Wednesday, 19 December 2007

A Pinch of Galicia at Sundance

1977, an animation short film from Peque Varela (Ferrol, 1977) has been selected among more than 5000 proposals to participate at the Sundance Film Festival to be held from January 17th to January 27th 2008 in Park City, Utah.

1977 (9 min., color, Sony HD Cam) will be part of the Animation Spotlight, a collection of nine animation stories that “whether hand-drawn, computer-animated, or stop-motion, are more mesmerizing and daring than ever”.

The film is Varela’s graduation project at the London’s National Film and Television School (in fact, 1977 is credited as an UK film). An autobiographical work, 1977 includes Galician locations bound to Varela’s childhood like the Carranza neighbourhood in Ferrol Vello or Ares.

Congratulations, Peque!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Galician cinema in Havana

Two Galician co-productions participate in the Havana's Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano. Jorge Algora's The Mud Boy and Carlos Larrondo's LT22 Radio La Colifata. The first one have been already discussed in this blog, so please refer to previous posts. Larrondo's documentary tells the story of Radio La Colifata, a radio station run entirely by the patients of the J.T.Borda Psychiatric Hospital in Buenos Aires. Recorded and broadcast from the hospital gardens, it is heard the world over.

This radio station breaks down the dividing wall between the “sane” and the “insane”. It gives the word to “the insane”, who in turn show us, the “sane”, the many things are we incapable of seeing.

The festival also hosted a press conference were directors and producers involved talked about their films (Jorge Algora and Susana Maceiras for The Mud Boy; Carlos Larrondo and Antón Reixa for LT22...).

More than 1500 people assisted to the first two presentations of El Niño de Barro at the Cine Yara in Vedado, Havana.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Carlos Saura visits Galicia

Carlos Saura visited Galicia to introduce his last film, Fados. The film, which was premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, is the first film from Saura not shot in Spanish, but in Portuguese.

The film was screened at Santiago de Compostela's Teatro Principal in the framework of the 5th Mostra Portuguesa, a yearly event that presents in Galicia and other spanish regions the latest cultural developments of Portugal.

Fados collects performances by the top fado artists from Portugal (Mariza, Carlos do Carmo...) as well as artists from Brazil, Cabo Verde, Spain, and Mexico. The film was shot entirely in Madrid, with a crew & cast half Portuguese, half Spanish.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Broadcast rainbow

Serendipity was on my side today. This post does not have to do with Galician cinema, but I believe it is worth sharing.

Pedroso, which hosts one the main broadcasting facilities in Galicia looked this way this morning.

Nice, huh?

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Me on TV!

I have just noticed that one of the appearances on the Curtas na Rede show on the right its me! Guess where?

Another award for the mud boy

The Mud Boy / O Neno de Barro received the award of the press to the best international film at the International Film Festival of Viña del Mar, Chile, which celebrated its 19th edition from 21 to 27 October. Algora's films was selected to participate in the official section.

Film director Jorge Algora, received the good news in Valladolid where he was presenting his film at the Spanish Cinema section of SEMINCI.

Montreal, Santo Domingo, Brussels, Ourense, Caracas, Havana, ... name it international presence!

Galician Cinema on the Net

The government of Galicia increases the Internet visibility of Galician audiovisual production through Cine Galego na Rede (Galician Cinema on the Net).

Cine Gelego Na Rede is an initiative by the Secretary General of Communication - General Directorate of Audiovisual Comunication (Secretaría Xeral de Comunicación - Dirección Xeral de Comunicación Audiovisual) to promote Galician audiovisual production on the Internet.

The main objectives of this project are to facilitate access to the audiovisual content to broadcasters providing access to essential information to enable the negotiation of broadcasting rights; the digitization of Galician audiovisual material, initiating a modernization process that will take place during the next few years.; the classification of Galician productions according to international standards; and the promotion of the Galician audiovisual industry supporting the marketing efforts performed by production and distribution companies.

This project has the support and cooperation of Televisión de Galicia, the Galician public broadcaster.

The first results of this project can be seen at Audiovisual de Galicia TV.

De Bares at the International Filmfest Braunschweig

Galician director Mario Iglesias’ De Bares (Matriuska Producciones and Galician producer Voz Audiovisual) has been selected for participation at the 21st edition of the International Filmfest Braunschweig, Germany.

De Bares/Drink Up participates at the The “Heinrich” Audience Award competition for a prize fund of 10.000 € donated by the Volkswagen Bank. Before each film, voting cards are handed out for the audience's evaluation and the film with the highest average wins. The awards ceremony takes place on the 11th November.

De Bares was premiered last year at the Valladolid’s SEMINCI Meeting Point section, being very well received by viewers and film specialists.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Curtas na Rede TV

Today I have embedded a new widget in this blog. It is a TV set that will continuously broadcast the short films awarded at the Curtas na Rede short film contest. This widget is a courtesy of Mogulus. See how it was created at this Curtas na Rede blog entry. I hope you enjoy it!

The dead’s new web portal

Coinciding with the celebration of All Saints Day (November 1st), inline with the Samaín Celtic or America's Halloween celebration, it was released last week the official website Os Mortos van ás presas (The dead go fast). The site, which has been designed by the Galician company Otii Planet with the financial support of the Galician Audiovisual Consortium, is devoted to several aspects of the film and its production process – story, cast, technical staff, locations, downloads, etc. – Os Mortos will begin shooting next February 25th. A shooting log will also be included, where director and writer Angel de la Cruz will share his comments and experiences.

Galician fraga moves to USA

The last production of Galician Dygra Films, David Rubin’s Spirit of the Forest, is being presented at Santa Monica’s American Film Market through Fantastic Films International LLC. Dygra Films inked last spring a strategic agreement with this Hollywood distributor / producer for the worldwide release of the Galician animation company’s third animated feature film, Spirit of the Forest, within the framework of a global approach to advance in expansion plans and international presence of their feature films.

