Each year, the eggheads over at Latin America’s respective national film institutes crunch some numbers and figure out just how healthy their local industries are. Data like number of films produced, number of films exhibited, and box office receipts allow us professional cinenerds to look for trends and feel out where the winds of cine Latino are blowing.
And as any Latino film geek will gladly tell you, those numbers have been up, up, and away over the last few years, with record production and healthy box-office draws in countries like Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia. Nevertheless, every once in a while a young industry might experience a slight setback to an otherwise upward trend; and now as the numbers roll in on 2015, it seems on of Latin America’s most promising young industries has taken un pasito p’atrás.
Since passing the Ley de Cine incentivizing both local and international production five years ago, Dominican Republic has been defying expectations with a booming local industry that reached its peak in 2014 with an impressive 20 national films screening theatrically at local cinemas. That year, crime comedies featuring cherished local actors like Vamos de robo and Un lío en dolares pulled in eight-digit box office numbers (in the local currency, of course), far surpassing the pesos pulled in by 2013’s fourteen productions.
Unfortunately, last year the number of local premieres dropped a bit to eighteen, which you could take to mean that 2015 was a slower year for Dominican film, or that 2014 was exceptionally productive. Either way, things are looking bright for Quisqueya la bella’s cinematic future, with 2015 features like P’al Campamento, Los Paracaidistas, Tubérculo Gourmet, and Todo Incluido drawing more than 600,000 spectators at local cinemas.
For comparison’s sake, Mexico premiered an extremely healthy 68 national films back in 2014, with the highest draw being La dictadura perfecta‘s 4.2 million spectators, but La tierra del nopal has twelve times the population of DR. In other words, with regards to películas per capita, Republica Dominicana está acabando.
See a complete list of the Dominican films that made it to theaters in 2015 here.