Federal Cinematography Law reform initiative

Following the issue in mention, we can comment that on April 26, 2021, the correspondent Ruling was presented with a Project Decree that abrogates the Federal Cinematography Law, and the FEDERAL LAW OF CINEMATOGRAPHY AND AUDIOVISUAL is issued, which would be discussed in an extraordinary meeting within the United Commissions of Radio, Television and Cinematography and Legislative Studies, Second of the Senate. In the new project under discussion, the merger and integration of several proposals were considered, being these the following:

  1. From the Senator Susana Harp Iturribarría of the Parliamentary Group of Morena with a Project Decree that adds articles 32, 32 Ter, 32, Quinques, and 32 Sexties, presented in the Senate on February 1, 2021. Said Initiative proposes to establish that the Mexican Institute of Cinematography function as the one promoting cinematography through systems of financial support, venture capital, guarantee, and investment for the benefit of works that are produced by Mexican people and works without any relationship or link with broadcasting services companies of sound and image or serial production electronic communication operators. It determines the criteria by which the beneficiary projects will be chosen, which will be selected by commissions supposedly made up of people with recognized experience in the field.
  2. Likewise, the Initiative presented by Senator Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa of the PRD Parliamentary Group seeks to reform Article 54, specifically sections III and IV., Presented in the Senate on March 23, 2021. The proposal consists of a modification to the federal legislation on cinematography, intending to adapt it to the constitutional reform on the matter of de-indexing the minimum wage. In order to adapt it to the constitutional reform regarding de-indexation of the minimum wage, that is: “… daily value of the Measurement and Update Unit:…”. Being equal to the Initiative presented by the Parliamentary Group of the PRI in its third paragraph.
  3. The Initiative presented by Senator Claudia Edith Anaya Mota, member of the PRI Parliamentary Group, with a Project Decree that modifies various provisions of the Federal Cinematography Law, reforming article 54 in its sections III and IV, presented in the Senate on September 2, 2020, being equivalent to the Initiative presented by the PRD in its second paragraph.
  4. he initiative presented by Senator Miguel Ángel Lucero Olivas, and Senators Geovanna del Carmen Bañuelos de la Torre, Nancy de la Sierra Arámburo, Cora Cecilia Pinedo Alonso and Alejandra del Carmen León Gastélum and Senator Joel Padilla Peña, all members of the Parliamentary Group of the Labor Party, with a Project Decree modifying articles 8, 31 and 42 of the Federal Cinematography Law, which was presented in the Senate on February 11, 2020.
  5. Although, the Initiative stealing the spotlights, is the one presented by Senator Ricardo Monreal Ávila, member of the Parliamentary Group of Morena, with a Project Decree by which the Federal Cinematography Law is repealed and the Federal Cinematography and Audiovisual Law is issued, which was presented in the Senate on February 16, 2021.

The Initiative proposes that all films that were originally produced in a language other than Spanish shown in commercial circuits should do it simultaneously in a version dubbed into Spanish. The ones that promote the exhibition in cinema clubs and non-commercial circuits of foreign films with educational, artistic, or cultural value, will not be obliged to the provision on dubbing.

It is prudent to mention that when reviewing the ruling under discussion on April 26, the initiatives corresponding to sections 1, 2, 3, and 4 were not merged or considered, therefore only the Initiative of section 5 was considered, being the one that would be discussed as the Initiative project mentioned on April 26.

The Initiative to which reference is made proposes to repeal the Federal Law of Cinematography and issue the Federal Law of Cinematography and Audiovisual, whose objective consists of promoting the production, distribution, commercialization, exhibition, and preservation of cinematographic and audiovisual works, as well as its restoration, always seeking the study and attention of matters related to the integration, promotion, and development of the national cinematographic and audiovisual industry and the national cinematographic cultural heritage, to guarantee the audience access to culture, as well as the exercise of their cultural rights, taking into account the cultural diversity and plurality of the Nation.

In the same way, it proposes the creation of mechanisms that generate the necessary conditions to promote the production, distribution, commercialization, and exhibition of films, as well as their rescue and preservation, seeking at all times the attention to the development of the national film industry.

It has a series of minimum bases for the Mexican State to protect and conserve the national Cinematographic Cultural Heritage, as well as support for the incentives that will be regulated for these works.

It contemplates the regulation of the import in the production of cinematographic and audiovisual works, the promotion of the industry; establishes the rights of Film Audiences and the requirements for their formation; It also establishes the powers and attributions that the National Cinematheque will have.

Moreover, it establishes the powers and attributions of the competent authorities, setting up the corresponding sanctions when the provisions contained in this regulation are violated.

However, this proposal has caused some controversy regarding the T-MEC, highlighting that it compromises some of the commitments adopted by Mexico, considering that it could restrict US exports and investments by establishing trade barriers, which could lead to some sanctions to our country.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, on April 27 Senator Monreal through the press and social networks communicated that the proposal had been withdrawn from the discussion, pretending to submit it to public consultation (open parliament), explaining that the reason is “that all points of view can be expressed, and a legal instrument accepted by the greatest number of people involved in the industry is built”.

Senator Monreal revealed that this decision was influenced by the Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto, and various members of the film industry, who he said expressed their desire to participate in the dialogue on the ruling.

At OLIVARES we will continue to actively monitor this proposal and its result, where our Partner Luis C. Schmidt and his team are available for any questions or advice required in this regard.


Luis Schmidt


Luis Schmidt joined OLIVARES in 1991, became a partner in 1995, and has almost 40 years of legal experience, with a specialization in copyright in the business of entertainment and culture. He has represented the world’s leading companies in the music, film, television, book publishing, fine art, design, folklore, and software.



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