Dygra Films carries out all the production process of a 3D feature film. Dygra got in 2002 a nomination for the Príncipe Felipe Award for Business Excellence in the Technological Innovation category. Their first two feature films, The Living Forest (2001) and Midsummer Dream (2005) have become international successes and have given three Spanish Academy Goya Awards to Dygra Films.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Galician Films Exhibition in Malta

The Consorcio Audiovisual de Galicia and the Embassy of Spain in Malta organize the Galician Films Exhibition, to be held from 8th to 11th November at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta.

This initiativa has the aim to show a small sample of the cinema that is being produced by Galician companies. The films selected belong to different genres including triller, drama and animation and have participated in film festivals such as Toronto, Locarno, Montreal, San Sebastian, Sitges, or Seminci. Some of them have won awards in festivals such as Festival de Cine de Málaga or Cinemas d'Espagne et d'Amerique Latin de Bruxelles.

The films selected are Carlos Iglesias' 1 Franco 14 Pesetas, Xavier Villaverde's 13 badaladas, manuel Gutiérrez Aragón's A vida que te espera, and Miguelanxo Prado's De Profundis.

Cans at The Hague

The Hague’s Shoot-Me Film Festival includes this year the screening Los Cortos de Cans with the winners of Festival de Cans 2007.

Both Shoot-Me and Cans belong to AnyWhere Cinema Association, an international non-profit organization intended to collect film festivals around the world sharing a creative way of secreening films. Both film festivals share key features: a taste for unusual locations screening films in places where you might not otherwise go, and focus on filmmakers from all over the world as well as from just around the corner.

Films included in this screening are Carlos Contreras’ Agroglamour, Juan Pablo Etcheverry’s A Flor mais grande do mundo, Fernando Cortizo’s A Promesa, Antón Coucheiro’s Las Carreiras Secretas, Jorge Saavedra’s Sen Chumbo, and Alexandre Marzoa’s Temporada 92-93.

Shoot-Me is held in The Hague from October, 25th to October 28th.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Present and Future

According to the annual report of FAPAE, the Federation of Spanish Producers’ Associations, Galicia represents 24% of the regional financial incentives to the audio-visual sector available in Spain, only surpassed by Catalonia with 37%, and ahead of Andalusia or Basque Country. On the other hand, and according to data in the same report, Galicia has not yet reached 4% of the audio-visual Spanish market.

Nevertheless, we are experiencing a remarkable presence, at least in qualitative terms, in the international audio-visual panorama. This presence is materialized, for example, in the success of co-productions of the Raíces program like The Hairy Tooth Fairy, the more profitable Spanish film this year so far, or The Mud Boy, an opera prima with excellent results in international festivals. We also assist to the positioning outside Galicia of some Galician producers, or to the consolidation of our fiction production for television, with products that together with news programs contribute to maintain an average share for TVG around a reasonable 15% in a tremendously competitive context.

All this, along with the institutional initiatives that the General Secretariat of Communication develops through the DG Audiovisual Communication, the actions that the Galician Audiovisual Consortium carries out in the field of the commercialization and outer promotion, and – of course - the efforts of the private sector, keep Galician audio-visual products visible beyond the Galician borders.

Nevertheless, these aspects - the availability of relatively abundant public financing, and some external visibility – should not hide what, in my opinion, are the main challenges that our audio-visual sector will have to face sooner than later, fundamentally related to financing and marketing models.

Insofar state and regional public financing is concerned, although quantitatively reasonable, they are not efficiently distributed along the value chain. As a consequence, far from being a real boost factor for this sector, they contributed to lead it to a certain state of continuous crisis.

In my opinion, solutions are bound to models that take into account in an integral way the viability of the projects when taking investment decisions. That is, models that assess the projects throughout all the value chain, from their conception to their commercial exploitation. On the other hand, public support initiatives should facilitate the incorporation of private capital in the instruments available. For example, the agreement signed a couple of weeks ago by the Regional Government of Galicia, the financial organization Caixa Galicia and the Galician Audio-visual Consortium, will be an important step towards this direction. Incidentally, this is one of the first initiatives in Spain – if not the first one – that, assuming the inherent risk in any economic activity, as been designed based on recovery and sustainability criteria.

With respect to marketing and commercialization, and although Galicia is not an exception in the European context, we are beginning to work towards a quality-driven production that will facilitate a greater acceptance by audiences. There are reasons to be optimistic for the future. With the development of new audio-visual mass media in Galicia - around fifty new local and regional private broadcasters - the development of mobile TV, and the consolidation of the Internet as a mainstream audio-visual diffusion channel, and, new business opportunities appear. In this context, quality and talent are both the challenges and the key factors.

Galicia at the Heartland Film Festival

Gustavo Ron’s Mia Sarah has two nominations at the 16th Heartland Film Festival to be held in Indianapolis, from October 18th to October 26th. This festival honors beautifully made films that celebrate the positive aspects of life. The festival, a non-profit organization, is devoted to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life. The motto of the festival is Dramatically Different.

Mia Sarah is co-produced by Galician producers Formato Producciones (70%), Filmax- Castelao Productions, Área 5.1 Factoría Audiovisual, and CRTVG (8%), with Galician locations in A Coruña, Betanzos and Sada, and Richmond (London, GB).

Monday, 1 October 2007

Galician public-private coin, Inc.

The regional government of Galicia Xunta de Galicia and largest Galician savings bank Caixa Galicia have reached an agreement to create a company to participate as co-producers in audiovisual projects with other Galician private co-producers.

The company starts with an € 3 M share capital, and will invest up to € 600,000 in selected projects.

