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12th Spanish Film Festival - May 21 to 31 at the Palace Centro Cinemas, Fortitude Valley

From: Anthony B.
Sent on: Thursday, May 21, 2009 7:01 PM
A Feast of Film, Food & Music

12th Spanish Film Festival

The best in contemporary Spanish cinema screens nationally throughout May.

39 James Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD
Phone | (07)[masked]

The 12th Spanish Film Festival is a feast of film, food, music and all things Spanish. The program of more than 50 features, documentaries and short films kicks off on May 6 in Sydney, before travelling Australia including Brisbane from May 21 to 31 at Palace Centro Cinemas.

?This year?s program gives an exciting insight into contemporary Spain and Spanish-speaking countries through the most powerful form of communication - cinema. Most of these films will never be screened again in Australia, and the Spanish Film Festival offers audiences around the country their only chance to see these amazing films on the big screen,? said Spanish Film Festival Director and Founder, Natalia Ortiz.

?Spain?s acclaimed and internationally-renowned filmmakers showcase their work alongside the up-and-coming new directors ? the internationally acclaimed filmmakers of the future. Discover the new talent, an insight into today?s Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and revisit, or discover for the first time, the father of Spanish Cinema in the Retrospective of the work of Luis Bu?uel,? Ortiz said.

The Festival opens with a bang with the Spanish box office sensation CHEF?S SPECIAL, a laugh-out-loud comedy starring Javier C?mara, who will be in Australia to present sessions in Sydney and Melbourne.

Chef?s Special heads the JAVIER C?MARA IN FOCUS section which features screenings of some of C?mara?s finest work including Spain?s official entry for the Academy Awards BLIND SUNFLOWERS (nominated for 15 GOYA Awards), the popular opening night selection of the 2005 Festival, TORREMOLINOS 73, and one of his early but most high-profile roles in Pedro Almod?var?s TALK TO HER.

VIVA LA MUSICA is a celebration of music and film and features OLD MAN BEBO, a documentary on legendary pianist Bebo Valdes who is one of the greatest living Cuban musicians, now nearing 90. This joyful documentary celebrates the man who was a key figure in the development of mambo and whose life reflects the experiences of many Cubans since 1959.

Calixto Bieito?s famously controversial 2002 staged production of MOZART?S DON GIOVANNI sets the action in the late 20th century (in a rough, middle-class, neighbourhood replete with lager-louts, sex and drugs) and brings to life an ancient story brilliantly re-told. Filmed on Bieito?s home stage of Barcelona, the production boasts some fine singing, especially from V?ronique Gens as Elvira (once a problematic role, now every lyric soprano?s favourite).

SEPTEMBERS is the story of Madrid?s Soto del Real penitentiary which, every September, holds the ?Festival of the Song,? a competition among the best singers from selected prisons. This beautifully executed documentary follows the stories of eight contestants, four men and four women, from one September?s contest to the next, and journeys both within and outside the prison, travelling from Buenos Aires to Lithuania, and Bolivia to Barcelona in order to track down the people for whom the prisoners sing.

CINE CONTEMPORANEO is a program, which showcases the cutting edge of contemporary Spanish cinema, featuring some of the most exciting directors currently working in Spain - both emerging new talent and celebrated established filmmakers.

The feature directorial debut from award-winning writer David Planell (Seven Billiard Tables SPFF 2008), SHAME is an audacious new drama about a couple wanting to send back an adopted child.

The award-winning debut feature from writer-director Jos? Manuel Gonz?lez, THE SANDMAN is a stirring Spanish romance of mad love and doomed passion, inspired by the now extinct Spanish "Law for the Vagabonds and Delinquents" which existed under Franco.

INSIGNIFICANT THINGS is the debut feature from writer-director Andrea Martinez Crowther, produced by Bertha Navarro and Guillermo del Toro - an emotive story about a young girl who learns about people through what they leave behind.

Unabashedly fun from start to finish, 8 DATES features a terrific ensemble cast headed by Bel?n Rueda, great music and is a comedy about the different stages any relationship goes through.

Jos? Antonio Quir?s? engaging new comic drama ASHES FROM THE SKY examines the compromises and consequences made over environmental concerns as they affect people?s everyday lives. Stranded in the paradisiacal Negr?n Valley in Northern Spain, where the locals live in the shadow of a power plant, a Scottish itinerant travel-guide writer, Paul Ferguson (Gary Piquer), meets Federico (Celso Bugallo), an elderly local who has spent 30 years fighting for the closing of the plant and is utterly convinced that the Kyoto Agreement will close it down.

