65th Seminci – Honorary Spikes

JAVIER CÁMARA

Born in La Rioja’s small town of Albelda de Iregua in 1967, at the age of 16 he came into contact with the Teatro Pobre theatre company, an event that brought out all his talent and intuition. It was the group’s director, Fernando Gil Torner, who encouraged him to try to join Madrid’s drama school RESAD, where he soon stood out, after the closure of the Logroño School of Dramatic Art.

In order to pay for his training, he worked as an usher at the Teatro Fígaro in Madrid, and in 1991 he made his professional debut as an extra in ‘El caballero de Olmedo’, a play directed by Miguel Narros which was soon followed by ‘Dígaselo con valium’, by Valladolid-born playwright José Luis Alonso de Santos.

His film acting debut came in 1993 in ‘Rosa rosae’, by Fernando Colomo, and in the 90s he became popular for his work on television series like ‘ ¡Ay, Señor, Señor!’, ‘Periodistas’, ‘Hostal Royal Manzanares’ or’ 7 lives’, among others.
After participating in the first two installments of ‘Torrente’ and in films like ‘Washington Wolves’ or ‘Sex and Lucía’, Pedro Almodóvar offered him the role of Benigno, the devoted and selfless protagonist of ‘Talk to her’ (2002) , that would launch his career.

Since then he has worked with filmmakers such as Pablo Berger (‘Torremolinos 73’), Joaquín Oristrell (‘With George Bush on My Mind’’), Isabel Coixet (‘Yesterday Never Ends’), Manuel Martín Cuenca (‘Hard Times’), Agustín Díaz Yanes (‘Captain Alatriste’), Cesc Gay (‘The People Upstairs’), José Luis Cuerda (‘The Blind Sunflowers’), Nacho G. Velilla (‘Chef’s Special’), Fernando Trueba (‘My Father’), Borja Cobeaga (‘Bomb Scared’) or Gracia Querejeta (‘Wave of Crimes’), in addition to participating in Paolo Sorrentino’s series ‘The Young Pope’ and ‘The New Pope’.

He has received two Goya awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively for his work in David Trueba’s ‘Living is Easy with Eyes Closed’ and Cesc Gay’s ‘Truman’, as well as some other two Silver Biznagas at the Málaga Festival, the Silver Shell for Best Actor at the San Sebastián Festival, two Ondas awards and many other distinctions.

ISABEL COIXET

Born in Sant Adrià del Besos in 1960, the flame of love for film was soon kindled in her when on her First Communion her parents presented her with a Super8 camera.

In 1984 she released the short ‘Mira y verás’, and worked as creative director for adverting firms like J.W.T. and Target before founding in 1990, together with Lluis Miñarro and Juan Peláez, the production company Eddie Saeta. In 1987 she made her feature-length debut with ‘Too Old to Die Young,’ which earned her her first Goya nomination, and since then she has garnered eight Goya Awards in the major categories.

After focusing on advertising for years, in 1996 she went back behind the camera to film ‘Things I Never Told You’, which was followed in 1999 by ‘Those who love’, and a year later she founded her own production company, Miss Wasabi Films , before reaching international recognition with ‘My Life Without Me’ (2003) and ‘The Secret Life of Words’ (2005).

In 2005 she took part in the collective film ‘Paris, je t’aime’ and directed the promotional short that commemorated the Film Week’s 50th anniversary. Her films have been selected at the best festivals around the world, from Cannes to Venice and including Berlin, where she has screened her films up to seven times. Her success in the documentary genre is also remarkable, having directed titles like ‘Invisibles’ (2007), ‘Viaje al corazón de la tortura’ (2003), and ‘Escuchando al juez Garzón’ (2011), the winner of a Goya Award.

In 2015 she was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, and that same year she opened the Berlinale with ‘Nobody Wants the Night’, which months later would close the Valladolid Festiva, where l she also delivered an unforgettable master class. She returned to Valladolid two years later to start our festival with ‘The Bookshop’. Only a few weeks ago, she received Spain’s 2020 National Film Award for having spent «more than three decades breaking new ground in Spanish cinema», and this year she once again opens Valladolid’s Film Festival with her latest work ‘It Snows in Benidorm’.

