Back for its 20th year, the Spanish Film Festival will showcase over thirty films between the 19th of April and the 7th of May at Palace Electric Cinemas in Canberra. Concentrating purely on Spanish fare, the line-up looks outstanding. The Cine Latino Film Festival which debuted last year is slated for its second instalment this November to take care of all things Latin America. Therefore, the Spanish Film Festival’s usually cross-continental bill is Iberia-focused, creating a more culturally coherent and less cluttered festival.
So, what’s on?
The 20th Spanish Film Festival is divided into several strands: Reel Español, Reel Flamenco and Reel Infantil, along with Opening Night, Closing Night, Centrepiece and a couple of additional special screenings. At a minimum three screenings per day and with a real roll-call who’s who of Spanish talent both behind and in front of the camera, this year’s festival is shaping up to be a hot one.
Opening night on Wednesday 19 April sees an Australian connection in Kiki, Love to Love – a provocative and playful Madrilenian romp through the deviant desires of 21st century sexuality, freely adapted from Josh Lawson’s The Little Death (2014) – a real homegrown gem from the last few years which has evidently made its mark on the other side of the world. Event catering by Monster Kitchen & Bar and entertainment by Mr. Michael.
Special Event on Tuesday 2 May presented by the Embassy of Spain in Canberra brings us unconventional documentary experience From Rosendo to Rosendo tracking the history of a Spanish Benedictine Monk’s fascinating 19th century religious experiment in Australia through the eyes of a real-life modern-day Spanish rock-star who shares his name.
Another Special event follows on Wednesday 3 May as the one and only Penelope Cruz graces our screen in Fernando Trueba’s Queen of Spain in homage to the big screen productions of the 1950s. Event presented by Lolea Sangria.
Closing night on the Sunday 7 May promises to be a treat with The Trip to Spain starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. We join the ever-rambling – both linguistically and geographically – duo as they take in stunning Spanish scenery on their third outing in the Michael Winterbottom series. Celebrate the evening with Torres Wines and Stella Artois.
Other highlights include the Centerpiece feature Summer 1993 which was awarded Best First Feature at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. By all accounts a beautifully rendered depiction of childhood. Also, don’t miss The Fury Of A Patient Man which recently won the Goyas (Spanish Oscars) for Best Picture, Best New Director and Best Original Screenplay. Offbeat thriller from Alex de la Igelsia The Bar promises to excite while director and producers respectively involved in past festival standout Marshland bring us Smoke & Mirrors – a Wolf of Wall Street/Catch Me If You Can historical thriller – and Escape Plan – a dark detective thriller starring one of Spain’s most recognisable faces, Luis Tosar (also appearing in To Steal From A Thief).
With a diverse range of documentaries and feature films covering the dark, mysterious, historical, serious, funny, musical and artistic; there are options aplenty to satisfy all tastes. Perhaps you have some kids learning Spanish? Why not take them along to the Saturday screenings of either the animated Ozzy or Zip and Zap and the Captain’s Island.
If documentaries are what you’re after, don’t go past Bosch, The Garden of Dreams; Out of Darkness; Sasha and Spain In A Day. And if it’s traditional music and dance you’re keen to soak up, the festival has got that covered too.
Look out for “Best of the Fest” encore screenings at the end of the festival. All films have English subtitles.
Sip some sangría, speak some Spanish, taste some tapas and feast on the films.
¡Disfruta el festival!