Mexican Filmmakers Speak Against Mexico’s “Destruction of Mexican Cinema”

Richard Jenkins, Guillermo del Toro & Bradley Cooper Credit: AP
Why did the AMACC cancel the Ariel Awards until further notice? 

Mexican cinema holds a special place in art. The neo-realistic style established by great filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Fernanda Valadez, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu pushed the craft of cinema toward more personal, thoughtful, and spiritual stories that shared a piece of themselves with the world. 

What makes Mexican cinema unique and important is its style of storytelling, which arguably doesn’t exist anywhere else

Unfortunately, it was announced last Thursday by Mexico News Daily that the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences (AMACC) is facing a “serious financial crisis,” and suspended the 2023 Ariel Awards. 

The Ariel Awards 2022Credit: AMACC Twitter

What Happened to the Ariel Awards? 

The Ariel Awards were started in 1946 to recognize the country’s top filmmakers, performers, and technicians, similar to the Academy Awards in the United States. Entries are nominated at the beginning of the year, and the ceremony is held in October following the academy’s vote. 

The academy is also responsible for nominating Mexico’s entries for international awards, with its entry for this year’s Academy Awards being Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. 

The AMACC is the honorary organization charged with promoting Mexico’s film industry, and the Ariel Awards is the country’s leading film award show. As of right now, the awards will be suspended until further notice. 

In a statement to the public, the AMACC said, “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 support of public resources has decreased considerably in recent years.” 

During this year’s awards, AMACC president Leticia Huajira recognized the challenges that the Mexican film industry is facing, saying, “Today, the AMACC does not have the resources to operate. We must pause, explore alternate paths to continue. We call to close our ranks, to take care of the academy as it has been, a dream imagined by filmmakers as a good for everyone like it is everyone’s house.” 

In the upcoming months, the academy will focus on strategies to rebuild its finances and reorganize its work to keep Mexican cinema alive and flourishing on the international stage. 

Film academy president Leticia Huijara at the 64th annual Ariel Awards in OctoberCredit: AMACC Twitter

Mexican Filmmakers Speak Out Against Mexico

This news of the film industry losing its funding from the State is not sitting well with filmmakers. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who has won six Ariel Awards, voices his frustration with the lack of funding from Mexico. 

The filmmaker wrote in an apparently deleted tweet (via Deadline): “The systematic destruction of Mexican Cinema and its institutions—which took decades to build—has been brutal. We survived Lopez Portillo’s term, but this is unprecedented.”

According to Mexican News Daily, the López Obrador administration has made a target out of the film and other cultural industries as a measure to reduce the country’s spending. In 2020, President López Obrador wanted to redirect spending to reactivate the post-coronavirus economy by proposing to cut the Cinema Investment and Stimulus Fund. 

Three Mexican directors, including del Toro, persuaded the federal government not to abolish the fund.

Unfortunately, the country discovered a way to cut the funding for the arts in Mexico.

Art reflects the culture and the struggles that it is going through. While literature and artwork can showcase the struggles of culture, cinema is unique as it allows everyone from all social classes and education levels to sit and reflect on life as they know it. 

Cinema has become one of the most influential and important art forms in our lives. Without it, we lose a part of our culture. I highly encourage the filmmaking community to support filmmakers in Mexico and the AMACC in any way possible by watching, buying physical media, or helping to fund projects if you’re able to. 

If you know of any other ways to help support the Mexican film industry, let us know in the comments!      

Your Comment