Proposed Rule in Mexico Would Require All Foreign Films to Be Dubbed in Spanish & Indigenous Languages

Lead Photo: Friends sharing popcorn in theater. Getty Images
Friends sharing popcorn in theater. Getty Images
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A new initiative by Senator Martí Batres Guadarrama and Mexico’s National Association of Actors hopes to create a more inclusive movie theatre experience – one more reflective of the communities where the films are playing. If the proposed bill passes, all foreign films will be required to show in Spanish as well as the Indigenous languages that are predominant in the region.

The Federal Law of Cinematography in Mexico currently requires films to be shown in their original version with Spanish subtitles, according to El Economista. Only documentaries and children films get full dubbing treatment.

The new language reads, in Spanish: “Films will be exhibited to the public in their original language with Spanish subtitles. Films that are not originally in Spanish must have a dubbed version shown in the same number of rooms as the original, at the same time… In addition, a version dubbed in the predominant Indigenous language of the region must show at least once a day per room.”

The idea, though mostly celebrated, goes against the request of La Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas (AMACC), which prefers subtitles.

Essentially, the proposed bill adds more options for viewers but, as many took to Twitter to clarify, does not revoke the option to watch art in its original form. The new initiative also seeks to protect the rights of those who work in the doblaje industry. “The competition with other countries has gotten [intense],” Rob Gutiérrez, who works in the industry, wrote. “And they have laws that protect them.”

The amended law will require that all translations happen in the country, thus guaranteeing more work and protections for voice actors in Mexico.

“El doblaje Mexicano is considered one of the best –in fact, the best – in the world. It’s one of the few industries that has given us that pride and its MEXICAN workers are seeking better working conditions,” Gutiérrez wrote. “You should be supporting them.”