Canada made its first foray into Argentina’s creative industry this week, as both nations signed their first arts and media co-production treaty and officials held a series of meetings to discuss opportunities for cultural collaboration.
Diplomats, government officials and figures from the creative arts filled floors of the Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK) on Monday night to formally welcome the members of the new Canadian trade mission to Argentina.
Argentina’s National Institute for Film and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) and the Canada Media Fund (CMF) signed the first official co-production treaty at the event, with both groups contributing half of the US$100,000 committed under the terms of the deal.
This initial funding will go towards four distinct collaborative projects, each receiving US$25,000 of support, Valerie Creighton, CMF President and CEO told the Times.
The agreement will see the creation of an animated television series and digital content for multimedia platforms. Creighton said that creatives from both nations would work together to “leverage the resources of both countries to … get a better product, and have two great audiences in two countries.”
A payment of US$25,000 can be significant, in order to “activate producers” in both nations, she added. “It’s small, it’s contained, but it should be a good start. We’ll see what it leads to.”
David Usher, Canada’s ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay, said treaties between complementary organisations like INCAA and the CMF were landmarks in a new level of cooperation between the creative industries in Canada and Argentina.
“We’ve tried to do two things here: have government-to-government talks about policy, and also allow the companies to do matchmaking with Argentine counterparts,” Usher told the Times. “That way, you not only have policy cooperation but you have commercial cooperation as well.”
Usher said that Embassy officials were working as a “marriage broker” to match Canadians with partners in Argentina during the trade mission.
“What we hope comes out of the visit is commercial undertakings between all of the various partners,” the ambassador said.
Other Canadian groups and institutions could look to collaborate with Argentina through new projects in the near future, officials indicated. The North American country is a cultural powerhouse: arts, culture and heritage represents more than 53 billion Canadian dollars (US$40 billion) of its economy, the Department of Canadian Heritage reports.
Canada’s main funder of arts, the Canada Council for Arts (CCA), is eager to share resources and have new exchanges with Argentina, its CEO Simon Brault told the Times. With new government funding set to kick in, the CCA anticipates an annual budget of over US$300 million by 2021, he said.
A n d r e s G r i b n i c o w , Argentina’s secretary of culture and creativity, met with Brault to discuss opportunities for collaboration this week.
Gribnicow said the Culture Ministry hopes to increase “technical cooperation” with groups like the CCA. “We’re interested in learning from each other, and using Canada as an example of best practice,” he told the Times in an interview.
“You have two countries on the same continent, but at polar extremes, Canada far up north, and Argentina down south. We don’t seem to have much in common, but we saw this week that we have a lot of potential for cooperation,” Gribnicow explained.
“More agreements like the once signed by the CMF and INCAA could increase artists’ participation in the other country’s art scene.”