Reproduced from venezuelanalysis.com. First published on 6 June 2006, so a bit old, but I thought it might complement the post that follows.
By Pablo Navarrete – Venezuelanalysis.com
Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez inaugurated
a new film studio complex aimed at challenging what he called
“Hollywood’s cultural dictatorship”.
“Through [Hollywood’s films],
[we are inoculated] with messages that don’t belong to our traditions,
rather they weaken our culture and our morality,” said Chávez at the
inauguration, according to the Venezuelan daily Ultimas Noticias. Chávez also
accused Hollywood of portraying Latin Americans as violent criminals,
thieves and drug traffickers and described the studio complex as a new
weapon in Venezuela’s “cultural artillery” against U.S. cultural
The Film Villa Foundation,situated in Guarenas, near
Caracas, received an initial Ministry of Culture investment of over $8.3
million, less than a tenth the amount spent on the average Hollywood
The first phase of the complex includes areas for production
and post-production equipped with the latest technology, according
to Venezuela’s Minister of Culture, Francisco Sesto, who also attended the
Sesto said that the government hoped the complex
would provide a platform for the production of Venezuelan films and the
purchase of independent films from abroad, including the United States.
On average the Venezuelan film industry produces one film every four
years, according to government figures.
Angel Palacios, an
award-winning Venezuelan independent film maker,
told Venezuelanalysis.com, “During many years cinema production
was limited to those people who had lots of money or the fortune to
study abroad. In my opinion the creation of the Film Villa Foundation is
a great step forward in the democratisation of cinema production herein
Sesto also announced that this year the government will
inaugurate one hundred community halls for projecting digital videos. In
November 2005, a new cinema law committed government funds to the
development of the Venezuelan film industry.
In a related
initiative, last year the Venezuelan government provided majority funding
for Telesur, a Spanish-language television channel launched to challenge
news coverage provided by major corporate networks and to promote Latin