Some of Colombia’s most prominent producers have banded together to form PI, a new association of independent producers led by Cristina Gallego, behind Oscar-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent” and “Birds of Passage,” who is an official jury member at this year’s 71st San Sebastian Film Festival.
“Colombia has become a production destination for major companies due to its tax benefits, which has led to growth, experience, and job opportunities within the sector,” Gallego told Variety.
“However, members of PI view with particular concern the need for attention, updates, and the evolution of national and departmental policies that support the continued production of Colombian cinema, its voices, its artists, and its filmmakers,” said Gallego who will preside over the association along with director-producer Franco Lolli (“Gente de Bien”) as vice president while Diana María Bustamante (“Memoria,” “Land & Shade”) and Manuel Ruiz Montealegre (“Amparo”) serve as legal representatives.
It has been some 20 years since Colombia’s coveted Film Law and Development Fund was created, leading to an explosion of film and television production in the country. More international film companies, including Netflix, have set up shop there.
“We are not cutting ties; rather, we are coming together to engage in collective dialogues with ministries to update the system. The policies and funds from 20 years ago are inadequate for the size of the industry today,” Gallego asserted.
“Finding a balance is challenging; on one hand, international production has driven up prices, and on the other hand, the capacity for financing, the size of the FDC (Film Development Fund), and tax benefits for domestic investors have remained the same for 20 years. In this regard, it is difficult to align the expectations and requirements of the industry with the reality of Colombian cinema and its international communication,” she added.
“This may sound harsh, but it reflects the sentiment of several members of this association. We feel as though we are perceived as people whose hobby is making films, rather than being recognized as a sector of the economy and culture. Paradoxically, the international image and the perception of countries are constructed through the films we create. This is the update we are requesting—in policies, perspectives, and the scope that Colombian cinema truly deserves,” she said.
PI comprises the production houses Antorcha Films, Burning, Casatarántula, Ciudad Lunar, Evidencia Films, Inercia Películas, Laima, Madlove, Medio de Contención, Milagros, Mutokino, and Rara Cine.
Another local association, Asocinde, also represents film producers. It’s led by Diana Camargo (“The Stoplight Society”) who took over the reins after the demise of beloved film and TV producer Ana Piñeres, a driving force behind the enactment of the film law.
But the difference lies in their profiles, said Gallego who explained that Asocinde primarily focuses on production services and more commercially-oriented production, with an emphasis on foreign investment laws.
“In contrast, our profile is more artistic and boutique in nature, with smaller companies aiming to expand opportunities and funding for Colombian cinema,” Gallego said,