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FESTIVALS France

Cinespaña: upturn clouded by concerns for Spanish cinema

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Cinespaña: upturn clouded by concerns for Spanish cinema

Head of programming at the Cinespaña Festival , whose 16th edition opens today, Patrick Bernabé talks to Cineuropa about the trends in Spanish film production and its distribution in France.

What is the current situation for Spanish film exhibition in France (1.3% market share and 18 features distributed in 2010)?
This year, an enormous number of Spanish films have been distributed and for the first time, we almost had difficulty putting films in competition because we only select titles unreleased in France. So we made an agreement with the Utopia and Le Cratère cinemas to still present films like Black Bread [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Blackthorn [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and The Skin I Live In [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile
]
as part of Cinespaña. And the line-up also includes four films in avant-premiere: this is a huge number and it has never happened before, which proves that a lot of films have already been bought by France.

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Besides the best-known directors and internationally booming genre films, does Spanish cinema in its diversity export well?
Current Spanish productions are very much focused on social issues, something which isn’t fully revealed in what gets distributed in France. On the whole, they’re also rather harsh and dark films, as shown by two of the films we’ve selected in competition: Paco Cabezas’s Neon Flesh [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(pictured), which is somewhat in the style of Tarantino; and Carles Torras’s Open 24h.

How can Spanish film distribution in France be improved?
It’s always the small distributors who take risks like Bodega Films which is committed and backs quality films that don’t always have mainstream appeal. However, we’ve just found out that one of the most important French distributors of Spanish films, Colifilms Diffusion, has filed for bankruptcy, which is a real shame. Despite everything, more and more films are being bought and Cinespaña also plays its role in this. For the second year running, we’re organising meetings between French distributors and Spanish producers, and we’ve also come up with something new this year by deciding to split the prize awarded to the winning film, with half for the director, half for its French distributor.

How do you see the future?
I’m more worried about next year because the economic situation in Spain is pretty disastrous. This year, they still managed to produce a certain number of films and the big productions will survive, but I’m a little afraid for young directors and small independent companies which are already in great difficulty (especially when it comes to public funding). The year 2010-2011 was perhaps just a wonderful upturn ahead of major difficulties.

The main competition at Cinespaña, which will run until October 9, also includes directorial duo José Mari Goenaga and Jon Garaño’s For 80 Days, Fernando León de Aranoa’s Amador [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Montxo Armendáriz’s Don’t Be Afraid [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Montxo Armendáriz
film profile
]
, Manuel Martín Cuenca’s Half of Oscar and Enrique Otero’s Crebinsky [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
.

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(Translated from French)

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