Candidate projects must have a budget of at least € 2,2 M, and the Galician producer must participate with at least € 100,000 from its own money (capital grants and other public subsidies are not eligible for this).

Projects will be selected according to their production design and marketing and distribution agreements, trying to maximize the chances of cashing back the invested funds. The aim is to make this initiative sustainable.

European private and public institutions sharing together risks in audiovisual investments. What a change, isn't it?

Saturday, 22 September 2007

From Toulouse to Bogotá

The presence of Galician films at international films festivals keeps growing.

Azucena Rodríguez’s Atlas de xeografía humana will participate at the CineSpaña Festival to be held in Toulouse from September 28th to October 7th. This film is base on a film from Almudena Grandes.

Mario IglesiasDe Bares will be the only Spanish film selected for competition at the 24th edition of the Festival de Cine de Bogotá. This film, shot in Pontevedra, will compete for the Precolombino de Oro prize. This festival will be held in Bogotá, Colombia from October 3rd to October 11th.

Galicia at San Sebastian

This year no Galician production has been selected for competition. However, this does not mean that Galicia will not be present at the 55th International Film Festival at all!

Three Galician films have been included in Made in Spain (20% of films in this section, not a bad figure). They are Unha muller invisible, De profundis and Bolboreta, mariposa, papallona. Part of Horizontes Latinos, Made in Spain offers to press agents and buyers a rigorous selection of the year's most interesting Spanish productions in close co-ordination with the festival’s Sales Office. Let us hope that Made in Spain opens the door to new market opportunities for these films!

The Galician Audiovisual Consortium, DG Audiovisual Communication and Foro Galego do Audiovisual organize the Happy Hour Galicia Terra de Cine at the Kursaal’s Press room. This promotion event will be conducted by Galician actors María Castro and Manuel Lozano.

The festival will present a retrospective on Philippe Garrel and will publish a book on his work in collaboration with the Basque Film Archive and the CGAI Galician Center of Image Arts, coordinated by Quim Casas and written by various authors. The retrospective will also be shown in Galicia at the CGAI theater.

Galicia will also participate in the Spain Film Commission meeting, the Ancine Cinema do Brasil meeting, and the annual meeting of the Raices co-production fund, promoted by Galicia, Catalonia, Argentina and Andalusia. During this meeting, the projects to be funded for the next year will be selected.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Frank Braña, Romero Merchant, and Roman Walls

The Lugo’s 39th International Author’s Cinema Week takes place this week. This year’s program includes two special sections dedicated to two of the most relevant figures of Spanish cinema: Rafael Romero Marchent and Frank Braña (at least for an Alan Smithee's standards).

Frank Braña (1934) a.k.a. Frank Blank, Francisco Brama, Francisco Brana, Franck Brana, Frank Brana, Frank Branya, Francisco Braña or Paco Braña is one of the most prolific Spanish actors. To write down a complete list of his films is practically impossible. Apart from his many aliases, he was not credited in many films. In any case, he has been confirmed to appear in more than 200 movies, almost always in a supporting role. He died in more than 100 films, being reputed as the best dying actor in Spain. Frank Braña was born in Asturias, although he spent most of his childhood in Fonsagrada, Galicia.

He participated in many of the worst films produced in Spain between 1972 and 1980, in turn one of the worst periods in Spanish filmmaking (S-rated films, late spaghetti westerns, chorizo westerns, Z series horror movies, …). However, some gems could be saved from his prolific filmography:

· La muerte tenía un precio
· El hombre que mató a Billy el Niño
· El bueno el feo y el malo
· Perros Callejeros
· Cañas y Barro

Spanish director Rafael Romero Marchent's (1926) philosophy of life drove his extended career in Spanish cinema: A film director must know all other filmaking jobs. He worked as performing actor, dubbing actor, famous actress’s boyfriend, writer, and many other technical functions. He has around 60 films in his curriculum (many of them completely forgettable, btw), but he also was the alma mater behind two TV shows that are basic milestones of the Spanish transition to democracy: Curro Jiménez and Cañas y Barro.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Burgers and Crêpes Suzette to nurture audiovisual talent

From the appearance, almost a decade ago, of the seminal reality show format Big Brother, TV format designers have been proposing recurring versions of the show along the last years. Galician pilgrims, to-be singing stars, future fashion models, tobacco addicts… almost every candidate to rapid popularity can find his or her niche in one or another TV channel.

On August 21st, in my way to Montreal, it was aired the last chapter of On the Lot, a kind of variant of American Idol from Fox TV produced by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett. It is about a competition among to-be-filmmakers for a one millon dollar prize covering the production costs of a movie with Dream Works, plus the mentorship of Steven Spielberg.

The final winner for 2007 was Will Bigham, a film editor originally from Canyon, TX, currently living in Glendale, CA. Bigham attended the Florida State University’s Film School.

For a Galician like me, this show points out how important are economies of scale in filmmaking. The show started with a casting of around 12,000 candidates from all around the world to make a first selection of 50 people, selection that was refined to appoint a final winner. Probably, most participants will earn a career in filmmaking or at TV, if not already in the show business. A taxy driver from New York told me this summer that between 800 and 1,000 films were shot anually only at the Big Apple, most of them never reaching the movie theaters. Note that most funding for audiovisual production in the States come from the private sector, which obviously will try to get the most from their investments. My conclusion, expressed as two rethorical questions:

Taking into account the number of good films that come from the states, and the lot of resources (human, financial) that are consumed to produce them, How many good films can be produced in Galicia on itself? Does anybody think that co-producing is not a neccessity?

