This Sunday, after producers and directors of nearly 50 film projects denounced the delay in federal support for some 85 million pesos committed in 2020, still through the defunct Foprocine and Fidecine, the federal Ministry of Culture was quick to give response.
Via a statement dated in the city of Tlaxcala, the unit headed by Alejandra Frausto Guerrero stated that through the Administration and Finance Unit, “steps have been taken to resolve urgent debts” and “payments will be made immediately. ”. This brief response was given by the pressure generated by the publication of the investigation “More than 50 films adrift”, by the journalist Columba Vértiz in the weekly Proceso.
However, in an interview with El Economista, the producer Carlos Hernández Vázquez, responsible for the documentary “Little Haiti”, one of the signatories and spokesman for this group of filmmakers, points out:
“From this meager statement, from the outset, the Ministry of Culture admits that there are breaches, contrary to what the secretary herself had mentioned in recent months in some media,” he says. “In addition, they mention that the resources are available and this raises the question about what has happened: if the resources are available, why haven’t they been delivered to the projects? If they say that they will be paid immediately, we want to know the specific date of the payment, because it is not expressed in the statement and the Ministry of Culture has not contacted us to clarify each of these points.
Creditors keep adding
As if this were not enough, the producer of “Little Haiti”, awaiting its premiere, shares that, as of the publication of this Sunday’s letter, “more producers are approaching us to whom they also owe. At the end of the day, this arose from an internal communication between producers that we are close to, to realize that we were experiencing similar situations, but we are finding out about more cases in a similar situation. So as a first step, we’re gathering information from people who are approaching us to update this list. Once done, we will reiterate our request to meet with Culture and the demand to establish specific dates for the fulfillment of its obligations.
Carlos Hernández reflects that a debt as such comes to contradict many of the public policies championed by the head of Federal Culture. “She has repeatedly mentioned that she is promoting the generation of new cinema at the regional level and in each of the states of the Republic, but if we review the projects that are on the first list, we see that half of these 50 are from the interior of the Republic. That is to say, Culture is truncating a process of generating filmmakers by not fulfilling its obligations”.
Finally, Hernández added that the Ministry of Culture has not complied with what was said at the time. In different instances, Secretary Frausto was very categorical, both together with the then Secretary of the Treasury Arturo Herrera and in her appearance in Congress, that she was going to fully comply with all the obligations that the trusts had.”
A labyrinth with no way out
Via the Social Communication area of the Ministry of Culture, El Economista requested an interview with Mr. Omar Monroy Rodríguez, head of the Administration and Finance Unit of the federal agency, in order to make known first-hand whether these resources, that the unit promises to deliver “immediately”, they were already available for delivery from the Ministry of Culture and from which item they come; or, if from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) his release will be accelerated so that, via Culture, he finally reaches the Imcine and that he pays as soon as possible, and in what terms.
However, under the explanation that “the part of the interviews is being seen from Imcine”, in Federal Culture no reason was given and we were referred to the Institute’s Communication area, where it was explained: “from Imcine we have the same information disclosed in the statement.
The group of filmmakers of these 50 films explained in this Sunday’s letter that the payment of the committed resources “despite being contractually an obligation of the institute, cannot fall on it, but depends on the cultural and Treasury authorities, since they are responsible for providing the necessary resources so that Imcine can fulfill its commitments”.
Some films and filmmakers who claim payment from the Ministry of Culture
- “It rains” – Laura Rocha Donnadieu. Nominated for Ariel for Animated Short
- “The other Tom” – Rodrigo Plá and Laura Santullo. Received five nominations for Ariel 2022
- “Mantle of gems” – Natalia López Gallardo. Received the 2022 Berlinale Jury Prize (Silver Bear)
- “Belzebuth” – Emilio Portes. Nominated for five Ariel Awards in 2020
- “Field season” – Isabel Vaca Durazo. Released in August 2022, but with debts
- “The free days” – Ulises Pérez Mancilla. With a premiere at GIFF 2021, but still with debts
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