Edinburgh’s 2020 Spanish Film Festival Goes Online

This year, the seventh edition of the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) will take place entirely online due to the current coronavirus restrictions, when audiences will have access to each film for either 24 or 48 hours. While those of us who relish the trip to the cinema have lost out, the move online of course means that film fans and audiences interested in Spanish and Latin American culture can join in from wherever they are in the UK.

Taking place from 6th to 25th October 2020, the ESFF presents a total of 16 feature films, 11 short films, and a series of lockdown monologues. The programme also includes a great selection of films directed by women including Ojos Negros (Ivet Castello and Marta Lallana), The Innocence (Lucía Alemany), The Invisible (Gracia Querejeta), CartasVivas (Paula Ortiz and Nuria Capdevila), Love and Death (Arantxa Aguirre). The showcase also includes Out in the Open (Benito Zambrano) and the classic The Spirit of the Beehive (Víctor Erice).

Documentaries cover a range of subjects, embracing literature, in The Blue Days (Laura Hojman); cinema, in Saura(s) (Felix Viscarret); gastronomy, in Living in Silence (Iñaki Arteta) and the life of the artist in Cruz Novillo: The Man who Designed Spain (Andrea G. Bermejo & Miguel Larraya).

In the spirit of welcoming new directors, ESFF will be  showing a number of debut films such as Camilla Urrutia with Gunpowder Heart; Polo Menárguez introducing The Plan, and Guillermo Rojas with Once Again. A new feature for 2020 is Chatting Heads, a series of monologues created by Nuria Benet during the COVID-19 lockdown  and a short film section, The Shortest Afternoon from the Premios Pávez festival in Talavera de la Reina (Spain).

This year’s Latin American work includes The Weasels’ Tale by Academy Award winner Juan J. Campanella; Spider by Andrés Wood and Camilla Urrutia’s debut Gunpowder Heart.

From the 6th to 8th October, there will also be special screenings for schools with Once Againby Guillermo Rojas  (suitable for S3-S6) and The Footballest by Miguel Lamata (suitable for P7-S2).

Director of the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival, Marian A. Aréchaga says, “It has been big challenge for us to adapt – the physical cinema experience will be greatly missed this year – but I am thrilled to share with you our vibrant and varied programme, with something for all ages and tastes. The main objective of the festival is to support Spanish cinema, which has undergone so much in this complicated year, and to use cinema as a vehicle to promote the Spanish language and culture beyond our borders. I am grateful to the institutions that have helped us to create a platform where Spanish and British audiences can enjoy the pleasure of cinema.”

Panel discussions and Q and A sessions with directors, actors and other film industry professionals will be available to audiences throughout the festival. Among the guests will be filmmakers Paula Ortiz, Juan J. Campanella, Polo Menárguez, and Camila Urrutia as well as academics Dr. Ann Davies  of the University of Stirling, Professor Nuria Capdevila of the University of Exeter, and Dr Santiago Bertrán  of the University of Oxford.

Full details of the programme are available on the ESFF website where tickets can be purchased with prices as follows:

Festival Pass for All Films (£40); 5 tickets (£20); Single ticket (£5);

Student Pass (£25 per class)

Irene Brown

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