Alejandro Parra • Distributor
Chile controlled by the multiplex
by Camila Moraes
Multiplex cinemas are a phenomenon all over the world, but in Chile they are a pivotal in terms of film distribution and exhibition. “If you look at the big studios, distribution is doing fine all over the country, with premieres that take place simultaneously to the United States, as in many places. But there are almost no platforms when it comes to the distribution channels and exhibition of arthouse cinema”, said Cine Sin Fronteras participant Alejandro Parra, the executive director of Centro Arte Alameda, one of the few places dedicated to independent cinema in Chile.
According to him, some governmental agreements were attempted before in order to balance this situation, but had no impact whatsoever: “There can be many speculative agreements, but there are not enough exhibition spaces. Chile has only four theatrical platforms outside of the multiplex”.
To fight the hegemony of the American studios in his country, Parra thinks it is important to find alternative ways to the present market laws, working on training young audiences and creating parallel distribution nets – which can take a long time. To him, digital cinema can be the key to the most varied film markets, once it reduces most distribution costs. “It is the future of cinema”, he believes.
Another way out of multiplex control for Parra, and into an increasing number of screens showing independent films, is the creation of a bilateral force between Latin America and Europe, which was discussed in Mexico City during the first Cine Sin Fronteras meeting. “We have to stimulate in our countries the circulation of films that are produced in different countries, with their various visions. We do that by motivating ourselves, creating new channels and making them stronger through agreements, like the one we signed in Mexico, and taking concrete actions after that”, he claims.
In several years, with some of those initiatives made concrete, Chileans will probably have greater access to European movies than they do today. “Most European titles come to Chile only during film festivals”, says Parra. However, “it’s very hard to distribute Chilean movies in Europe, even though a young generation of local filmmakers is experiencing a good moment and becoming more known today”.
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