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:: Spotlight :: 2010 Spanish Film Festival

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Honoured by the Spanish Government in 2009 as the most important Spanish cultural event in Australia, The Spanish Film Festival is back for its 13th edition this May with a programme that will show you why! Over 40 of the best in contemporary Spanish language films from Spain and Latin America will weave their Spanish storytelling magic for audiences in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Two English Language features from two of Spain’s biggest directors will have their Australian Premieres in the festival, Julio Medem’s seductive Room in Rome, screening only days after its World Premiere at Malaga Film Festival and Oscar winner Alejandro Amenábar’s box office smash hit, Agora starring Oscar winner Rachel Weisz. Geographically the festival covers more ground than ever, encompassing films from Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and films set in Morocco, Namibia and Egypt. Oscar winning directors (Alejandro Amenábar, Fernando Trueba), actors (Penelope Cruz, Rachel Weisz) and films (The Lady and The Reaper, Belle Epoque) are all in the line up as well as the first Peruvian film to be nominated for an Academy Award (The Milk of Sorrow). Coincidentally in this memorable year where a female director won the Best Film Oscar for the first time, the festival screens a timely and extensive array of films from women directors from a variety of Spanish speaking countries.

Following the 2009 event, festival director Natalia Ortiz was awarded one of Spain’s most prestigious civil orders, The Order of Isabella The Catholic (Orden de Isabel La Católica), in recognition of her dedication in the promotion of Spanish culture abroad. The Order of Isabella The Catholic was founded on March 14, 1815, by King Ferdinand VII of Spain, to reward the exceptional services done to Spain in the field of international relationships and culture. Natalia was presented with the order by the Consul-General of Spain in Sydney, Mr Enrique Sardá-Valls, in the name of HM King Juan Carlos. Natalia said of the accolade, ‘This overwhelming recognition is certainly a confirmation of what we strongly believe in, which is the power of film to share culture through its unique mode of storytelling. Together with audience support it has further motivated our festival team to bring you undoubtedly our strongest line up to date. We are passionate about showcasing, for the 13th year, the best of Spanish and Latin American cinema to audiences across the country. This year sees an increase in films from Latin American countries, where both an older and younger generation of talented filmmakers are bringing new voices and unique stories to the big screen, and collecting major awards for their astounding work.’

In its signature programming style, the festival is themed in sections to explore different aspects of cinema in Spanish, from Spain, and by Spaniards! In 2010 there is a truly exciting section of films directed by women, All By Women; a cinematic Tribute to Colombia; a Festival Focus on Academy Award winner Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque). Viva La Musica presents films with a musical heart, this year with the added passion of festival patron and Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela; Cine Contemporaneo will screen the best in contemporary Spanish cinema from the last year and Cine En Español showcases films from Latin America which show the strength of the stories from the rest of the Spanish speaking world.

OPENING NIGHT FILM AND FIESTA – The 2010 festival springs to life with the vibrant Opening Night romantic comedy Pagafantas (Friend Zone), directed by Borja Cobeaga and set around the bars and streets of Bilbao. Before the main feature will be a screening of Spain’s 2010 Oscar nominated short film, the very endearing animation The Lady and the Reaper (La dama y la muerte). In grand tradition, the films will be followed by Opening Night fiesta with drinks, entertainment and tapas.

Full festival programme and ticketing information can be obtained here

Sydney - May 5-16 - Palace, Norton Street and Academy Twin Cinemas
Melbourne - May 12-23 - Palace Cinema Como & Kino Cinemas
Brisbane - May 20-30 - Palace Centro Cinemas
Adelaide - May 13-16 - Palace Nova Eastend
Canberra - May 6-16 - GU Manuka


