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Throughout its history, Spanish cinematography has flourished  through the work of great masters. From the genius and provocative works of Buñuel, the inventiveness of Val del Omar, the masterful momentum of Berlanga, Juan Antonio Bardem, Carlos Saura, Josefina Molina, Víctor Erice, Pilar Miró and Cecilia Bartolomé.  Recognizing the greats (those who have paved the way and those who will follow) in Europe and internationally such as Fernando Trueba, and of course, Pedro Almodóvar, Icíar Bollaín, Isabel Coixet and more recently J.A. Bayona or Alejandro Amenábar.

The works of these (many multi-awarded in festivals, Goyas and even Oscar recipients), coincide in time with a plethora of new voices, some which have resonated for more than a decade, and those of a new generation of filmmakers which have given Spanish cinema the heterodoxy that currently characterizes it.

2019 has been a year that perfectly depicts our assessment.

We witnessed it at the 72 Annual Cannes Film Festival, within the category of “un certain regard”, dedicated to the most authorial cinema, the Spanish filmmakers Oliver Laxe (What burns) and Albert Serra (Liberté) both received jury mentions. Moreover, Antonio Banderas also  received the award for best actor for his work in the new Pedro Almodóvar film (Pain and Glory).

These are just a few examples. 2019 began with The Days that Will Come by Carlos Marques Marcet competing in the Official category of the Rotterdam Festival, which later won the Gold Biznaga at the Malaga Festival, followed by the premiere of Elisa and Marcela by Isabel Coixet in the Official category of Berlinale, along with Neús Ballús (Personnel only) which competed in the Panorama category. In Karovy Vary, The August Virgin a film by Jonás Trueba, premiered with positive acclamation of critics and won the FIPRESCI as well as a Special Mention of the International Competition Jury. On the other hand, Longa noite, from Galician filmmaker Eloy Enciso competed in the main category of a reference in Locarno Festival, where he won the Boccalino D’oro for best director.

The movie (Buñuel in the turtle labyrinth was awarded as the best European animation film of 2019 and won the jury prize at the Annecy Festival, the most important animation in the world; The hole (Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia), representing the fantastic genre cinema, seduced and won the audience prize at the Toronto Festival and the awards for best film, best new director and also the audience at the International Fantasy Film Festival of Sitges.

Blanco en blanco, by Théo Court won the Best Director Award and the FIPRESCI (International Critics Award), in the Orizzonti Section of the Venice Film Festival, the same competition in which Mother, of Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Zumiriki, of de Óskar Alegría.

And of course, the great celebration of the Spanish cinema that lived the Festival of San Sebastián, with the premieres of While the war lasts, by Alejandro Amenábar, The infinite trench, of Jon Garaño, José María Goenaga and Aitor Arregi, the emergence of new voices of Spanish cinematography in filmmakers such as Belén Funes (The daughter of a thief) or Lucía Alemany (La inocencia), among many others.

All this in an exercise that has left four Spanish titles with a collection exceeding 10 million euros in the national box office: Father there is only one (Santiago Segura), I leave it whenever I want (Carlos Therón), If I were Rico (Álvaro Fernández Armero) and, again, While the war lasts (Alejandro Amenábar). The new year has already started strongly, again with a Spanish film in the main competition in Rotterdam, The year of the discovery, of Luis López Carrasco, and with new projects already underway by directors with a promising future such as Clara Roquet, Pilar Palomero, Elena López Riera who jumps in the long run with Agua (winner of the Cinèfondation CNC Award in Cannes) and of course, Carla Simón, who is filming this year her second feature film, Alcarrás, which continues in her filmography to the successful Summer 1993, and that already in development phase it has obtained recognitions like the Eurimages Prize in the Co-Production Market, of Berlinale 2019.

Spanish cinema has a present and constant effervescence… an exciting future. Tradition, vanguard, talent, youth, heterodoxy…

Source: ICAA Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts and Embassy of Spain in the Dominican Republic

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