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The ABC of Spanish cinema will be showcased in the 10th Spanish Film Festival throughout May: Award winning films, the first feature from Basque in 18 years, and a short from the Canary islands.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Spanish Film Festival in Australia, Director Natalia Ortiz has assembled the biggest festival of Spanish cinema in Australia with over 30 features, documentaries and short films from current Spanish cinema. The Festival opens on May 9 in Sydney, with the multi-award winning comedy Un franco, 14 pesetas (Crossing borders) written, directed by and starring Carlos Iglesias, then travels to Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth throughout the month.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to share the cinema of my country with Australian audiences for the last ten years,” said Ortiz. “Filmmaking in Spain has been through an enormous period of change in this time and the industry is incredibly strong with 150 films made in the last year, including about 40 documentaries. We are now looking outwards and working with other countries more and more through co-productions, while at the same time, turning our gaze inwards and encouraging our filmmakers to tell their stories.”

“There are film industries within the film industry in Spain, with Spanish, Catalan and Basque filmmaking centres all contributing to our film identity. This year it is an absolute thrill to present the first feature film made in Basque in 18 years, and short films from the Canary Islands.”

The 2007 Festival will open with the multi-award winning comedy Un franco, 14 pesetas (Crossing borders) written, directed by and starring Carlos Iglesias. Set in 1960 the film is the story of two friends who look for work in Switzerland leaving behind their roots in Spain. In this semi autobiographical story, Iglesias tells how it is almost harder to come back than it was to leave. It is screening with a short film from the Canary Islands, Said´s Journey, winner of the 2007 Goya Award for Best Animation Short Film.

A highlight of the 2007 Festival is a Retrospective of the best work of acclaimed producer, writer and director Elias Querejeta, who made over 50 films in the last 40 years, and is the producer of the first works by directors such as Carlos Saura, Ricardo Franco and Fernando León de Aranoa. The Querejeta factory is responsible for such essential titles in Spanish cinema as La caza (The Hunt), La Familia (Family), Historias del Kronen (Stories from the Kronen), La espalda del mundo (The Back of the World), Pascual Duarte, which are all included in this Retrospective.

Thye sidebar will also screen the Australian premiere of a documentary on Querejeta called El Productor (The Producer).

SPANISH CINEMA TODAY is a program of feature films and documentaries produced in 2006 and early 2007 which reflect the most current Spanish filmmaking and includes the comedy Vete De Mi (Go Away From Me) for which Juan Diego won the 2007 Goya Best Actor Award for his performance and Silver Shell at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, and the Goya-nominated documentary Hécuba, A Dream of Passion, which interviews Javier Bardem, Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril, Carmen Maura and other actors about their craft.

The Invisibles, produced by veteran actor Javier Bardem, is a collection of 5 stories by 5 prominent and acclaimed filmmakers who make these unique, real-life protagonists visible. The Invisibles had its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, and will screen in the Spanish Film Festival in Australia before it even opens in cinemas in Spain.

FROM SPAIN YET NOT IN SPANISH highlights the diversity of film industries within Spain with the comedy Aupa Etxebeste (Go Etxebeste), the first feature film made in Basque in 18 years, Ficció (Fiction) starring Javier Cámara and from the director of In The City (En La Ciudad) and in Catalan & Spanish, El Taxista Full (The Taxi Thief) a fictional documentary which won Best New Director at 53rd San Sebastián International Film Festival, nominated for Best Catalan Film 2006 and had a Special Mention at Nantes International Film festival.

Spanish filmmakers are increasingly working with Latin American filmmakers. This year’s program of WORKING WITH LATIN AMERICA features co-productions with Brasil, Argentina and Perú. The documentary Vinicius De Moraes is a Spanish/Brisilian co-production about the life, works, family, friends and lovers of the composer of the world famous Girl From Ipanema.

CLOSING NIGHT is an Argentinean celebration, featuring Derecho De Familia (Family Law), a co-production of Spain/Argentina/Italy/France about a young lawyer who still doesn’t know who he wants to be when he grows up.

A festival favourite, the LIFE IS TOO SHORT program is bigger than ever for the 10th anniversary. Last year a record 209 short films were produced in Spain – the highest number in 20 years. Spanish shorts (which played in this festival) have been nominated for the Oscars in the last couple of years, and many of the short filmmakers showcased in the Spanish Film Festival in Australia are now acclaimed feature directors.

CHILDREN’S PARTY features a screening of El Ratoncito Perez (The Hairy Tooth Fairy), a co-production from Argentina which won the Goya 2007 Award for Best Animation.

Festival dates:
Sydney: 9-20 May Palace Academy Twin & Palace Norton Street Cinemas
Melbourne: 16 -27 May Cinema Como & Westgarth
Brisbane: 23-27 May Palace Centro
Perth: 24 to 31 May Luna Palace Cinemas

Published March 29, 2007

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Un franco, 14 pesetas (Crossing Borders)

Derecho De Familia (Family Law)
Ficció (Fiction)

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