Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mexican film production broke records again in 2022

Mexico produced more films than ever in 2022, despite an increasingly difficult funding environment caused by reductions in government support for the industry.

In its Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinema, the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (Imcine) recorded 258 Mexican feature films produced in 2022, surpassing the previous record set in 2021.

Mexican film production
Production levels in the Mexican cinema industry have continued to rise, though the industry remains Mexico City-centric. (Imcine)

“For the second consecutive year after the pandemic, when production collapsed, the indexes have risen sharply, and this year, the number of feature films is 258,” Imcine General Director María Novaro said.

“[This is] a number similar to last year, and a record for Mexican cinema throughout its history. Not even in the golden age [of Mexican cinema, from the 1930s to about 1960] was so much cinema produced.”

Novaro said that the increased number of productions over the last two years demonstrated real growth in the sector, not just a return to pre-pandemic levels. Film production rebounded 133% between 2020 and 2021, but those sorts of numbers hadn’t been expected to last into 2022.

Novaro also praised the diversity in Mexico’s film industry, claiming it is “more diverse, inclusive, egalitarian and decentralized than ever.” She highlighted that 21 feature films were made by indigenous or Afro-descendant filmmakers in 2022 — although this is a drop from the 31 such productions in 2021.

A man with a camera
Targeted incentives could help attract film production companies from the U.S., says a recent report by UK-based Olsberg SPI. (Ruben Ramirez/Olsberg SPI)

One hundred forty-two of these films, or about 55%, were made in Mexico City in 2022, up from 35% in 2021, suggesting that Mexico is still struggling to decentralize the industry. However, 2022 did see an increase in films made by women, from 25% to 32%.

The explosion of Mexican cinema has taken place despite an increasingly difficult funding environment. In 2022, 46% of Mexican films relied on some public financial support, but government support for the industry has been sharply reduced under President López Obrador’s austerity measures, which have cut arts and culture funding down to just 0.25% of the federal budget, according to the Mexican think-tank Fundar. That is the lowest figure seen in decades.

In November, the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences (AMACC) said it will suspend the 2023 Ariel Awards because of a “serious financial crisis” as a result of these cuts.

“The state, which was the motor and support of the academy for a long time, has renounced its responsibility as the main promoter and disseminator of culture in general, and of cinema in particular,” the AMACC said at the time.

International analysts have also suggested that a lack of financial incentives is holding back Mexico’s film industry. In late May, the international creative consultancy Olsberg SPI said that Mexico could become a global audiovisual production hub if it offered federal production incentives such as cash rebates or tax credits. 

The Olsberg report also said that Mexico’s talent base, relatively low costs, infrastructure and proximity to the United States were highly attractive to foreign production companies, and the country would be “primed for immediate growth” if these incentives were introduced.

With reports from Sin Embargo and Infobae

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.

The architect who reached for the stars

Mario Pani built some of Mexico City's biggest towers and sprawling estates, in a career that defined the skyline of a capital.
Two damaged SUVs after a car accident.

President-elect Sheinbaum unharmed after a deadly accident involving her motorcade

The crash killed an elderly woman and injured another person. No injuries were reported among Sheinbaum and her team.
Young fruit seller looks at his cell phone in Mexico City

Over 80% of Mexicans are now internet users, up 9.7 points from 2020

Connectivity has increased steadily in Mexico, particularly among the young, though there is still a digital divide between urban and rural areas.