Embracing multiculturalism among main topics at Catalan Film Festival in Scotland

The seventh edition of the festival will welcome acclaimed filmmakers Clara Roquet and Meritxell Colell

Poster for the 2021 Catalan Film Festival in Scotland
Poster for the 2021 Catalan Film Festival in Scotland / Gerard Escaich i Folch

Gerard Escaich i Folch | Barcelona

November 21, 2021 09:17 AM

The seventh Catalan Film Festival in Scotland will soon screen some of the most highly-anticipated films of the year from Catalonia and Spain as well as some classics. 

Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee will host the seventh edition of the event between November 25, and December 12, which will also be accessible online.

The festival will bring Catalan films, features and shorts, focused on themes such as embracing multiculturalism among different communities and the resistance of local groups towards tourism bubbles. 

Catalan Film Festival will also talk about female friendship, communication, and the need for humans to be connected. These topics will be visible in several of the feature films and shorts that viewers will watch during the festival

This year, award-winning director Clara Roquet and acclaimed filmmaker Meritxell Colell will present their latest works at the festival organized by Cinema Attic and will lead workshops for the attendees. 

Alberto Valverde, programme coordinator at Catalan Film Festival, explained in an interview with Catalan News that they are thrilled to have the filmmakers at the festival. 

"[Clara and Meritxell] are two directors that we've been following right from the start, from their short films, they are two directors that make cinema that matters to us,” Valverde said. 

The two directors are part of a generation of “great Catalan women” that are “changing how we tell stories, what points of view, what we represent on the screen.” 

He added that the festival organizers have been “very big fans of their work for a while” and are “thrilled” to welcome them to Scotland. “I think it's one of the highlights of this year's festival."   

Clara Roquet won the Gaudí Award (the so-called ‘Catalan Oscars’) for best script for 10,000 km, back in 2015. She presented her first feature, Libertad in Cannes, which will now be screened in the UK. Valverde praised her as one of the best filmmakers of the last decade. 

"Clara Roquet, for me, works on some of the best films in contemporary Spanish and Catalan cinema. Obviously, working with other directors as a scriptwriter, we fell in love with her first shoot back in 2017, 'El Adiós' and we tried a couple of times to bring Clara to Scotland and it is a dream come true," the programme coordinator told Catalan News.

Meritxell Colell is the other major talent visiting the festival that the organizers have been following for years. 

"Her work in cinema and short films connect directly with the community work and the way we show films, especially with communities that are less represented or less privileged,” Cueto Rafael Cueto, director of Catalan Film Festival, explained.  

He added that during the film festival, they will be "showing absolutely everything she has done," including her two films, Transoceánicas and Con el Viento. "She fits into [our work] with her amazing films," added the director of the festival.   

Films can be watched on-site and online, as Cinema Attic plans to reintroduce in-person screenings after last year’s change of plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As in the last edition, global viewers will be welcomed but they will be limited by movie rights restrictions. For example, Clara Roquet’s feature Libertad will not be accessible unless users connect from the United Kingdom. 

Despite the name of the festival, screenings will be in the original version, meaning some features will be in English or Spanish. Organizers confirm that sometimes they had movies in Chinese and Russian. 

In this year's edition, 15 out of the 37 features planned at the festival will be in Catalan. 

Catalan losing power at movies

Catalan use at schools has been decreasing in recent years. A report released in November revealed that 47% of teachers speak in Catalan to their students, significantly fewer than 15 years ago, when 63% did. 

Catalan cinema industry follows a similar pattern. In this year's Gaudí Awards, there are only six fictional movies shot in the Catalan language out of the 59 competing titles. Catalan Film Academy President, Judith Colell, argued that low budgets are the main problem. 

Films in Catalan, as the original version, tend to have an average budget of €720,000, whereas movies shot in other languages average a €2,000,000 budget.

This year’s Gaudí Awards Gala will be held at the Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC) on March 6, 2022.