Monday, April 23, 2012


Film Policy under MERCOSUR: The Case of Uruguay

Tamara L. Falicov

Abstract: This paper explores the cultural dimensions of regional integration that could result from the regional trade pact of the Latin American Southern Cone called MERCOSUR. The aim of this study is to understand whether cultural industries such as film can be aided by state policies that work to erase borders between neighbouring countries and to facilitate interchange and trade through regional integration. Despite grassroots mobilization by filmmakers, this cultural dimension of MERCOSUR has not been realized in any material fashion. This research explores the various reasons for the failure of this policy. The Uruguayan film industry serves as a case study of some of the obstacles to cultural integration.

Introduction

This study explores the ways in which cultural industries such as film are affected by state policies in the Latin American Southern Cone. The essential purpose of these policies, implemented under the regional trade pact MERCOSUR, is to erase borders between neighbouring countries and to facilitate interchange and trade through regional integration. By promoting a network of cross-border film co-operation, this effort could potentially contest (or, in an ideal world, circumvent) Hollywood's dominance in the areas of film production, exhibition, and distribution. Despite grassroots mobilization by filmmakers of the member countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay), however, this cultural dimension of MERCOSUR has not been realized in terms of any definitive, active institutionalized co-production initiatives. This paper examines the various reasons for the failure of this policy. Uruguay and its audiovisual industry demonstrate why the implementation of regional audiovisual policies has not worked under the regional trade agreement MERCOSUR. My research suggests that film production in Uruguay has been aided more on both local and pan-Ibero-American levels than on a regional level.

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