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.