The one million dollar prize was intended to finance the production of an independent film with Dream Works. How this compare with the usual budget of Galician independent productions of similar characteristics?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Chroniques Québécoises

This summer I had the chance of visiting the Montreal World Film Festival. This year, two Galician productions participated in this event, The Mud Boy was selected to compete for the Zenith to the best first fiction feature film, and The Lesser Evil, which was selected among the Focus on World Cinema films. During this trip, I had the chance to meet some interesting people from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and to visit a reference institution for the Galician audiovisual sector, the Cinémathèque Québécoise, a peer institution of Galician CGAI Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe.

I was invited to participate in the premier of The Mud Boy at the Cinémas du Quartier Latin with Director Jorge Algora and producer Susana Maceiras. This film is a Galician-Catalonian-Argentinean co-production financed by the Raices audiovisual fund.

That night I had also the chance of share a glass of wine with Spanish journalist Javier Angulo, Carmelo Romero (chief officer of the Malaga Film Market), Mexican Jorge Sánchez Sosa (General Director of the Guadalajara International Film Festival, Serge Losique (President of the festival’s Board of Directors), and Danielle Cauchard (General Director of the festival) among others.

We agreed that this festival is a good opportunity to promote Spanish cinema in general, and Galician cinema in particular. This edition, Spain was the third country insofar selected films is concerned after Canada and France, and Spanish films were among the most acclamed films programmed.

More than 1,000 people enjoyed The Mud Boy at Montreal, the theater being almost full every time it was shown.

The other Galician production, a 100% Galician production from Voz Audiovisual, was also a success. I only had the chance to assist to the international premiere on August, 29th. Again, a practically full theatre and a wonderful response from the audience.

As said, I also had the chance to visit the Quebec Film Archives, where I tried to gather some information about the Canadian support to the audiovisual sector, and more specifically, the public support to French speaking films.

Basically, there are two institutions that contribute to the support to audiovisual production at Quebec: SODEC (Society for the Development of Cultural Enterprises of Quebec), and Téléfilm Canada, the latter with a Canadian scope.

SODEC supports the cultural industry in general, and therefore the audiovisual industry. It supports original script writing, short film and feature film production, documentary film production, promotion of film and TV production, exports and international presence, and the promotion of Quebec’s film locations. SODEC provides financial support, fiscal support, and capital investments in audiovisual enterprises.

Téléfilm Canada is devoted primarily to commercial audiovisual. TC was initially targeted to film production, but was lately reoriented towards TV production. Present time support programs of TC consist of capital funds.

To sum up, Canadian public support to the audiovisual sector in Quebec is made up from complementary approaches at several levels: from a culture stance (SODEC) and a communication stance (TC); as capital grants and as capital funds; production-oriented and promotion-oriented… No doubt is an interesting model to study further.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Galician Audiovisual Maps & Directions

Are you visiting Galicia? Do you want to know where the Galician Audiovisual hot spots are? Here you have links to Google maps of these places:

  • Xunta de Galicia - Regional Government of Galicia. Secretaría Xeral de Comunicación (Dirección Xeral de Comunicación Audiovisual) and Consellería de Cultura (Dirección Xeral de Creación e Difusión Cultural). San Caetano S/N. Santiago de Composela.
  • CGAI. Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe. Galician Film Archives. Rúa Durán Loriga, 6. A Coruña.
  • Edificio do Hórreo. Consorcio Audiovisual de Galicia, Centro Multimedia de Galicia, Rede de Telecentros de Comunicación, Curtas na Rede, Audiovisual de Galicia, Galicia Film Comission. Rúa do Hórreo, 61. Santiago de Compostela.
  • CRTVG. Televisión de Galicia. Radio Galega. Radio Galega Música. Bando-San Marcos. Santiago de Compostela.
  • Galicia Dixital. Audiovisual, 3D & Multimedia permanent exhibition. Mosteiro de San Martiño Pinario. Santiago de Compostela.
  • Clube Internacional de Prensa & AG Revista do Audiovisual Galego. Avenida da Coruña, 6 baixo. Santiago de Compostela.
  • AAG. Axencia Audiovisual Galega. Conselleria de Cultura's Administrative unit for audiovisual.

Enjoy them!

Four texts in English

I've just surfed the Net in the quest for documents in English about Galician Cinema. I Googled for

"galician cinema" filetype:pdf

and got the following gems:

Not bad, isn't it?

Another Galician Film at Montreal WFF

O menor dos males, a 100% Galician production, has been invited to be included in Focus on World Cinema at the Montreal World Film Festival.

This film, directed by Antonio Hernández, was shot last summer in a Galician pazo at Ponte Maceira, a small village next to Santiago de Compostela. The cast includes Carmen Maura (Pedro Almodovar's Volver and Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), Roberto Álvarez (Spanish TV show Hospital Central), Marta Belenguer (TV shows Camera Cafe and Aquí no hay quien viva) and Verónica Echegui (Yo soy la Juani) , and Galician actors Berta Ojea, Antonio Durán Morris (Los Lunes al Sol), César Cambeiro and Xavier Deive.

This film was officially presented at the Malaga Film Festival, where it was awarded the best screenplay (Antonio Hernández), best actress in a supporting role (Verónica Echegui), and best costume (Galician designer Ruth D. Pereira).

So, Galicia is present at the Montreal WFF with two productions: O Neno de Barro and O Menor dos Males

Friday, 20 July 2007

O Neno de Barrro / The Mud Boy reviewed at Variety

Last July 9th Variety published what I think is a very positive review of The Mud Buy, taking into account the standards of this journal. Congratulations to Susana Maceira and Jorge Algora! Jorge’s opera prima really deserves it.
You can access the complete text at Variety online.

Four Galician short films in Seoul, London & Madrid

Pablo Millán’s Longo camino de pedra (Long stoneway), A meiga chuchona (The Sucking Witch) and O conxuro (Incantation); and Eduardo Armada’s Las dos vidas de Ernesto Pena (The two lives of Ernesto Pena) have been selected for competition at festivals in London, Seoul and Madrid.

