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: www.curtocircuito.org

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).