Panelists during the launch of the IDB & Netflix report Behind the scenes: Creativity and investment for Latin America and the Caribbean

Mercedes Mateo of IDB: There is a dramatic talent scarcity in the Latin American creative sector
Maribel Ramos-Weiner|10 de septiembre de 2021

“We could be doing more, amplifying, creating scale, but we don't have the talent for the region. We need writing skills. The region suffers from a dramatic shortage in the creative sector,” said Mercedes Mateo, head of the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) during the panel “How to bet on new voices?” within the framework of the launch of the IDB & Netflix report Behind the scenes: Creativity and investment for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Laura Woldenberg, documentary filmmaker and producer, and Aída del Solar, a specialist in Narrative Education, joined Mateo in the panel. Also, the launch of the report included a talk between Alejandra Luzardo, co-author and sector leader of Innovation at the IDB, and Diego Olavarría, lead author and researcher of the publication.

Woldenberg stressed the importance of the diversity of voices on and off the screen. “It is important to open spaces not only in quotas but also in the planning of our productions, the workflows. Being able to incorporate more diverse groups.” She suggested, in terms of content, to take on the impact of the products that reach large audiences. “Promote critical content that stimulates discussion, cultural diversity. There is an important challenge there,” she sentenced.

Del Solar, who specializes in animation, mentioned that public educational entities favor the technical area more, but in order to find a job it is important to know what to say. “What is the story you want to tell and what technique will you use? When you know what you want to say, the animation technique to use it is more easily achieved.”

Mateo explained why the IDB got involved in the audiovisual sector. “Because we saw a lot of potentials. It is important to create resilient economies that respond to the needs of the 21st century, and that is sustainable. Create jobs with better incomes and of higher quality. For this, it is key that we prepare better talents. The priority is to invest in the human sector, in skills."

According to the study that includes the survey of +400 producers, almost 60% said that "we do not have the talent to undertake the new productions.”

Woldenberg said that in five years she would like to see an industry that incorporates new talents and voices, “an export industry, with content that leaves us wondering about the potential that our region has: that generates IP, that creates production hubs, such as those in Mexico, Argentina, among others.”