Longo camino de piedra will compete at the EXIS Film & Video Festival taking place in Seoul next August. Millan will also present his work at London’s Portobello Magic Film Festival, together with A meiga chuchona and O conxuro, this latter short film being a joint work with Ana Lombao and Luis Iglesias.

Eduardo Armada will compete with Las dos vidas de Ernesto Pena at the 16th Festival Plataforma Nuevos Realizadores de Madrid, to be held in Madrid from September 11th to September 18th.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

O Neno de Barro selected for the Montreal World Film Festival

O Neno de Barro, first feature film of Galician director Jorge Algora, has been selected for participation at the 31st Montreal World Film Festival. This film will participate at the The First Films World Competitiom, which will give the opportunity to authors of selected first feature films to be recognized. A separate jury will award the Golden Zenith, Silver Zenith and Bronze Zenith to the winners of this section.

The Montreal World Film Festival will be held August 23 to September 3, 2007.

By the way, if everything goes out as planned, I will travel to Montreal to support my friends Jorge Algora and Susana Maceira.

Galician presence at the Sunny Side of the Doc

The Galician Audiovisual Consortium will be present at the La Rochelle, France to present Docs Galicia 06 to the international community. Docs Galicia is a documentary catalog collecting the most relevant documentary projects produced or co-produced in Galicia during 2006.

The Consortium will have its own stand at Sunny Side of the Doc's European Spot, were other Spanish delegations like Catalan Films & TV, Niniak or Promo Madrid will also be located.

Docs Galicia o6 projects include Adán Alaga's La Casa de mi Abuela (awarded at Chicago Film Fest, IDFA and Documenta Madrid), Eloy Enciso's Pic Nic, Ruth Chao's 2050 How Soon is now, Ángel Peláez's As Voces do Prestige, and Pela del Alamp's A Cuarta Pista.

Tic Tac Producciones, a Galician production company, will also be present at La Rochhelle with its own production catalog.

The Galician audiovisual magazine is born

A new publication, AG revista do audiovisual galego, was presented last week in Santiago de Compostela. This new journal is published by the Foro Galego do Audiovisual, a joint initiative of the Fundacion Caixa Galicia and the Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe.

AG revista do audiovisual galego is published trimonthly, and includes news about the Galician audiovisual sector, in-depth articles and essays about relevant topics, interviews, reports on going-on projects, historical studies…

The members of the editorial staff are Miguelanxo Fernández, Eduardo Galán, José Luis Losa, Esther Medina, Jaime Pena, Teresa Porto and José Manuel Sande.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

The Galician Academy 2006 Awards

Last May 9th the Galician Audiovisual Academy celebrated its Mestre Mateo awards night. 26 awards were given out at a televised ceremony at the Colon theatre in La Coruña. In my personal opinion, this was the best show in years. It was funny and not too long (less than two hours). Besides, 2006 was the most prolific year so far for the Galician audiovisual, which improved the average quality of nominees in almost all categories.

Some of the awards (for a complete list see

The most awarded production was Un franco, 14 pesetas (6 awards).

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Entertainment and Art

According to the Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary, entertainment is shows, performances, films, etc. that people watch for pleasure. On the other side, art is the creation and production of works when these things are considered to be beautiful or to express in a unique way a particular idea or meaning. Art objects are part of a given society's culture. Entertainment put its focus in the audience, in the public, whereas in art the focus is in artists themselves. Entertainment works are very influenced by public expectations as, well, they are created to entertain. On the other side, art creations in general are not conditioned by the public's expectations, but only by the artist or artists that perform them.

Entertainment production costs a lot of money. You have to maximize the "entertaining power" of your work for audiences as wider as possible. Entertainment works are considered a success when their audiences are large enough for the producers to recover the initial investment and some financial benefit. By definition, entertainment is closely related to marketing and distribution.

On the other side, art production is relatively cheaper. You have only to provide the means for the artist to create, to be able to complete that work that express in a unique way a particular idea or meaning. Art creation does not need neither marketing nor distribution at the scale entertainment does.

Movies can be entertainment or art, and in very very rare cases both. The focus can be put on the audiences (we have entertainment), or in providing the means for the artists to express themselves. Insofar cinema is concerned, majors' productions are the paradigm of entertainment, and (good) independent cinema is the paradigm of art.

According to the definitions above, when thinking about cinema, TV broadcasters, distributors, and theater owners are thinking about entertainment, whereas cultural departments in most governments in Europe are thinking about art.

What about film producers? Well, you cannot produce entertainment with structures, legislation and attitudes tuned up to produce art.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Soccer and Cinema

The most important Basque soccer team, Athletic Bilbao, use to hire players born or grown up exclusively in the Basque country. This was a motive of proud during the early '80s, when the Spanish major league was won by Basque teams between 1980 and 1984 (two each Athletic and Real Sociedad). Qualifying for the UEFA cup was the objective during the '90s. Today, the objective is just to remain among the teams at the major league. Alavés, other Basque team with the same philosophy, is already stuck at the second division.

The rest of the teams at the Spanish major league hire their players at the international market. Besides, after the Bosman case, all players in the European Union have the same consideration as the Spanish nationals insofar the transfer system is concerned (only a limited number of foreign players are allowed to play in a club match).

To sum up, most European soccer clubs today configure their teams from a pan-European pool of players, including a limited number of players from outside of the EU, whereas Athletic Bilbao may only select players born or grown up at the Basque country. As we are talking about a competition, putting forward identity and commitment with a territory in a scenery where the rest of the teams play with the complete deck of cards, may compromise severely the future of Athletic Bilbao as a soccer club.

In my opinion, there are interesting similarities with some national cinemas, like Galicia's.

