DOCTV, a centerpiece financing system for documentary production in Latin America, will sink $1.3 million into 18 documentaries for its sixth and soon-to-launch edition.
The announcement was made at this week’s Guadalajara Festival in Mexico by Ibermedia, the regional film-TV fund for Latin America, Spain and Portugal, Caci, an Ibero-America film and TV agency umbrella, and heads of two Latin America public broadcasters.
Submissions are open to country members of CACI. The call for applications for the 6th DOCTV will begin on March 30, running through May 30.
This new edition of DOCTV will be devoted to documentaries on music. “Through music, we can connect societies and cultures,” said Emile Vandoorne, Peru’s Director of Audiovisual at its Culture Ministry, adding that the initiative “aims to boost a cooperative spirit and increase mutual knowledge of all our countries.” The Dominican Republic will oversee the organization of the sixth edition, with Tanya Valette its co-ordinator.
Project recipients will be selected by two juries, with every project receiving $70,000. Grant winners have a year to make their documentaries, Valette explained. After completion, documentaries will be aired by 22 public broadcasters in Latin America.
Valette confirmed that a documentary workshop will be hosted by the Dominican Republic and include tutors such as Ignacio Agüero (“One Hundred Children Waiting for a Train”) and Everardo González , director of “Devil’s Freedom,” one of the frontrunners to win Guadalajara’s Mezcal Prize for Best Mexican Feature at the March 17 prize awards.
Latin America has a robust documentary tradition. According to the 2016 Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinema presented at Guadalajara Festival, 66 Mexican documentary features were produced last year. DocTV’s $70,000 per feature may not seem a lot of money. But it is manna from heaven for Latin America’s documentary filmmakers who are often forced to make their works with own financial resources. Documentaries also help restore a collective memory, which has been destroyed or warped by decades of dictatorship is many countries, Adelfa Martinez Bonilla, director of Colombia’s cinema division, pointed out at Guadalajara.
In parallel news, Ibermedia head Elena Vilardell confirmed at the Guadalajara presentation that Italy’s membership of CACI and the Ibermedia program, achieved as an honorary guest, will be put into place with certain safeguards.
One is that the €600,000 ($641,100) Italy brings to the table each year, should mostly be spent on movies from emerging markets in Latin America, another that Italian bilateral co-productions with other Ibermedia members in Europe would not be eligible for funding. Only Italian creative co-productions, with artistic elements from all co-producing countries, can draw down Ibermedia moneys, Vilardell added.
On another front, Pantalla CACI and Ibermedia are restructuring their film-TV education initiatives in high schools and universities. Deals have been closed with the OEI, Ibero-America’s Organization for Education, Science and Culture, as well as its culture ministries, Vilardell said.
Founded in 1998, Ibermedia has a $7 million budget to support Ibero-American features via incentives and support schemes for their development, co-production, distribution and broadcast.
Out of the 12 features in Guadalajara’s main international competition, five received grants from Ibermedia: Licínio Azevedo’s “Train of Salt and Sugar,” Álex de la Iglesia’s “The Bar,” Fernando Pérez’s “Last Days in Havana,” Carlos Lechuga’s “Santa & Andrés” and Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat’s “The Distinguished Citizen,” which won Oscar Martinez a best actor award at the Venice Festival, Emma Stone taking best actress.
Ibermedia has also announced some of the features included in Nosso Cinema, a showcase of Ibero-American films to be aired in prime by the region’s public channels. Among titles selected: Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixcanul,” Alicia Scherson’s “The Future,” Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori’s “7 Boxes,” and Salvador del Solar’s “Magallanes.”
John Hopewell contributed to this article