'Creatura', exploring children's sexual awakening, shines at Catalan Oscars with six prizes

'Saben Aquell' and '20,000 Species of Bees' also clinch big wins in edition which also recognizes Academy Awards nominees

Equip de la pel·lícula 'Creatura' als Premis Gaudí
Equip de la pel·lícula 'Creatura' als Premis Gaudí / Jordi Borràs
Guifré Jordan

Guifré Jordan | @enGuifre | Barcelona

February 5, 2024 01:37 AM

February 5, 2024 12:29 PM

'Creatura' was the biggest winner at the 16th Gaudí awards on Sunday evening, amassing six prizes, including the Best Film, Best Direction, Best Film Editing, and three acting awards to Clara Segura, Àlex Brendemühl and Clàudia Malagelada.

The film explores children's sexual awakening, through Mila, a Catalan young woman who realizes a lack of sexual desire and tries to get over the trauma by going back to her childhood and teen years.

Director Elena Martín, who is also the main character, welcomed the recognitions as she picked the directing award.

Also, she said that kids have traditionally been taught that "their desire is dangerous, and that it is better to scrap it."

Yet, for her "protecting children is not denying their desire, and facing sexual violence, castrating is not the way, but educating and accompanying."

'Creatura' had been nominated in 15 categories, two more than 'Saben aquel', which ended up getting seven awards – two for Carolina Yuste and David Verdaguer as Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor, respectively, and five more in technical categories.

'Saben aquell' tells the story of the famous Catalan late humorist Eugenio.

Also clinching a big success, '20,000 Species of Bees' picked three recognitions: Best Film in non-Catalan language, Best Novel Director and Best Cinematography – the production tells the story of a girl called Coco who does not understand why she does not fit with the rest of people and why everyone calls her Aitor (a name for boys).

This edition of the Gaudís took place amid a remarkable recent international success of local talent in the film industry, with JA Bayona's 'Society of the Snow' and Pablo Berger's 'Robot dreams' being nominated for the Oscars.

Oscar nominees also successful in the Gaudí prizes

At the Gaudís, 'Society of the Snow' could only compete in the Best European Film category – not in the rest because it has not been participated by Catalan firms in at least 20% of its total budget. And, as expected, it won the award.

The film tells the story of the survival of 16 passengers who were on board Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 after crashing in the Andes mountains.

During his acceptance speech, Bayona welcomed the fact that his film "is in the center of so many chats among the public" and thanked Netflix, the platform that produced it.

The other contender for the Oscars, Pablo Berger's 'Robot dreams,' also had its success on Sunday night, winning the Best Music and Best Animation Film awards.

Set in New York in the 1980s, the filmmaker transports viewers to a story that talks about loneliness, the fragility of relationships and the process of loss.

Internationally praised filmmaker Isabel Coixet had also expectations of success because her movie 'Un amor' had been nominated in eight categories, and in the end it achieved the Best Adapted Screenplay one.

As for the Best Screenplay, it was for 'Upon Entry (The arrival)', written by Juan Sebastián Vásquez and Alejandro Rojas.

The two-and-a-half-hour gala included some feminist humor by presenters Maria Rovira and Ana Polo, and several musical shows by trendy local artists including Manel's Guillem Gisbert and Julieta.

77% of actors earn less than €12,000 per year

During the event, Judith Colell, the host organization Catalan Film Academy president, welcomed the amount of films that have reached international recognition at the Oscars, Cannes, San Sebastian, Sundance or at the Spirit Awards.

She also thanked the "good policies" led by the Catalan government supporting the industry – indeed, in 2023, the Catalan government spent €20.7 million in funding local productions, four times more than in 2019. Colell also called for continuing these policies in the coming years.

Yet, she also regretted the "precariousness" suffered by actors, as "77% of actors earn less than €12,000 a year," and also denounced the latest news of sexual harassment in the sector in Spain.

Catalan cinema in 'very good health' according to actors

The Gaudís is always an appropriate moment to discuss the current state of Catalan cinema, and, talking to Catalan News, actors and filmmakers were very optimistic before the gala began.

"The Catalan cinema is in a very good moment. We are doing very cool, beautiful things," said Saben Aquell's main character David Verdaguer.


"I think it's a very interesting moment, where Catalan movies are being spotted in important festivals around the world," said also actor Alex Brendemühl. "There are prizes, there are audiences, there is big talent and interesting stories to tell and I'd rather say it's a good moment."

"I think the 'harvest' [of Catalan films] is very good. I already told Elena Martín [director of 'Creatura'] that if she gets all the prizes, I will be very happy," added filmmaker Isabel Coixet.

"We are in a spectacular state! There is a talent that has always existed but now with some more funding, there are big, brave both women and men in cinema," emphasized actor Aina Clotet "Films are achieving more and more audience and it's important we're proud of our productions in order to create a more lively sector."

Only 2.8% film sessions in Catalan, sector calls for action

The Gaudí prizes will take place just shortly after the Catalan News Agency (ACN) published some data revealing that only 2.8% of the sessions that took place during that period were either original or dubbed versions in Catalan, and these sessions accounted for only 2.1% of the total spectators that attended the cinemas between 2017 and 2021.

Also, those Catalan dubbed versions are mainly programmed in non-prime time: two out of three screenings (66.9%) were scheduled between 3pm and 7pm, while between 7pm and 1am the percentage drops to 22.7%.