption of covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the consequent restrictions caused a production collapse of almost 50%, with 111 full-length films. By 2021, a year of gradual recovery from sanitary restrictions, our seventh art went up and reached 259 longs produced, that is, 133% more than the previous year. Although it is necessary to point out that this figure is the product of the accumulated number of those projects that did not find an exit in 2020.

In 2020, the contribution of culture to the National GDP was 2.9% and within this universe, the participation of cinema in cultural activities was 1%, with a profit of 6,680 million pesos. In practical terms, cinematography contributed 0.03% of the national GDP. This was approximately a third of the contribution that the industry had been giving in the years before the pandemic.

The above are figures released in the twelfth edition of the Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinemawhich was presented to society this Wednesday morning, at the Churubusco Studios, by the director of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (Imcine), María Novaro Peñalosa, in the company of the director of the Inegi Satellite Account for Culture, Raúl Figueroa; the filmmaker Alejandra Márquez Abella, the poet Mardonio Carballo and the coordinator of the Yearbook, Rosario Lara.

María Novaro Peñalosa, director of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography. Photo EE: Courtesy Imcine

This is the most extensive edition that has been presented so far. According to Novaro Peñalosa, “it reflects the concerns and cultural debates that permeate cinema and society in general.” Two of these concerns with a priority stamp of the project headed by Novaro is to make visible the still disparate participation of women in cinematographic work and the effort to guarantee equal access to the expressive tools of the seventh art for indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, with disabilities and sexual diversity, as well as children’s cinema.

The coordinator of the Yearbook explained that in 2020 only 25% of the registered feature films were directed by a woman, 43% was the responsibility of a production company and the responsibility of photography, even with an alarming disparity, had 16% of women at the time. front, while only 34% of full-length films were produced by female writers.

Calls on equity and diversity

In this regard, the filmmaker Alejandra Márquez Abella expressed: “there is no human expression that is complete without the representation of the life experience of half of the population, that we are women.” She later lamented that “despite the protocols that we have been developing, the sets continue to be violent places for women and we have had to change the way we appropriate these places. There was a time when we had to assume the presence of the phallic woman on the set, we had to behave like them, execute a performance where femininity was annulled and we became these beings with the same patriarchal principles to be validated”.

And he warned his fellow filmmakers: “it is urgent for us to move from the portrait of the enunciation of horror to the generation of thought, of what takes us out of there, of what moves us. The female gaze is an opening, it is escaping from the bias of the patriarchal gaze that not only ignores women but all diversity”.

By the way, about the production of indigenous, Afro and diverse cinema, the poet Mardonio Carballo He added that with the Yearbook, “an act of memory is triggered to open the discussion of those who are and those who are not in Mexican cinema,” and said that through this exercise it is possible to find the formulas of how a country just watching his movies.

“It is very important that the members of indigenous peoples are not just informants, only those who give access to sacred places or who act as translators (…) if 7% of the Mexican population speaks an indigenous language, with that logic, the cinema should have 7% of its production spoken in indigenous languages, the same as television production”.

The T-MEC conditions the new law

To an express question from this newspaper to María Novaro about the status of the new proposal for the Federal Law on Cinematography and Audiovisual, whose first version was pushed back in the Senate during the last legislature, the official replied:

“The initiative is already in the Legal Department of the Presidency. International agreements must be respected, that is clear. We could not propose something that was contrary to the T-MEC. But this version is very complete, much broader culturally than the one that governs us, with a lot of consensus from the film community.”

In particular, regarding the extension from 10 to 15% of the mandatory exhibition time of Mexican cinema in theaters, Novaro said that the agreement in the T-MEC requires not to exceed more than 10 percent. “The T-MEC should be renegotiated at the first opportunity that arises,” he added.

Mexican cinema in figures

  • 56% of Mexican cinema in 2021 was possible thanks to public support.
  • 110 million moviegoers, 100% more than in 2020.
  • 4.9 million viewers for Mexican cinema, that is, 4% of attendance.
  • 289 films overall were theatrically released.
  • 70 of them were national titles, 36% more than in 2020.

7,302 million pesos in general box office receipts, of which:

  • 290 million pesos for Mexican films, 96 million less than in 2020.
  • 124 international awards won the Mexican cinema.
  • 84 international awards for indigenous and Afro-descendant themes.
  • 9% of platform catalogs is occupied by Mexican productions.
  • There are 7,361 screens in the country, 2% less than in 2020.

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