Fore example, public support to audiovisual development and production focuses on the "galicity" of the projects when deciding the amount of the capital grant that goes to each of the competing projects. No objection to this: Galician public funds should benefit the Galician industrial fabric and the Galician artists, professionals and creators. I understand that identity, language and commitment with a territory should be important references for these public policies.

However, when a Galician producer accepts a Galician public capital grant, the package also includes a series of commitments (majority of Galician cast and/or technical staff, obligation to be released in Galician including the zero copy, etc) that might compromise the international acceptation of the final product and the participation in the project of other Spanish and international co-producers. The situation gets worse when the co-production structure includes producers from other Spanish territories (e.g. Catalonia) with similar requisites: the film must be both Galician, Catalonian, Andalusian, …

My conclusion: capital grants as they are implemented today are fine for experimental or innovative projects, first projects, short films, local-focused and culturally-biased initiatives. In general, these are projects that cannot be compromised by an Athletic de Bilbao situation.

In my opinion, if you producer are thinking about a big project, think big. Galician capital grants may be not for you.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Curtocircuito vs. Curtas na Rede

Two short film-related initiatives are active at this time in Galicia: the Santiago de Compostela's Curtocircuito Short Film Festival and the Curtas na Rede contest on the net.

Some similarities.

  • Both are about short films
  • Both span along several months (from winter to autumm)
  • Both include a 30' micromovie section
  • Both promote creativity
  • Both are international in nature
  • Both act as a showcase for new talent
  • Both use the net as the basic tool to promote participation

However, Curtocircuito is a full-fledged international festival, and Curtas is basically a (more modest) contest. Anyway, they complement each other in several ways. See it for yourself!

4th Curtocircuito International Short Film Festival

Today was announced in Santiago de Compostela the 4th edition of the Curtocircuito International Short Film Festival.

This festival is becoming an international reference in the community of short film freaks. Its main sections are:

  • Compostela Curtocircuito. Short film competition with four different categories: fiction, animation, video-creation and documentary. This year's editions also includes a micromovies contest targeted to free subject productions with a maximum length of 30 seconds. In this competition, creativity and talent will be the most valued.
  • Compostela Plató. Scriptwriting competition whose objective is the production of a prize-winning script and its subsequent shooting and distribution in an extensive network of national and international festivals
  • Curtocircuito na rúa. Screenings during every summer Thursday in the squares of Santiago de Compostela's old town.
  • Non te curtes. Edition contest-workshop based on Avid technologies.
  • An international short film market

This year, the staff of Curtocircuíto incorporates Tim Redford as the festival's Director to coordinate all activities of the Festival and those of the II the International Short Film Market. Among other activities, Tim directed the Project and Media Signals Festival, in Colchester, United Kingdom, contributed to the coordination of the International Short film Festival at Clermont-Ferrand, and acted as the Jury coordinator at the International Short film Festival Bristol.

More information:

Friday, 2 March 2007

Galician Films at the Málaga Film Festival

Four films co-produced by Galician producers will compete with another ten feature films during this year's edition of the Malaga Film Festival. Anton Reixa's Hotel Tívoli, Antonio Hernández's El menor de los males, Azuzena Rodríguez's Atlas de geografía humana and Rodrigo Cortés' Concursante will be shown between March 9th and March 17th at the MFF 10th edition official section.

The Galician co-producers are Filmanova Invest and Televisión de Galicia (Hotel Tívoli), Voz Audiovisual (El menor de los males), Milou Films (Atlas de geografía humana) and Continental (Concursante).

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Mestre Mateo Candidates

Nominations for the Mestre Mateo 06 Galician Audiovisual Academy Awards were announced yesterday February, 23rd at the International Press Club in Santiago de Compostela. Academy members announced the candidates of all 25 categories at a news conference. Nominations were distributed via the Internet on the official Academy site.

Academy members selected four nominees for each of the 25 cathegories: best feature film, best TV movie, best TV show, best TV series, best documentary, best interactive production, best commercial production, best live action short film, best animated short film, best production direction, best photography direction, best makeup, best costume design, best art direction, best editing, best sound, best script, best soundtrack, best direction, best TV direction, best TV show host, best peformance by an actor in a leading role, best performance by an actress in a leading role, best performance by an actor in a supporting role, and best performance by an actress in a supporting role.

Finalists in the best feature film category are:
Not bad :-)

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Curtas na Rede

The Curtas na Rede short film e-competition is here again.

Beginning February 14th through September 15, Curtas na Rede will accept short-film submissions for entry into the competition. Filmmakers can submit films that are up to five minutes in length, according to the rules and instructions found at Curtas na Rede will award around 20,000 € in prizes.

This year's edition is also opened to up to thirty seconds micromovies shot with mobile phones.

Curtas na Rede is organized by the Youth Council of Galicia and the Xunta de Galicia's Directorate General Audiovisual Communication. Other contributing institutions and companies are the Directorate General Sustainable Development, General Secretariat Emigration, Audiovisual Consortium of Galicia, CRTVG, R and Blu:Sens.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Play Doc International Documentary Film Festival

The 3rd edition of the Play Doc International Documentary Film Festival will take place at Tui's Teatro Municipal from March 21st to March 25th, 2007.

This Galician film festival is becoming an international reference in the documentary world. 27 films participate in this year's official section, selected among around 500 works received.

United Kingdom, Canada, Cameroon, France, Sweden, South Africa, Czeck Republic, Croatia, The Netherlands, Angola, Lithuania, Spain and Portugal, provide the documentary films participating in the official section's different cathegories: feature films, short films, and Athlantic. Prizes will be awarded by an international jury composed of renowned professionals.

As in later editions, this year's Play Doc is complemented with additional activities and sections: An informative section is devoted to Globalization and Environment, a new edition of the Play-Avid.doc workshop, live musical events, ...

