Cinema buffs welcome the 2016 edition of the Spanish Film Festival in Manila
Why the two spellings – Pelicula / Pelikula (the former, being the Spanish word for film; the latter, its Filipino derivative) – you may ask? This is a nod to the shared cinematic history between Spain and Manila. After all, as history annals would have it, it was during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines that the pelicula or moving picture was first introduced to the public, on January 1, 1897 at the Salón de Pertierra in Escolta, Manila. Four Spanish films were screened with the use of a 60 mm Gaumont -Chrono photograph projector. Over a century after the pelicula made its debut on Philippine soil, the tradition of bringing the best of Spanish film to audiences this side of Spain is alive and well, thanks to the Instituto Cervantes.
“The Spanish Film Festival is very much in line with our commitment to shared growth and culture, to making the benefits of these available to all,” Luis Antonio Calvo Castaño, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, pointed out at the film festival’s press conference. “We reiterate our commitment to the Film Development Council of the Philippines, as filmmaking is one of the vectors of our cultural cooperation. I hope that this will remain as a very important feature of our common cooperation and our common legacy.”
This year, the Spanish Film Festival will showcase more than 20 films, carefully curated and handpicked by the Instituto. The festival kicked off on October 5, at the Ayala Malls Cinemas in Greenbelt 3, with the with the screening of Truman, a bitter comedy directed by Spaniard Cesc Gay, which garnered several awards both in Spain and abroad.
PELíCULA likewise offers a glimpse into Latin American cinema, a continent which primarily expresses itself in Spanish. This year’s edition features films from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela.
Among the films that make up the Latin American program is the delightful Venezuelan comedy Azul y no tan rosa, directed by Miguel Ferrari in 2012; as well as the Chilean drama of Alejandro Fernández, Aquí no ha pasado nada (Much Ado about Nothing) of 2016. From Argentina, a nation with a dynamic and valuable cinematic tradition comes a multi-awarded drama entitled El clan (2015).
PELíCULA will run for two weeks, until October 16. For the first time since its inception, and with the cooperation with the Embassy of Colombia, this year’s festival will feature La Noche del Cine Colombiano on the 10th of October, 7 pm at Greenbelt 3 Cinema 1, with the screening of the 2015 adventure film entitled El abrazo de la serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent. Directed by the Columbian Ciro Guerra , the film bagged the Filmmakers Fortnight Art Cinema Award at the most recent Cannes Film Festival, and has been submitted as an entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Oscars. At 9:30 pm, another lauded film, La tierra y la sombra (Land and Shade), a drama by Columbian director César Acevedo, will be screened.
With the support of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), a selection of films shown in the Manila leg of the Festival will also be screened at Cinemathéques located in Baguio, Iloilo, and Davao.
Aside from the cultural exchange and entertainment in store at the festival, exciting prizes – including a round-trip ticket to Spain, courtesy of Turkish Airlines – are in store for lucky raffle winners. For every five movies viewed, members of the audience qualify to join the raffle by entering their vote for the Audience Choice Award; a highlight of every edition of PELÍCULA.
For more information and for screening schedules, please visit the official website of Instituto Cervantes www.manila.cervantes.es or log on to their Facebook page www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila.
By ANGIE DUARTE