At the Opening Gala, hosted by Pablo Carbonell and Eva Marciel, the festival welcomes audience and guests claiming its role as a “showcase which helps us gain a better understanding of the human being”, in the words of Javier Angulo
Benito Zambrano kick-starts the 64th Seminci with ‘Out in the Open’, a film which marks his return to cinema after an eight-year absence
From the stage of the Calderón Theater, sheltered from the rain pouring down outside, and following the rhythm of Kubbo’s percussion, Pablo Carbonell and Eva Marciel welcomed the guests at the Opening Gala of the 64th International Valladolid Film Festival, Seminci. After briefly going over the 2018 edition, Carbonell highlighted the «impressive event» that was about to take place: «Today, despite everyone having their own screen, more than 800 people are gathered here to watch the same film at the same time, Out in the Open», he said while asking the audience to give a big hand to Spanish cinema.
Accompanied by his guitar and, once again, with Kubbo before the audience, Carbonell thanked the sponsors’ support with a song, imitating what Alex O’Dogherty, who was among the audience, did at the Opening Gala of the festival’s 62nd edition. He then welcomed the 64th Seminci’s godmother, Sevillian actress Belén Cuesta, who read the welcome letter written by festival director Javier Angulo before the Seminci guests. “«In a national and international environment marked by uncertainty, it is important to remember principles such as solidarity, fairness, and respect», said Cuesta. «Cinema, and especially auteur cinema», she continued, «has always paid attention to people who have defended those principles or suffered those who do not know them, and that is why Seminci has become a showcase which helps us gain a better understanding of the human being».
«Offering a curious and sensitive gaze on the world around us is an indissoluble part of this festival’s intangible heritage», she said, before recalling Seminci’s commitment to «bring auteur and independent cinema before new audiences, and help raise awareness about the environmental issues that threaten the planet through the Cinema & Climate Change section, which was ground-breaking four years ago».
After Cuesta onto the Calderón Theatre stage came the members of the 64th Seminci International Jury — president Josefina Molina; producer Thierry Forte; president of the Havana’s International Festival of New Latin American Cinema Iván Giroud; filmmakers Philippe Lesage (winner of the Golden Spike and the Best Director award in 2018), Keti Machavariani and Dilip Mehta, and writer Rosa Montero. «This jury is very proud to take part in Seminci’s Official Section, which has scheduled 19 feature films and 11 short films», Molina said, «and believes in European cinema, women directors, and new filmmakers». In this 64th edition, the jury will have to choose the film that will win a new award: the Best Film Editing Award, named after José Salcedo, Pedro Almodóvar’s regular editor, who died in 2017.
Machavariani, for her part, talked about the retrospective on her home country Georgia organised by the festival: «Many of the films we will see have already delighted spectators in other festivals, so I hope you will enjoy them». Marciel pointed out that the Valladolid Film Festival «will also travel East» in this edition, with a cycle on the Chinese cinema of the last decade.
Reviewing the schedule of the various sections of the 64th Seminci
Hugo and Mafalda, Marcel and Carbonell’s respective son and daughter, presented both the Meeting Point section and Miki Molina, whose feature film Un tiempo precioso takes part in Meeting Point section. «The film tells the story of an actor who learns he has Alzheimer’s and, although it sounds sad, it is not: it’s a story with a happy ending», he explained. This film (inspired by autobiographical events) is his début behind the camera, something he emphasised about Meeting Point, which «schedules films by new directors from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Brazil, Singapore, Cambodia, Iceland, Germany, and obviously Spain”.
Everardo González, «who has won several awards at this festival», as Carbonell recalled, and is a member of the Time of History jury in this edition, pointed out that this section pays special attention to «courage», with titles like The Cave, by Feras Fayyad, about a Syrian doctor who claims her right to work on an equal footing with her male counterparts, or Shooting the Mafia, by Kim Longinotto, about the Sicilian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia.
Next came lawyers Cristina Almeida and Francisca Sauquillo, who take part in La defensa, por la libertad, scheduled in the DOC. Spain section. «This documentary reminds us of what it took to achieve democracy and of events so dreadful that keep making our hearts sink, like the lawyers that were murdered at 55 Atocha Street», Almeida said. «Let’s not forget: we shan’t take a step back without taking a step forward», added Sauquillo.
At the 64th Seminci Opening Gala there was also time to remember the cinema professionals who had died the previous year, such as film critic Diego Galán, filmmakers Agnès Varda, Stanley Donen, Bernardo Bertolucci, Bibi Anderson, Jorge Grau and Franco Zeffirelli, actors Peter Fonda, Albert Finney, Analía Gadé, Rutger Hauer, Álvaro de Luna, Burt Reynolds, Bruno Ganz and Cesaréo Estébanez, as well as composer Michel Jean Legrand and editor José Sámano.
The Opening Gala was also a chance to review the titles selected in the festival’s remaining sections: Spanish Cinema, Seminci Transmedia, ESCAC, Features and Shorts from Castile & Leon, Miniminci, Seminci Joven and Cinema & Wine. Besides, Ingrid García-Jonsson and Leticia Dolera respectively presented the RTVE Gala and the Movistar + Section (new to this edition). Within the RTVE Gala, the festival will feature a prerelease screening of Salir del ropero, by Ángeles Reiné, starring García-Jonsson alongside Rosa María Sardá, Verónica Forqué, and David Verdaguer and Alex O’Dogherty, who were both in Valladolid today. «It’s a comedy full of plot twists in which a young woman tries to boycott her grandmother’s wedding with her best friend’s help», said the film’s director. Within the Movistar + Section, the festival has scheduled the TV series Vida perfecta, directed by Dolera (who also stars it alongside Aixa Villagrán and Celia Freijeiro), and the feature films 1987, by Jang Joon-hwan, and The Party’s just Beginning, by Karen Gillan.
‘Out in the Open’, a film “made with love”, kick-starts the festival
Benito Zambrano was the last to step onto the stage, surrounded by some of the members of the technical and artistic team (including the protagonists, Luis Tosar, Jaime López, Luis Callejo, and Vicente Romero) from his fourth feature film, Out in the Open, the film opening the 64th Seminci. With Out in the Open, the Sevillian filmmaker returns to the big screen eight years after releasing his last film, The Sleeping Voice. Juan Gordon, from Morena Films, said that it was the producer that offered Zambrano the script, which was based on a novel of the same name by Jesús Carrasco that shows «that part of our history that we need to know about», according to the filmmaker.
«It is an honour, a great pleasure, to present Out in the Open here», Zambrano confessed, «a film in which the work and the talent of each team member has been fundamental in making a film that you will be shocked and moved by». Once more, the director expressed his gratitude to the professionals with whom he had worked during the project, because «cinema is a collective art form».
«We hope you will find the film touching: we definitely put our heart into it», concluded Zambrano, who announced the screening after the gala’s masters of ceremonies closing words: «Thank you for supporting and always believing in cinem».