Hotel Tívoli selected for the 10th Malaga Film Festival

Hotel Tívoli, Anton Reixa's second film, has been selected for the official section of the 10th Malaga Film Festival. This Galician film, starring Galician actors Nancho Novo, Mabel Rivera, and Ginés García Millán among others, will fight for the Golden Biznaga award.

This film was co-produced by Filmanova Invest (Galicia), Animatógrafo Dois (Portugal), Aquafilms, Province of San Luis Government, (Argentina) Zentropa (Denmark), and the Galician public television. 'Hotel Tívoli' follows the random journey of a lighter recurrently being lost by its owners in different parts of the world. Around it, several stories are woven that have as a common denominator the amour fou, peculiar characters, and funny situations.

Hotel Tívoli was shot in seven languages with locations in Ilulisaat (Greenland), Copenhague, Buenos Aires, San Luis, Madrid, Bilbao, A Coruña, Vigo and Lisbon. The original soundtrack includes songs from Mikel Erentxun and Jorge Drexler, this last theme being performed by Julieta Venegas.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

16 feature films to be released in 2007

According to the Consorcio Audiovisual de Galicia, 16 new feature films co-produced in Galicia will be released during 2007. Six of these films will be animation productions.

Mario Iglesias, a renowned short-film director, will complete his two first productions De Bares and Catalina. Antonio Hernández will release El Menor de los Males, starring Carmen Maura and Galician actors Xabier Deive and Antonio Durán “Morris”.

The Galician-Chilean co-production Santos and Juan Pinzás’ La Sombra de Nueva York are expected to be premiered by winter 2007. La Velocidad Funda el Olvido, Don Rodrigo and La Noche de la Puta y el Pan are also expected to be released this year.

Antón Reixa’s Hotel Tívoli, a comedy shot in Galicia, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and Argentina and starred by Galician Luis Tosar, Mabel Ribera and Nancho Novo will also be released this spring. Another films to reach the movie theatres during the first semester are Los Totenwackers, Una Mujer Invisible, Concursante, Jorge Algora’s El Niño de Barro and Ramón Costafreda’s Abrígate.

With respect to animation production, Galicia will try to keep its leading role with Filmax Animation’s Donkey Xote and Nocturna, whereas Dygra will release El Espíritu del Bosque. Other productions expected this year are Roque Cameselle’s El Mago Dudoso and Juan José Ramírez Mascaró's Gritos en el Pasillo. Miguelanxo Prado’s De Profundis was already released in January 2007.

Typical feature film

According to the data available at the Observatorio Audiovisual de Galicia, the typical Galician feature film (no animation) produced in 2000-2006 has a running time of 104 minutes, shoting and edition took 11 weeks, and its budget was around 2,1 Mio Euro. It sold around 223.000 tickets and made 1 Mio Euro in ticket sales. 74 copies were released, 3 of them in Galician. Public contribution in capital grants covered around 13,2% of its budget.

Typical animation feature film

According to the data available at the Observatorio Audiovisual de Galicia, the typical Galician animation film produced in 2000-2006 has a running time of 85 minutes, its development and production took 62 weeks, and its budget was over 4 Mio Euro. It sold over 275,000 tickets and made 1,1 Mio Euro in ticket sales. 187 copies were released, 3 of them in Galician. Public contribution in capital grants covered around 5% of its budget.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Galician Films 2006

A list of feature films (co-)produced by Galician producers released in 2006:

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Galician Short Films

This week the Consorcio Audiovisual de Galicia is presenting at the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Market the Curtas 06 catalog. This catalog includes a selection of short films recently produced in Galicia. The catalog includes:

  • As cores do frío (The colours of cold, Galician Film School)
  • Retrato dun home pensativo (Portrait of a Thinking Man, Galician Film School)
  • Botellón (Binge Drinking Party, 5 Manias)
  • El Castigo (The Punishment, Isabel Ayguavives)
  • Pechado (Closed, Máster en Creación Universidade da Coruña)
  • JEDN (JEDN, IB Cinema)

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Which are the eivas?

Once public support to film production in Galicia (namely, Xunta de Galicia's capital grants, CRTVG acting as a producer, and the 5% share of CRTVG’s income in broadcasting rights) is taken for granted by Galician film producers, should Xunta de Galicia provide further financial support?

Galician producers ask for financial support to the rest of the product value chain.

Although exceptions apply, there is a rather large knowledge base for small and medium sized producers to survive in the actual scenario:

1. Organize a co-production scheme to guarantee access to capital grants in as many public administrations as possible (European, Spanish, Galician, Catalonian, Andalusian ...). Tune up your project to maximize this (story, locations, and the creative and technical teams have to be sold as Galician, Catalonian, Andalusian... simultaneously).
2. Convince broadcasters to enter the project as co-producers, and/or sell broadcasting rights to state and regional TV stations calling on their 5% investment in independent production obligation).
3. Produce your film. Try to keep your budget below the amount of cash achieved so far.
4. Focus your efforts to sell at least the minimum number of tickets required to access post-production grants indexed to the number of tickets sold.
5. Produce the DVD.

Producers' benefit: industrial benefit included in original budget + tickets sold + post-production grants – distribution costs.

What should be next?

- Capital grants for laboratory copies and marketing costs?
- Capital grants to promote international sales (multiply the support to the presence of Galician products and producers in markets and festivals, specific promotion initiatives abroad, agency contracts …)?
- Support of R&D&i?

Should quality-indexed criteria be applied to distribute these grants?

- According to (normalized) ticket sales history (i.e. the opinion of the public)?
- According to the opinion of recognized film experts?
- According to strategic issues (international promotion of Galicia, cultural aspects, language promotion, improve international acceptance and recognition of Galicia,…)?
- According to the existence of a realistic production design from the very beginning, which considers both production aspects, and distribution and marketing costs and funding?