CINE CONTEMPORANEO – Contemporary Spanish Cinema
AGORA (Spain 2009)
ROOM IN ROME (Spain 2010)
PAGAFANTAS (Friend Zone) (Spain 2009)
FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS (El Mal Ajeno) (Spain 2010)
AFTER (Spain 2009)
BORN TO SUFFER (Nacidas para sufrir) (Spain 2010)
SPANISH MOVIE (Spain 2010)
ROAD TO SANTIAGO (Al final del Camino) (Spain 2009)
V.O.S. (Spain 2009)
MAD LOVE (Amores Locos) (Spain 2009)
THROUGH THE EYES OF OUKA LEELE (La mirada de ouka leele) (Spain 2009)

ALL BY WOMEN – Directed by Women
THE MILK OF SORROW (La teta asustada) (Peru/Spain 2009)
THREE DAYS WITH THE FAMILY (Tres dies amb la Familia) (Spain 2009)
NORA’S WILL (Cinco días sin Nora) (Mexico 2009)
TOURISTS (Turistas) (Chile 2009)
THE DRESS (El Vestido) (Argentina/Spain 2008)
THE GOOD NEWS (La Buena Nueva) (Spain 2008)
THE PATH (El Camino) (Costa Rica/France/Nicaragua 2008)
RETURN TO HANSALA (Retorno a Hansalá) (Spain 2009)
ONE WORD FROM YOU (Una Palabra Tuya) (Spain 2008)
MATAHARIS (Spain 2007)
OF HEART AND COURAGE (El esfuerzo y el ánimo) (Spain 2009)

CINE EN ESPAÑOL – Cinema in Spanish
LEO’S ROOM (El cuarto de Leo) (Uruguay/Argentina 2009)
GIGANTE (Uruguay/Argentina/Germany/Spain 2009)
BAD DAY TO GO FISHING (Mal día para pescar) (Uruguay/Spain 2009)
THE ARTIST (El Artista) (Argentina/Italy 2009)
ANDRES DOESN’T WANT TO TAKE A NAP (Andrés no quiere dormir la siesta) (Argentina 2009)
FRANCE (Francia) (Argentina 2009)
HUACHO (Chile/France/Germany 2009)
PACO (Argentina 2009)

THE GIRL OF YOUR DREAMS (La niña de tus ojos) (Spain 1998)
BELLE EPOQUE (Spain/Portugal/France 1992)
THE DANCER AND THE THIEF (El baile de la Victoria) (Spain 2009)
54TH STREET (Calle 54) (Spain/France/Italy/Mexico/Belgium 2000)

CRAB TRAP (El vuelco de cangrejo) (Colombia/France 2009)
THE PASSION OF GABRIEL (La pasión de Gabriel) (Colombia 2008)
CASE 11.227 COLOMBIA (Colombia 2009)
PARAISO TRAVEL (Colombia/USA 2008)

BLANK CANVAS (Australia 2009)
CELIA THE QUEEN (Celia la Reina) (USA 2008)

THE MISSING LYNX (El lince perdido) (Spain 2008)


**Update as at April 19, 2010**

Winner of the 1993 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award for Belle Epoque, starring a young Penelope Cruz, Spanish Film Director Fernando Trueba is confirmed to tour to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra between May 4-9, 2010 to present screenings of his films at the 13th Spanish Film Festival. The festival in 2010 celebrates the masterful work of this internationally acclaimed director with a SPOTLIGHT ON FERNANDO TRUEBA, a special programme of his diverse and celebrated films from Spain and Latin America.

Headlining the SPOTLIGHT ON FERNANDO TRUEBA programme is his most recently released film, The Dancer and the Thief (El Baile de la Victoria). Spain’s entry to the 2010 Academy Awards, nominated for 10 Goya (Spanish Academy) Awards and based on the celebrated novel by Antonio Skármeta (‘Il Postino’), The Dancer and the Thief is gripping heist film involving an ex-safe cracker (Ricardo Darin, Nine Queens) and an enthusiastic young thief. Together they plot to recover the millions taken by Pinochet under the regime in Chile, while the thief falls in love with a mesmerising, mysterious dancer who has her own terrible memories of the dictatorship.

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