Film festivals in Catalonia are in excellent health. And they don't stop growing. The latest to join the list this year - the Catalunya Film Festivals label brings together 48 samples and festivals from all over Catalonia - has been the Buddhist film competition in Barcelona, the first to be held in all of Spain dedicated to this theme. Its first edition, from October 19 to 23, took place in the Verdi cinemas just after the one in Sitges, specializing in fantastic and horror films.
Climate change, education and gender equality are the three axes in which an event was divided that was born from the initiative of the Catalan Coordinator of Buddhist Entities whose purpose is "to screen films that share essential Buddhist values but that are at the same time universal , such as non-violence, or the connection with nature", comments the director of the festival -whose sessions sold out-, Montse Castellà.
At a delicate moment for movie theaters, which find it difficult to recover the rhythm of the pre-pandemic audience despite the wide range of titles available on the billboard, the festivals act as a kind of magnet to attract part of an audience that prefers move within a more specific schedule. Like the one proposed by the Inclús, Barcelona International Film and Disability Festival. Co-directed by Marta De Muga and Adriana Pérez, it reaches its tenth edition with 27 films in competition, including feature films, documentaries and fiction shorts.
A beautiful morning, by Mia Hansen-Løve, about a woman who lives with her father, who suffers from a neurodegenerative disease, was in charge of opening the contest last Tuesday. "The important thing is that there are still movies about disabilities and that means that there are things to explain about these other realities," explains De Muga. And he insists that "all programming is 100% accessible, with audio description for people with visual disabilities and adapted subtitling for deaf people."
The space is inclusive, open to all types of public at the CaixaForum until December 5th. "There are people with disabilities because there is an accessible offer for them, but a more general public also attends. We meet the two objectives: to be an accessible space and to use the cinema and the festival as a window to publicize various situations and different realities".
De Muga makes a positive assessment of these ten years in which the number of attendees has grown. "The feeling is that this year will be more lively, at pre-Covid levels." The films shown must on the one hand fulfill the message that they offer a different vision of disability, "far from victimhood and stereotypes" and on the other "that they have a technical quality to be able to be at an international festival".
Among the parallel activities, there will be a family workshop on recycling techniques and the caravan with children's films Caravana Puck, which calls for uniqueness and respect for difference.
Two other women are in charge of Reteena, the young audiovisual festival in Barcelona, which from December 2 to 11 celebrates its fifth edition at Fabra i Coats and the Filmoteca de Catalunya after having been recognized with the City of Barcelona award in the category of Audiovisuals and Digital Culture. "Starting each edition is a very big challenge. When we started the first one, we never thought we would reach the fifth. We wanted to test if the idea we had interested young people and after the initial positive response we have been refining the proposal, incorporating the screenings of Reteena Essentials, which are cult films that value the playful part of the festival and vindicate the fact of watching movies in community -this time it will be the turn of 10 reasons to hate you, by Gil Junger; Akira, by Katsuhiro Ôtomo ; Moonrise Kingdom, by Wes Anderson and Youngsters and Witches, by Andrew Fleming- and that the Reteena is an experience in which the critical spirit is promoted from a fun and carefree side", points out María Castellví.
Claudia Mera adds: "The important thing is to surround yourself with a team with whom you get along. Every year we open a call for a group of young people to sign up to help us devise our programming and keep it updated." This year they have, among others, award-winning titles starring adolescents such as Aftersun, by Charlotte Wells; The Kings of the World, by Laura Mora, Golden Shell at the San Sebastián Festival, and Rodeo, by Lola Quivoron.
Expanding the cultural baggage of the new generations and forming new audiences is one of the key objectives of this event, which also hosts workshops and talks and which hopes to recover the figures for 2019 after an online 2020 and a "complicated 2021 because we returned to face-to-face after of the pandemic". On Sunday the 4th there will be a special program dedicated entirely to witchcraft from a feminist perspective.
The REC Tarragona International Film Festival is another of the destinations for lovers of the seventh art during this time. Until December 7, during its 22nd edition, it will screen a selection of ten of the best international first films, which make up a complete sample of emerging national and international talent. Suro, by the Basque Mikel Gurrea, is one of the highlights. Also Saint Omer, by the French Alice Diop, winner of the Giraldillo de Oro at the Seville festival. Sonne, by Kurdwin Ayub and Aftersun are other films that can be tasted in addition to the winning films at the Cannes Festivals (The Triangle of Sadness, by Ruben Ostlund), Locarno (Rule 34, by Júlia Murat), and San Sebastián (The Kings of the World, by Laura Mora).
From December 16 to 21, the Italian Film Festival of Barcelona will take over, which celebrates eleven years by offering the most outstanding works of the best recent Italian cinema at the Verdi. Princess, by Roberto De Paolis, will raise the curtain on a program that will include the presence of filmmakers Gianfranco Rosi (In Viaggio), Chiara Bellosi (Calcinculo), Marta Savina (Primadonna), Carolina Cavalli (Amanda), Chiara Bondì and Isabel Achaval (Las Leonas) and Vincenzo Pirrotta (Spaccaossa). It is worth noting the significant female presence of the titles exhibited, with 40% directed by women. Likewise, the Mostra will include activities aimed at the industry, with meetings between distributors and international sales agents.
Ithaka, the documentary about the fight of the family of the well-known activist and journalist Julian Assange to free him, opens today at Maldà cinemas the Barcelona Film and Human Rights Festival, which will be attended by Assange's wife, Stella Morris. Until the next 10th, the contest directed by Toni Navarro will offer more than 100 national and international titles on human rights. “We are very committed to Assange, who inaugurated the festival in 2014 and the goal is for there to be a subsequent debate with the public and the attending press,” says Navarro, who calls for more support for culture.
The actor Juan Diego Botto will come to Barcelona to present his directorial debut On the Margins, which addresses the issue of evictions. He will be accompanied by Angelines Díaz, the real protagonist of the story played by Penélope Cruz, who will intervene by videoconference. Through this medium, the linguist Noam Chomsky will also participate, who will talk about his latest book, the manipulation of language and the situation of Assange. It will be on the 10th at 6:00 p.m. in the Moragues room in El Born Centro de Cultura.
The director and documentarian, Marcel Mettelsiefen, will be present with the screening of the film 'En les seves mans' (co-directed by him together with the Afghan director Tamana Ayazi) based on the life of the youngest female mayor in Afghanistan, Zarifa Ghafari.