Why FilminLatino is important for Mexican cinema and should not disappear, according to its founders
In Mexico there are increasingly more options to watch a movie online. In 2017, 16 digital platforms operated with more than 7.4 million users. The best known is Netflix, which concentrates 64% of subscribers, followed by Claro video, with 25%, and Blim with 7%, according to data from the 2017 Mexican Film Statistical Yearbook.
Among all these options is FilminLatino, streaming platform of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE) and where 42% of its content is Mexican. To have a comparison, of all the titles offered by Netflix, only 2% is national, according to the same report.
In terms of prices, FliminLatino is also the least expensive: $ 69 pesos per month. Users pay from $ 109 to $ 199 per month for Netflix; $ 149 for HBO Go; $ 109 for Blim and $ 99 for Amazon Prime Video.
If FilminLatino is less expensive, it offers more Mexican content than the rest of the digital platforms in Mexico and also includes selected content from internationally recognized authors such as Luis Buñuel, Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman, why is it not so popular? One answer is in its small scale promotion.
The platform was created in the middle of the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, specifically on July 21, 2015. It was born "with the purpose of consolidating a digital space where Mexican cinema lives on the same level as the world's cinematographies and creates a place for the enjoyment and promotion of a culture around cinema ".
It is a project created between the National Council for Culture and the Arts (current Secretariat of Culture), with Rafael Tovar and Teresa at the head; the IMCINE, under the direction of Jorge Sánchez Sosa, and the Spanish company Comunidad Filmin S.L.
Prior to the launch of FilminLatino, IMCINE worked for more than a year and a half to make Mexican films available to the public, but they realized that a lot of money was being spent "to develop their own technology when the objective of IMCINE is to contribute to to promote the film culture by making Mexican productions available to the public in the context of world cinematography, "says Yissel Ibarra, founder of FilminLatino and exempted from strategic projects of the General Directorate of IMCINE.
It is then when the relationship with Filmin Spain occurs.
"We decided to work with the best at the time in terms of technology development, curatorship, business schemes", says Paola Stefani, founder of FilminLatino and producer of the documentary "Huicholes: The Last Guardians of Peyote" and who last year directed the Trust for the Promotion and Development of Mexican Cinema in Mexico City.
"There was criticism at the beginning because we decided to work with a foreign company and not carry out a 100% Mexican development. Working with experts was a benefit in addition to having technical services that are not available in Mexico or that from the institution it was difficult to hire, " she adds.
The founders point out that FilminLatino is not a Spanish concession, as there is no co-ownership agreement with Filmin España. An income is paid for the web architecture, brand use and an integral service that includes subservices, but the Mexican platform is property of IMCINE.
IMCINE is in charge of managing the rights owners, curating and promoting the content on the Mexican platform.
"To think that FilminLatino should only offer Mexican content is like telling the Cineteca Nacional that it will only be able to schedule national films. The audience that goes to the Cineteca is also going through the experience, going to discover films from all over the world that coexist naturally with Mexican cinema, "the founders point out.
FilminLatino offers more than 1,600 film titles, including movies, series and short films. Its catalog has productions of all genres, renowned authors and new talents. "Mexican coexistence with other cinematographies, consecrated and alternative directors in the world that had a dialogue within the platform with Mexican directors seemed fundamental to us," says Yissel Ibarra, who also produced the documentary "Presunto Culpable."
On the main page of FilminLatino.mx appears a carousel with the recommendations of the platform, for example: "La libertad del diablo" (2017), by the Mexican Everardo González; "Los 400 golpes" (1958), by Frenchman François Truffaut; "The Empire of Fortune" (1985), by Arturo Ripstein, or "Our Zoo", a series from the United Kingdom launched in 2014.
FilminLatino is an outreach platform that, in partnership with national and international festivals, invites the Mexican public to discover and legally watch films that are not available in another window for the entire country every day of the year.
"It's a niche platform, it's not commercial," Paola admits. There is a whole curatorship to present the films. At the moment it has 108 collections. There are 85 films that have been shown at the Cannes Film Festival; 156 that have Mexico City as the protagonist; 48 animated shorts; 212 documentaries, and 8 films directed by the Spanish Pedro Almodóvar, to name a few.
"It's a digital National Cineteca, a lot of people see movies that they can not see anywhere else," says Yissel.
FilminLatino can only be seen within Mexican territory, but it covers the entire country.
There are three display modes:
A monthly subscription of $ 69 pesos per month, or $ 390 semiannual. With this you have access to most of the movies in your catalog.
An individual rental of movies and series on a pay-per-view basis. You pay $ 39 pesos and the content is released for 48 hours.
A free section, which does not have Filmin Spain, where you can access a catalog of Mexican fictions, animations, shorts and documentaries.
In all cases you need to register with your email.