Any comment? Xunta de Galicia already supports premieres in Galicia for audiovisual products co-produced here, Galician film festivals, and the presence in international markets of Galician productions and producers.

Pattern Recognition

I have just read William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. You might remember him from Neuromancer, which somehow coined the concept of cyberspace. Tagline:

We have no future because our present is too volatile. We have only risk management. The spinning of the given moment's scenarios. Pattern recognition...

In the same way as Neuromancer predicted cyberspace. Pattern Recognition provides insight on how Web 2.0, audiovisual production and marketing, and electronic content distribution may converge in the (near) future. I definitely recommend it.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Another Spanish Academy Award

This year, Bren Entertainment's Pérez, o Ratiño dos teus Sonos (The Hairy Tooth Fairy) received the best animation film award of the Spanish Film Academy. This is the fourth year in a row Galician animation industry received this recognition.

The 2001 edition of the best animation film award was granted to Digra's El Bosque Animado (The Living Forest).

As last year, two Galician animation productions were nominated, the other 2007 candidate being Miguelanxo Prado's De Profundis.

Definitely, Galicia is the top reference insofar Spanish animation is concerned.

Films shot in Galicia

Many international films have been shot in Galicia. Indeed, Galicia is one of the best places in the world to shoot films, as you can assess if you have the chance of visiting this marvellous territory at the Finis Terrae, the end of the ancient world.

Among other film stars and directors, Cary grant, Beng Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver, Charlton Heston, Anthony Quinn, Robert Wagner, Alec Guiness, John Malkovich, Roman Polanski, Mónica Belucci, Stanley Kramer, Win Wenders, Michael Powell, Miguel Littin, or Adolfo Aristarain had a professional relationship with Galicia.

Besides, Galicia hosted in different events people like Bernardo Bertolucci, Arthur Penn, Stephen Frears or Joaquim de Almeida.

A (non-exhaustive) list of movies including Galician locations:

The Pride and the Passion (Stanley Kramer, 1957)
The Lovers of Teruel (Michael Powell, 1959)
The Milky Way (Luis Buñuel, 1969)
The Scarlet Letter (Wim Wenders, 1972)
Monsignor Quixote (Rodney Bennet, 1985)
Death and the Maiden (Roman Polanski, 1994)
Water Easy Reach (Bent Hamer, 1998)
A los que aman (Isabel Coixet, 1998)
The Road to Santiago (Robert Young, 1999)
The Living Forest (Ángel de la Cruz & Manolo Gómez, 2001)
Los Lunes al Sol (Fernando Leon de Aranoa, 2002)
The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenábar, 2004)

Sunday, 28 January 2007

There is a Galician cinema?

My first question upon arriving in Galicia was whether there is indeed a Galician cinema, in the sense of other named cinemas (Bollywood, Italian neorealism, French new wave, etc.).

I agree with that people saying that for a named cinema to exist it should reflect a particular way of understanding the world, and perfectly identifiable cultural specificities, all that in a way that is universally identifiable.

Well, apart from Chano Piñeiro's seminal film Sempre Xonxa (1989), and perhaps a couple of additional exceptions, films presently produced in Galicia do not fulfil the above definition. Therefore, in my opinion, we can talk about cinema produced in Galicia, films shot in Galician locations, films starred by Galician actors ... but it will be a bit pretentious to talk about an original Galician cinema.

Galician film industry is (strives to be) embedded into the European film industry, and shares most of the characteristics of it. In my opinion, at this time there are no conditions (no audience, no money to risk) for such a Galician cinema to be produced.

This is neither bad nor good news. This is just the case. Galicia shares the pros and cons of any other European cinema.

As a matter of introduction: Brief History of Galician cinema

In my opinion, and as stated above, we cannot talk about a Galician cinema. Therefore, what follows is a brief history of cinema made in Galicia or cinema about Galicia.

Cinema arrived to Galicia with the XX century. Nothing really remarkable was produced between that time and the Spanish civil war (1936). The most antique films conserved are Botadura del Alfonso XIII (1913), a documentary produced by Ibérico Films; O Ano Santo em Compostela (1915) a portuguese production from Invicta Films; and Miss Ledyia, a Galician movie produced by José Gil. During Franco's dictatorship (1936 - 1975), cinema made in Galicia reflected the social situation in Galicia, strongly influenced by emigration and exile. Most productions during that time were documentaries about emigration and exile, including audiovisual letters exchanged between emigrants and their families in Galicia. The most outstanding figure from that period is Carlos Velo (1909-1988). Before moving to Mexico after the Civil War, he produced several short documentaries in Galicia. Once in Mexico he become a recognized Mexican director.

During the late ’70 and early ’80 video creation flourished around the Arquivo da Imaxe (1984-1986). Some names to remember are Guillermo Represa (Betanzos, 1958), Ignacio Pardo (Lugo,1947), Xabier Villaverde (A Coruña, 1958), Manolo Abad (A Coruña, 1953) or Antón Reixa (Vigo, 1957).

In 1985 opens the Galician public broadcaster Televisión de Galicia (TVG), which will become the major promoter of Galician cinema. The financial contribution of TVG (as a producer and as a purchaser of emission rights) made it possible the configuration of a Galician audiovisual industrial sector.

In 1989 were premiered the three seminal movies of modern Galician cinema:
Chano Piñeiro’s Sempre Xonxa, Carlos A. López Piñeiro and Alfredo García Pinal’s ’s Urxa, and Xavier Villaverde’s Continental.

Since then, Galicia has (co-)produced many films, documentaries and TV programmes. In you can find comprehensive data about Galician film prodution.