Argentina, Venezuela Team Up for Common Digital Norm

The region aims to regulate rising process of theater digitalization and strengthen "the defense of local and regional audiovisual content.”

BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (INCAA) will team up with its Venezuelan counterpart (CNAC) to develop together a common digital norm with the aim of “strengthening the defense of local and regional audiovisual content.”

The announcement was the result of a meeting last Friday between INCAA president Liliana Mazure and Juan Carlos Lossada, head of the Venezuelan CNAC.

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“The issue here is whether we will just sit down while a norm gets established or if we’re going to seek an alternative that resembles us, our color, and our vision of the world,” said Lossada.

Mazure added: “When we talk to exhibitors about developing a common digital norm sometimes they give us a certain look, like we’re going to resign quality and safety, but in this case it’s exactly the opposite.”

“If we don’t manage to establish a transparent link of the norm with our national cinemas, they will go under,” said Lossada, who also stressed that if the issue is not properly resolved, “any legislation regarding screen quotas protection will be pointless.”

The initiative was presented by the Argentine delegation in the last Ibero-American Conference of Film Authorities (CACI) According to a press release by the INCAA, the CACI draw attention “on the accelerated and irreversible path to digital that the distribution and exhibition circuits are taking, and therefore the urgent need to adopt regulations and techniques that will prevent the rise of a single dominant position, which could affect national and regional interests in terms of distribution and exhibition of Latin American contents.”

Mazure’s meeting with Lossada is part of a series of meetings with top film officials from the region to discuss the issue of film digitalization. The adoption of a common digital norm will be debated in November in the next meeting of the CACI, where new government initiatives are expected in this regard.

Last month, the INCAA signed an agreement with digital solutions company Ar-Sat to provide small theaters across the country with 150 HD projectors, digital sound equipment and digital management software. The effort will involve official INCAA Theaters as well as independent ones selected by the Film Institute.

Digitalization of film theaters is growing in Argentina, although it’s still at 21 percent out of a total of 850 venues, and the process is currently slowed down by import restrictions, according to numbers from Cinesargentinos website. Digitalization has especially favored smaller independent theaters, which have boosted ticket sales around 60 percent in comparison to the same period last year.

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