Portfolio Careers and a New Common Cause: The Conditions for Screen Workers in Peru
The development of cinema in Peru tells a story that reflects the precarious nature of the relationship between government and cultural producers. Throughout its first century, Peruvian cinema enjoyed just a few brief moments of apparently emerging stability, dashed each time by legislative action and/or sociopolitical unrest. In the 1990s, an increasingly neoliberal economic climate and restrictions resulting from the remnants of harsh political violence of the 1980s gave rise to even more challenging circumstances for filmmakers in Peru. Indeed, John King’s observation that “local production remained intermittent” (2000: 281) during that time was something of an understatement. None of this was helped by the abrupt repealing in the early 1990s of a cinema law established in 1972 that included incentives, quotas, and subsidies designed to develop an infrastructure for national cinema production. This chapter explores the impact of these legislative actions on film in Peru, with a focus on the period between 1992 and 2016 when the situation for filmmakers was particularly challenging and with a new government just elected bringing fresh uncertainty. It reflects on the various responses to the changes in state support, in particular on the attempts by producers to patch together mosaics of funding sources that rely less and less on the state. It asks whether we should still perceive of filmmaking in Peru as a situation of “crisis” given the relative boom in production and exhibition of homegrown cinema in recent years, and what form that crisis now takes.
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