MARÍA GALIANA

She was born in Seville in 1935 and graduated in Arts and Humanities before starting a fruitful career as an Art History teacher at several secondary education schools in her hometown.

In the 1950s her calling as an actress was awakened by her participation in various university theater groups, although her first professional role for the cinema took place in the 1988 production ‘Pasodoble’ (José Luis García Sánchez). After that She would be cast in films such as ‘Malaventura’ (Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, 1988), ‘Belle Époque’ (Fernando Trueba, 1992), ‘On Earth as It Is in Heaven’ (José Luis Cuerda, 1995), ‘Freedomfighters’ (Vicente Aranda, 1996) or ‘Yerma’ (Pilar Távora, 1998), before her life took a turn with the new millennium.

As a stage actress she made her debut in 1990 with García Lorca’s ‘The Love of Don Perlimplín and Belisa in the Garden’ before playing a role in ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ (1992), and in ‘Assemblywomen’, directed by Juan Echanove, among other productions. In 1999, a few months before her retirement as a teacher, ‘Solas’, Benito Zambrano’s debut feature, was released. She won her the Goya Award for Best Supporting Actress while her impressive acting work turned her into an indelible face in Spanish cinema. After that, she participated in films like ‘Fugitives’ (Miguel Hermoso, 2000), ‘Roma’ (Adolfo Aristarain, 2004), ‘María querida’ (José Luis García Sánchez, 2005) or ‘Tapas’ (Juan Cruz and José Corbacho, 2005).

Her popularity skyrocketed in September 2001, when Spain’s public broadcaster TVE premiered the first episode of the series ‘Cuéntame cómo pasó’, where she has since then played endearing grandmother Herminia in the longest-running series in the history of Spanish television.

The recipient of the Medal of Andalusia in 2000 and the Gold Medal for Merits in the Fine Arts awarded by the Ministry of Culture in 2004, she has won an Ondas Prize in 1999, the award for Best Actress at the Tokyo International Film Festival (2000), the Union of Actors Award for Best Supporting Actress (2001), and the Family Film Award (Golden Wave) for her Human and Professional Life Achievement in film

CHARO LÓPEZ

Born in Salamanca in 1943, she found her calling as an actress at the age of 17. It happened at the University, while she was studying Arts and Humanities in her hometown and she took her first acting steps with the Spanish University Theater. When she was working as a teacher, she met the filmmaker Gonzalo Suárez, who suggested that she play a part in his film ‘Ditirambo’, a proposal that changed her life. She worked with Suárez on seven other feature films, and since then she has played in around 60 movies, 40 series and a score of stage plays with Spain’s most prestigious directors.

It was Manuel Vicent who accurately defined her as «the symbol of light at the end of the tunnel of Francoism». After playing Mauricia in the TV series ‘Fortunata y Jacinta’, her work in ‘Los gozos y las sombras’ earned her the status of a major lead actress who went on to achieve one success after another on the silver screen. Her filmography includes titles like ‘The Beehive’ by Mario Camus, ‘The Lost Paradise’ by Basilio Martín Patino, ‘Time of Silence’ by Vicente Aranda, ‘The Most Natural Thing’, by Josefina Molina, ‘Kika’ by Pedro Almodóvar, ‘Anima’ by Titus Leber, or ‘FullMoon’, by Imanol Uribe.

Her popularity in Latin America soared in the late 1980s, when she toured the Argentine stages with ‘A Special Day’ and ‘Hay que deshacer la casa’. In Spain, her greatest stage hits were ‘Tengamos el sexo en paz’, based on a text by Darío Fo, and her monologue ‘Ojos de agua’, inspired by ‘La Celestina’.

In 1997 she dazzled audience and critics by playing María in Montxo Armendáriz’s ‘Secrets of the Heart’, which earned her the Goya Award for Best Supporting Actress. The upcoming release of ‘Baby’, the latest film by Juanma Bajo Ulloa, will be her next big screen appearance.

