From Seminci to the Oscars

28/4/2021.- Chinese filmmaker  Chloé Zhao became this week  the second woman to win an Oscar for Best Director for Nomadland, twelve years after Kathryn Bigelow bagged the same award  with The Hurtlocker (2009). Both directors share one place in their biographies: their participation in the Valladolid International Film Festival. Also Youn Yuh-jung, best supporting actress for Minari, a film premiered in the Official Selection of the 66th edition. But they are not the only ones. Authors like Bon Joon-ho, Damien Chazelle, Juan José Campanella or Sofía Coppola achieved the precious statuette some time after being awarded at our festival

The Asian filmmaker triumphed in the 62nd Film Week with her previous film The Rider (2017), which won the Silver Spike, the Pilar Miró award for best new direction and the best actor award for Brady Jandreau’s lead performance. Although she was unable to physically join the closing gala, she sent her message of gratitude in the following video.

Kathryn Bigelow, in turn, presented at Seminci her debut film, The Loveless (1982), which was part of a retrospective on  “American Independent Cinema” programmed  in the 27th edition and featuring 35 titles by the heirs of the New American Cinema Group, created in 1960 with Jonas Mekas as its most important figure. The  retrospective’s lineup of filmmakers, included names like  Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles and Alexander Rockwell, among others.

Only three other women had achieved the Oscar nomination for best director before Bigelow: the italian Lina Wertmuller for  Seven Beauties (1975), new zealander Jane Campion for The Piano (1993) and the us filmmaker Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2004) . As it turns out, both Campion and Coppola were awarded in Valladolid too. The former won the Silver Spike of the 36th edition for An Angel at my Table (1990), and the latter harvested  the Pilar Miro award for the best new direction for Lost in Translation, which would earn her the Oscar for best original screenplay several months later.

Bon Joon-ho

The Valladolid Festival  was honoured by the presence of the South Korean director Bon Joon-ho in its 59th edition, where he served  as president of the International Jury, as well as being the subject of a full retrospective and receiving the Festival’s Honorary Spike in 2014. Six years later, the filmmaker made history at the 2020 Oscars: his film Parasite became the great winner of the year with four statuettes, including best film and best director.

Chazelle, Ang Lee, Campanella

Seminci’s  journey to the Oscars has had  a few more illustrious passengers. In the list of awards of the  59th edition, the same for which  Bon Joon-ho presided over the jury, Damien Chazelle was the recipient of  the Pilar Miró award for best new direction for Whiplash (2014), two years before winning the Academy Award  for best director for  La La Land (2016).

Ang Lee visited Valladolid to present out of competition  in the Official Section of the 50th edition his mythical film Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which he won his first statuette as best director a few months later.

Ang Lee

Another old friend of Seminci, the argentinian Juan José Campanella, is also a  member of the group of film auteurs whom the Spanish and European audiences discovered following  their participation in the Valladolid Festival.  Much of his filmography has been shown for the first time in our country on the screens of Seminci, which  premiered and awarded four of his six feature films, as well as his short films and television series. In 2010, The Secret in Their Eyes won the Oscar for Best International Film.

International films

Seminci has also programmed and screened for the first time in Spain or Europe a significant number of titles which, months later, would win the Academy Award for  best international film: The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi, 2016), The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2007), The Barbarian Invasions (Denys Arcand, 2003), Nowhere in Africa (Caroline Link, 2002), Life is beautiful (Roberto Benigni, 1998), Antonia (Marleen Gorris, 1995), Burned by the Sun (Nikita Mijalkov, 1994), Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1989) or Pelle the Conqueror (Bille August, 1988).

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