In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the end of the SPANISH CIVIL WAR, two documentaries give greater insight into this defining period in Spain?s history. A WAR IN HOLLYWOOD is an in-depth look at the impact that the Spanish Civil War and Franco?s dictatorship had on the North American film industry. Hollywood used the Civil War as a subject in more than 50 films. The defeat of democracy in Spain left an ?open wound? in the heart of liberal actors, directors and screenwriters in the US, who used affection towards democratic Spain as a symbolic feature to define the romantic spirit of their characters. This sympathy, however, was shaped according to the American political tendencies of each period. This evolution is narrated through the personal story of Alvah Bessie, a Hollywood screenwriter who fought as a member of the International Brigade. Oriol Porta?s meticulous documentary includes excerpts from Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Way We Were among others, and commentary by actress Susan Sarandon, screenwriters Arthur Laurents and Walter Bernstein and cinema historians Rom?n Gubern and Patrick McGilligan.

SWIMMING is a highly personal documentary from first time filmmaker Carla Subirana that traces the lives of three generations of women in her family. Setting off in search of her grandfather with only his name Juan Arroniz to begin with, the film is a bid to retrieve both personal and historical memories from her aging grandmother and ailing mother before it is too late?

LIFE IS TOO SHORT is the popular program of short films from Spain, which always points to the hottest directors of the future ? a selection not to be missed!

The beauty, mastery and energy of the Spanish-speaking world is showcased through Spanish-language cinema from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Argentina in CINE EN ESPA?OL. Y Tu Mam? Tambi?n co-stars Gael Garc?a Bernal and Diego Luna are reunited on the big screen in RUDO Y CURSI from Mexico, a delightful romp of a comedy drama from writer-director Carlos Cuar?n (brother of Alfonso).

MOTHERS (MADRES) is the story of the group of Argentinean women who have banded together since the 1970s when their children were kidnapped by the military government. In this moving documentary, the mothers speak of their determination to uncover what happened to their children through touching interviews. Archival footage lets us witness the drift of a country from the idyllic Evita years to state terrorism based on the forced disappearance of people.

Mexico's official entry for the 2009 Academy Awards (and the most expensive production in the country?s history to date), TEAR THIS HEART OUT is an epic adaptation of Angeles Mastretta's iconic novel of political intrigue set in the 1930s and 40s, the tumultuous era of the Mexican Revolution.

For information, ticketing and session details go to

12th Spanish Film Festival

Dates & Locations

Sydney: 6-18 May at Palace Academy Twin, Palace Norton Street & Chauvel

Canberra: 7-14 May at Dendy Canberra City

Canberra: 21 May ? 7 June at ARC (National Film & Sound Archive)

Melbourne: 13-25 May at Palace Cinema Como & Kino Cinemas

Adelaide: 14-17 May at Palace Eastend Cinemas

Perth: 20-27 May at Cinema Paradiso

Brisbane: 21-31 May at Palace Centro

The 2009 Spanish Film Festival is produced with the support of the Spanish Embassy, the Consulate General of Spain in Sydney and Melbourne, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Insituto Cervantes, Singapore Airlines, ROCA, Select TV, SBS Radio and BBVA.

INTERVIEWS are available with

Natalia Ortiz, Spanish Film Festival Director and Founder.

Directors and stars of some films.


Are available via email or disc


Georgina Stegman | [address removed] [masked]

Jackie Behrend | [address removed][masked]




TALK TO HER Hable con ella (Spain 2002)

BLIND SUNFLOWERS Los girasoles ciegos (Spain 2008) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)

TORREMOLINOS 73 (Spain/Denmark 2003)

CINE CONTEMPORANEO (Contemporary Spanish Cinema)

INSIGNIFICANT THINGS Cosas insignificantes (Mexico/Spain 2008) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)

THE SANDMAN El hombre de arena (Spain 2007)

SHAME La verg?enza (Spain 2009) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)

ASHES FROM THE SKY Cenizas del cielo (Spain 2008) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)

8 DATES Ocho citas (Spain 2008)


OLD MAN BEBO El viejo bebo (Documentary Spain 2008) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)


SEPTEMBERS Septiembres (Documentary Spain 2007) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)




A WAR IN HOLLYWOOD Hollywood contra Franco (Documentary Spain 2008)

SWIMMING Nadar (Documentary Spain 2008)


RUDO Y CURSI Rudi & Cursi (Mexico 2008)

TEAR THIS HEART OUT Arrancame la vida (Mexico 2008) (PREVIEW DVD AVAILABLE)

MOTHERS Madres: la historia de las madres de plaza de mayo (Documentary Argentina 2007)

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