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Mexico looks to command larger presence in film industry, increase profitability

Mexico hopes to make a lasting impression in the film industry both for Mexicans and the country through some reforms to the system.

When immigrants and workers aren’t making an international transfer or on the job, with any luck they’re able to find some down time by spending some time at home or at a nearby theater to enjoy the latest film release. Based on the frequency with which movies are released, it’s clear the the American film industry is booming, as millions of people each year head to their local cinema to be entertained.

But the Mexican film business is buzzing as well and as entertainment news source Variety points out, the United States’ neighbor to the south is trying to make a last impression on the industry as a whole.

Recently, Jorge Sanchez was appointed to head Mexico’s Imcine film fund, which had been led by Marina Stavenhagen. During Stavenhagen’s tenure, Mexico’s film industry made significant strides, producing a mere nine films back in 1997 to nearly 100 in 2012 alone – bringing in more than $841 million in box office ticket sales, Variety reports.

As strong as ticket sales have been, however, Sanchez notes that they could be even better, as many people within the country aren’t able to access national films. And among those that do, some will occasionally resort to obtaining films online that are pirated – often referred to as “bootlegging” – which involves illegally recording a movie and then selling copies on the black market. Data obtained by Variety shows that approximately 60 percent of Mexicans have confessed to purchasing a bootlegged DVD at least once, mainly because they were extremely cheap to buy.

Sanchez vows to reform system
In order to discourage people away from piracy – and at the same time make more movies available to the general public in Mexico – Sanchez says that he wants to create a video on demand service. For a minimal price, Mexicans will be able to take advantage of some of the best-produced films the country has ever made and can be accessed in public locations like schools, libraries and community centers.

“A legal, sometimes free-of-charge or low-cost Mexican film service could impact piracy strongly,” Sanchez told Variety.

He also hopes to get in touch with some of Mexico’s major cinemas so that he can get an idea of what people would like to see and how receptive the companies are about establishing some type of VOD service.

The entertainment news website additionally notes that Sanchez intends to meet with Mexican lawmakers to discuss with them how the country can carve a larger niche into the international filming industry by improving the incentives that the government bestows. Many American filmmakers, like Mel Gibson and Neill Blomkamp, have taken advantage of rebates for foreign shoots and shot the brunt of some of their films in Mexico.

While Mexico attempts to command a larger presence in the filming industry behind the scenes, it’s already made an impact on camera. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names have Mexican roots, including Oscar-nominee Demian Bichir.

The 49-year-old actor was originally born in Mexico City but he moved to New York City at the age of 22. After first working a job bussing tables, he finally got his break in the filming industry by the time he turned 26, landing many different movie roles in the process. he’s perhaps best known for his role in the 2011 film “A Better Life,” where he was nominated for Best Performance.

Bichir will be in many films in the upcoming year, including a made-for-TV film “The Bridge,” as well as movies on the big screen. “The Heat,” “Dom Hemingway” and “Words with Gods” are all in post-production, according to IMDB.com.

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