‘Encuentros del Otro Cine’ International Film Festival in danger

News from EDOC

Quito, February 29th, 2016

Dear friends,

We write to you to communicate that, due to the difficulties we are facing in financing the XVth edition of the ‘Encuentros del Otro Cine’ International Film Festival, we are considering to cancel it. As you know, our opening was expected to take place on Wednesday May 18th, 2016.

Since last October, our programming team has been watching and discussing more than 400 works from fifty different countries, including thirty Ecuadorian films. Our selection is almost ready. For this year’s edition, we have confirmed the attendance of renowned filmmakers such as Patricio Guzmán, Luis Ospina and João Moreira Salles. However, the financial situation is so difficult that our organizational work has been put on hold and we have decided to postpone notifications to selected films.

The Festival is held every year with the support of various public and private entities, the contribution of embassies and the largely volunteer work of our team of collaborators.

This year, the institutions that normally contribute to the funding of the festival have suffered cuts in their budgets. In the cases of the Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio and the Consejo Nacional de Cinematografía del Ecuador, their authorities have informed us that these cuts prevent them from committing any contribution to the festival. To date we have confirmed only 30% of the total festival budget, with these funds coming from the Secretaría de Cultura del Municipio de Quito, the contribution of embassies and a non-monetary donation from the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana. Under these conditions it will be impossible to organize EDOC15.

The festival is a space for pluralistic debate about art, politics and film. In our last edition, more than 18,000 spectators attended the 320 film exhibitions that we celebrated in twelve cinemas across three cities. EDOC employs dozens of people and generates revenue for the theaters and cultural centers that host the events. The magazine Cahiers du Cinéma called EDOC a “referent festival for non-fiction in Latin America” and the newspaper El Comercio named it one of the five essential events of 2016 in Ecuador.

The lack of cultural policies that encourage the subsistence of long-term civic initiatives in Ecuador, the lack of a clear system of state subsidies, and the absence of tax incentives for cultural donations make organizing an independent film festival (and any other artistic expression) complex. The mechanisms that grant aid remain random, or often subject to the willingness of the authorities. This is a persistent problem to which we would like to call attention.

Times of crisis reveal the real priorities of a society and a State. In the absence of clear cultural policies, crisis can worsen these already existing problems. They can also serve as an opportunity to start doing things in new ways and to strengthen a sense of citizenship and community.

We are doing everything in our power to celebrate the festival in May 2016. The decision we make will be announced in the coming days.

EDOC team

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‘Encuentros del Otro Cine’ International Film Festival in danger was last modified: March 6th, 2016 by Raquel Schefer