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L’Alternativa independent festival to show films from 45 countries in Barcelona in its 21st edition

21st edition of the independent film festival l’Alternativa will run from 17 to 23 November in Barcelona. It will show 159 independent films from 45 countries, covering topics such as immigration, identity and collective memory. The festival will be divided into the Official section and the Parallel one. The Official section will feature titles from Romania, Chile, Brazil, Germany, France and Spain, with shorts and feature length films of fiction, non-fiction, animation and experimental styles. While l’Alternativa Parallel this year will be subdivided into five sub-sections: Partly Fiction,Panorama, Small Experiments, and those according to directors Djibril Diop Mambéty/Mati Diop and Anne-Marie Miéville. Within the l’Alternativa Hall, viewers will be able to see screenings, of a range of experimental styles, free of charge. There will also be training and debate in filmmaking. The festival will take place in the CCCB, the Filmoteca de Catalunya, and the French Institute in Barcelona.


12 November 2014 11:14 PM



Barcelona (ACN).- The Independent Film Festival of Barcelona: l’Alternativa will run from the 17th to the 23rd of November. Now in its 21st edition, the festival will show a total of 159 independent films from 45 countries around the world, exploring a variety of themes including immigration, identity, and collective memory. The event will be divided into the l’Alternativa Official Section, featuring titles fromRomania, Chile, Brazil, Germany, France and Spain, with shorts and feature length films of fiction, non-fiction, animation and experimental styles. Also the l’Alternativa Parallel, which is divided into 3 sub-sections of style: Partly Fiction, Panorama and Small Experiments, and into 2 ones by director: Djibril Diop Mambéty/Mati Diop from Senegal and Anne-Marie Miéville from Switzerland. There will also be a section called the l’Alternativa Hall, which will offer packed screenings of a range of shorts and films, free of charge. For budding filmmakers and more active cinephiles, there will be training and debate on offer through the l’Alternativa Activities. This year, venues for the festival will be the CCCB (Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture), the Filmoteca de Catalunya, and the French Institute in Barcelona.

"A wide range of parallel activities aimed at all types of people"

According to the Directors of the 2014 l’Alternativa, Cristina Riera and Tess Renaudo, this year will cover a wide range of issues. Co-director Riera stressed that there is a "A wide range of parallel activities aimed at all types of people". This thanks to the organisers having "carried out a major research project to discover those hidden gems that exist worldwide", he said.

L’Alternativa Official: "a discovery platform"

The films selected for the l’Alternativa Official will be presented in two sections: feature films and short films. Co-director Tess Renaudo explained that there will be 28 films in the Official selection, split into the two categories, many of which will be by emerging filmmakers: "I do not want people to panic when they look at the list of films and don’t recognize the directors, it is a platform for discovery".

The feature film section, Renaudo pointed out, is to "bring to Barcelona the new works of authors such as Corneliru Porumboiu", as it is a "stage for the debut features of emerging filmmakers". This section will include titles from Romania, China, Brazil, Germany, France and a Spanish submission 'Slimane': a portrait of a group of teenagers struggling to survive in a foreign country, the debut feature by Tenerife director José A. Alayón. The section also includes the German submission 'Sauerbruch Hutton Architects' the last film by director Harun Farocki before his untimely death earlier this year. His final feature is a part-serious, part-comic view of architects and designers at work, struggling to express themselves.

The short film section will feature 20 works including films of fiction, non-fiction, animation and experimental works, from 15 countries around the world. This includes three shorts from Spain: 'Los Guardianes' (The Guardians) by Miguel Aparicio; 'Ser e voltar' (To be and to surround) by Xacio Baño and 'The Kiss' by Luis Macías. The latter uses footage of a kiss, as grounds to explore the way formats have evolved, to analyse a total of 28 different audio-visual formats and media. Darker themes are explored in 'The Claustraum', by American director Jay Rosenblatt, which uses archive footage for a psychoanalytical study of three women in institutions, and 'Escort', the Dutch title by Guido Hendrikx, which looks at the relationship between asylum seekers and the Dutch Border Control.

L’Alternativa Parallel: retrospective and local tributes

This section includes a range of titles from both established directors and up-and-coming filmmakers. Within the first section, there are titles from the great Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambéty and his niece Mati Diop, including the former’s famed 'Touki Bouki', the surreal and radical depiction of Senegalese society. Also there will be films by French-speaking Swiss actress, director and screenwriter Anne-Marie Miéville, including some of her many collaborations with cine legend Jean Luc Godard, such as 'Prénom Carmen' (First name Carmen) a strange coupling of a rehearsing string quartet group, with a terrorist cell attempting a bank robbery, loosely based on Bizet’s opera Carmen.

For a more local selection, l’Alternativa Parallel offers audiences a range of Catalan and Spanish independent films available in the Panorama section. This includes 'Cuitat Morta' (Dead City) by Catalan filmmakers Xavier Artigas and Xapo Ortega, a film about 800 people breaking into an abandoned cinema in Barcelona to watch a documentary, symbolic defiance that shows the city’s other side. Also 'ReMine: el ultimo movimiento obrero' (ReMine: The Last Working Class Movement) by Spanish director Marcos M Merino, which documents the struggle of over 4,000 miners in Asturias in Spain, who protest government cuts through strikes, sit-ins and a 500 km walk to Madrid.

L’Alternativa Activities: Masterclass and seminars for amateurs and professionals

At the press conference held a few days before the festival's opening, the directors of l’Alternativa highlighted the film activities that will run parallel to the screenings. These include a Masterclass by the renowned Spanish filmmaker María Cañas, on 'trash filmmaking, video frays, militant film devouring and laughter protest'. There will also be a range of seminars and debates to open exchanges between filmmakers and filmgoers alike, such as the roundtable discussion on the role of the actor in independent film with director Neus Ballús, and actors Àlex Brendemühl, Marc Recha and Montse Triola. There will also be practical seminars such as that with Judith Collel which will bring together students and professional actors to work together, and a seminar on film editing, taught by expert Caroll Novell.

Also included in the festival, will be tribute screenings from Swiss filmmakers, one the recently deceased Peter Liechti and Sophie Huber, on their works exploring the boundaries between documentary and fiction.

Other activities will be the free screenings available through l’Alternativa Hall, with a variety of films being shown at the CCCB venue, open to all the public, and a range of family-friendly activities and workshops for children.

"It is too needed a festival to cancel"

Regarding the economic constraints faced by the independent film festival in recent years, Riera has admitted that similar to last year, they are in "poor economic health". He stressed however, that its success is thanks to the "committed team behind it is keen that this has not made it fall". He acknowledged that like their 2013 edition, they have been restrained by a tight budget: €152 000. Nevertheless, according to Riera "It is too needed a festival to cancel , since [keeping it] is a matter of will and commitment from people backing it, although though it is still posting a budget deficit".


  • Presentation of 2014 L'Alternativa independent film festival in Barcelona (by P. Francesch)

  • Presentation of 2014 L'Alternativa independent film festival in Barcelona (by P. Francesch)