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Argentine Indie Distributors Team Up Against Big Studios

At the Ventana Sur film market, 14 local companies announced a new association aimed to increase their share against a Hollywood-concentrated market.

BUENOS AIRES – Argentine independent distributors have teamed up to fight for a bigger share in a highly concentrated local market, where Hollywood blockbusters distributed by local branches of big studios rule more than 90 percent of the box office.

At the Ventana Sur film market, 13 companies (3C Films, Alfa, Aura, CDI, Diamond, Digicine, DC, Energia, Ifa, Impacto, Lat-E, Mirada, Tren, Z Films, Obra.) announced Tuesday the creation of CADICINE, a new chamber of smaller film distributors specialized in independent cinema.

Aura’s Octavio Nadal explained one of the causes for this decision is “a change in the scenario and the role of distributors related to the new digitalization process.” This is a triggering factor because it modifies logistics of the distributor role. There is change also in the quantity of films being produced in the world, which requires new analysis of the whole process: acquisition, exhibition, logistics and even negotiation models."

A fundamental reason for this venture, acording to Nadal, is that “individually we have no sufficient weight to analyze the participation of independent distribution and be considered in all negotiation processes regarding new business methodologies.”

“We have very similar profiles and taking all of us together, we only represent around 12 percent of the market share in the Argentine film industry, against another group of four or five big studio distributors who handle more than 80 percent," he added.

“The spirit of this group is  to carry on defending independent cinema from all over the world,” said DC’s Bernardo Zupnik. 

“Sometimes we fall back on U.S. independent films because we need to endure, and pay wages to our staff. But our spirit is to offer the finest cinema from all countries to our public. And we need to have room for it, whether in multiplexes or independent theaters,” he added.

Zupnik also noted another objective of CADICINE is for Argentine films to be handled by the independent cinema industry. Last year, the top five local releases were distributed by Disney. “What we need is to recover the Argentine films that were taken by the majors,” said Zupnik.

Argentina follows a regional trend of highly concentrated exhibition markets dominated by Hollywood studios, which last year took more than 90 percent of the market according to Ultracine numbers, leaving a meager 10 percent to be shared between local and non-Hollywood releases (Europe, LatAm, Asia).

The Ventana Sur film market runs Dec. 3-6 in Buenos Aires, organized by the Argentine Film Institute and the Marché du Film/Festival de Cannes.