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Catalan cinema ‘reappearing’ on the international scene

The Spanish Cinema Now Film Festival began last Tuesday in New York’s Lincoln Center. The festival is honouring Mallorcan film director Agustí Villaronga this year, who mainly shoots his films in Catalan language.

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10 December 2010 10:06 PM

by

ACN / Ariadna Matamoros

New York (ACN).- New York\u2019s Spanish Cinema Now Film Festival began this Tuesday at the Cervantes Institute of New York. The festival is co-organised by the Institute and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This year\u2019s festival is featuring films from the Spanish Civil War to commemorate its 70th anniversary. The festival is also honouring Mallorcan film director Agustí Villaronga and will show two of his films, 'Pa Negre' (Black Bread) and 'El Mar' (The Sea). Villaronga stated that Catalan cinema \u201Cis reappearing\u201D on the international scene. He added that Catalonia is supporting more \u201Clow budget\u201D films, with the resurgence of the documentary genre as well as new directors coming out of ESCAC such as Bayona and Guillem Morales.


The Spanish Cinema Now Film Festival is taking place at the Walter Read Theater in New York\u2019s Lincoln Center from the 10th to the 23rd of December. 13 Spanish films will be shown, all chosen by the festival\u2019s director, Richard Peña.

During a press conference, Agustí Villaronga spoke of Catalan cinema, bringing up the recent San Sebastian Film Festival, in which \u201Cthere were 16 Catalan productions\u201D. According to Villaronga, this indicates that Catalan cinema is in good health. Despite this, Villaronga spoke about some of the difficulties that Catalan cinema faces, such as the language barrier that exists for Catalan cinema in the rest of Spain.

Also present at the festival\u2019s inauguration were Icíar Bollaín, director of \u2018Even the Rain\u2019, Emilio Aragon, director of \u2018Paper Birds\u2019, actor Lluis Homar, screenwriter Paul Laverty, the festival\u2019s programmer Rafael Cabrera and Fernando Trueba, director of  \u2018Chico & Rita\u2019, who attended with actors Javier Mariscal and Tono Herraldo.

The Oscar effect

Fernando Trueba gave his opinion on the Spanish film industry during the inauguration. He assured that his films \u201Cdo not have cultural identity\u201D, something he learned from films from countries like the United States and France. \u201CTo me, cinema is a country\u201D, said the director. Regarding his Oscar, the Madrid-based director declared that they gave it to him \u201Cby error\u201D. He said that he did not expect to win the award and joked that each time he sees the predicted winner, filmmaker Kraige Chen, he \u201Cstill feels guilty\u201D. \u201CThe Oscars are an imbecility, like all awards\u2026but they are great because of the happiness they bring to family members\u201D, he said.

Icíar Bollaín, whose film is nominated for the best foreign language film at the Academy Awards, said that although the award does not always recognise the best productions, it serves later in creating more personal projects and \u201Cpromoting the film in the United States\u201D.

Attracting the Hispanic public

Director of the festival Richard Peña said that one of the festival\u2019s goals is to attract the Hispanic public. \u201C31% of people in New York are Hispanic\u201D, something that, according to him, must be taken advantage of. \u201CHas the idea of opening a Spanish language cinema not occurred to anyone?\u201D he asked.

This year\u2019s festival is featuring films from the Spanish Civil War on its 70th anniversary. There will be a special projection of the film \u2018'En el Balcón Vacío', a feature film made by Spaniards that exiled in Mexico during the war. The festival is also supported by the Spanish Ministry of Culture\u2019s Cinematographic and Audiovisual Institute (ICAA).

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  • Some of the representatives of the Spanish cinema industry attending New York's inauguration (by A. Matamoros)

  • Some of the representatives of the Spanish cinema industry attending New York's inauguration (by A. Matamoros)