The winner of the Silver Fotogramas for her Lifelong Achievement and the Nacho Martínez Award at the Gijón Film Festival as well as the 2010 San Jordi Film Award, she has been additionally distinguished with three Golden TP awards, two awards from the Sindicato Nacional del Espectáculo and the FAD Award for Cinema and Social Values among many other prizes.

JULIO MEDEM

Born in San Sebastián in 1958, his love for cinema was awakened by a Super8 camera with which his father, a virtuous amateur filmmaker, used to film scenes of his family life. An athlete in his teens, at 18 he moved to Soria determined to study Psychiatry in order to be able to delve into the dark corners of the human mind. Finally he graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the University of the Basque Country.

While shooting his first shorts in a self-taught way, he worked as a film critic for ‘La Voz de Euskadi’, before shaping his first feature film script, ‘Cows’, which earned him the Goya Award for Best New Director, dazzled both critics and audiences in the Panorama section of the Berlin Festival and was awarded at the Tokyo, Montreal or Turin festivals, inaugurating one of the most personal film universes in European cinema.

His second film, ‘The Red Squirrel’, was awarded at Cannes and aroused the interest of film masters like Stanley Kubrick or Steven Spielberg, but Medem gave up a career in Hollywood to continue exploring his obsessions with ‘Earth’ (1996), one of his most personal works, which competed in the Official Selection of Cannes.

In 1997 he created Alicia Produce, his own film production company, with which he has spawned titles like ‘Me Too ‘, by Antonio Naharro and Álvaro Pastor, and in 1998 he enjoyed the box-office success of ‘Lovers of the Arctic Circle’, before achieving full fruition at home and abroad with his film ‘Sex and Lucía’.

In 2003, he premiered his documentary ‘The Basque Ball: Skin against stone ‘, and in 2007 he returned to fiction with ‘Chaotic Ana’, which was followed in 2009 by ‘Room in Rome ‘, based on Valladolid’s Golden Spike winning film ‘In Bed ‘, by Chilean director Matías Bize.

In 2012 he presented his first literary work, ‘Aspasia, amante de Atenas’, and in 2014 he produced together with Penelope Cruz ‘Ma ma’, which premiered internationally at the Toronto Film Festival. Her tenth and last feature film so far is ‘The Tree of Blood’, a story of love and heartbreak over time.

GRACIAS QUEREJETA

She was born in Madrid in 1962 and studied dance before graduating in Geography and History from the Complutense University. The daughter of film producer Elías Querejeta, she had an early calling and at the age of 13 she made her debut as an actress in Emilio Martínez Lázaro’s ‘What Max Said’, the winner of the OCIC Prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

Later she participated as an actress in several short films and was Carlos Saura’s assistant director in ‘Sweet Hours’ (1981), before making her debut behind the camera in 1987 with the short film ’Tres en la marca‘, the first chapter of the series ‘7 huellas’, which premiered in the Official Section of the 32nd Valladolid Festival.

In 1990 she directed, together with Jesús Ruiz and Nacho Pérez de la Paz, the documentary short film ‘El viaje del agua’, which won a Goya Award, and that same year she wrote and directed ‘La adolescencia’, a chapter in the series ‘El hombre y la industria’. In 1992 she directed his first feature film, ‘Whistle Stop’, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 37th Seminci and premiered in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival. It was the beginning of a brilliant career as a screenwriter and director.

Her filmography includes feature films like ‘Robert Rylands’ Last Journey’ (1995), awarded for Best Film, Direction, Cinematography, Editing and Soundtrack by Spain’s Screenwriters Association (Círculo de Escritores Cinematográficos); ‘By My Side Again’, Special Jury Prize and Best Cinematography at the San Sebastian Festival and the recipient of eight Goya nominations; ‘Héctor’ (2004), awarded for Best Film and Best Actress at the Málaga Film Festival; ‘Seven Billiard Tabless’ (2007), Best Script and Best Actress at San Sebastián, and Goya awards for Best Leading and Supporting Actresses; ‘15 Years and One Day’ (2015), Best Film in Málaga and eight Goya nominations; ‘Happy 140’ (2015), nominated for two Goya awards; ‘Wave of Crimes’ (2018), the documentary ‘Tanto monta’ (2019) and the recent production ‘The Invisible’ (2020).