Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Instituto Cervantes stages the grandest Spanish film festival in Asia

It's a triple treat for film buffs as Instituto Cervantes de Manila brings back Película, the biggest annual Spanish Film Festival in Asia, at chosen venues in Metro Manila from October 1 to 31.

Due to the past successes of its first seven seasons, organizers have doubled the number of films (this year more than 40!), gone from one to three venues and lengthened the film festival. Cultural events have also been calendared, in line with the theme of this year's festival: Locos por el cine or Adik sa Pelikula.

With new partnerships forged by Instituto Cervantes, the cultural arm of the Spanish Embassy to the Philippines, and the strengthening support from Spanish filmmakers, last year's attendance by cinema enthusiasts is expected to increase this year. Last year, some 20,000 spectators attended the Festival.

"This year marks our 8th edition and we're very proud of how far the Festival's come in such a short period of time," said Instituto Cervantes director Jose Rodriguez. "We believe Película has the potential to foster incredible growth in arts and entertainment and attract the best of the best-acclaimed Spanish and Latin American filmmakers to this area. We are especially proud of the reputation the Festival has developed over the years as a great local venue to feature and premier award-winning Spanish films."

Selection of films will be divided into four groups this year: Official section at Greenbelt 3 Cinemas featuring Spanish contemporary and award-winning films; Spanish & Filipino documentaries at CCP which is a selection of 12 documentaries that bear testament to the growing vitality of the genre in the two countries; Spanish Cinema in 8 Films at the College of Saint Benilde featuring eight classical Spanish movies; and a selection of Latin-American indie productions entitled Cine en construcción (Films in progress), also scheduled at College of Saint Benilde.

Película kicks off on October 1 with an opening night featuring the movie No me pidas que te bese porque te besaré (Don't ask me to kiss you, because I will). This comedy is about a man who is repenting his decision to marry and takes guitar lessons with "special" people to distract himself before his wedding. Gracing the opening night at the Greenbelt 5 Fashion walk area will be a dance performance by B612, a vertical dance company who was brought to Manila by Instituto Cervantes to display their world-class dance and lights to local audience.

Multi-awarded films such as El truco del manco (The one-handed trick), Una palabra tuya, Los girasoles ciegos (The Blind Sunflowers), Rotorno a Hansala (Return to Hansala), and 3 Días make their Philippine premiere at the film festival, which starts also on October 1 at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas.

Other films include El Nido Vacío (Empty Nest), a comedy that explores the gap that occurs when children grow up and move away from home; and Dieta mediterranea (Mediterranean Diet), a story about a girl named Sofia who was regarded as the "best chef in the world" and the two men who helped her become a legend.

On October 7, Película gives tribute to Mexico's film industry with the Mexican Cinema Night. Headlining this evening 2008 San Diego Latino Film Festival, La Zona (The Zone), a film about a wealthy compound surrounded by walls and surveillance system to protect the locals against the violence of the slums.

Running at the De La Salle University- College of St. Benilde (DLSU-CSB) from October 1 to 31 is a photo exhibition on the evolution of the Spanish cinema. Tagged as Crónica Visual del Cine Español (A Visual Chronicle of Spanish Cinema), the exhibit will be divided into the three periods of the Spanish cinema, aiming to recreate the journey of the films from the old Europe and Latin American tradition to the current contemporary style.

Alongside the exhibits at the DLSU-CSB will be a series of workshops on scriptwriting and editing as well as the showcasing of Latin American indie films. On October 14, 12:30 p.m., Chilean director Oscar Cardenas will grace the DLSU-CSB for the Asian premiere of his film Rabia.

Meanwhile, from October 7 to 31 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is a photo exhibit on Filipino Filmmakers by renowned Spanish photographer Óscar Orengo. Featured in the exhibit – the first of its kind in the country – are local directors and actors from different generations like Peque Gallaga, Brilliante Mendoza, Lav Diaz and many more.

That same day, October 7, No todo es verdad, a selection of Filipino and Spanish documentaries will also begin at the CCP Dream Theater.

Película is organized by Instituto Cervantes, in cooperation with the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines, AECID, Ministerio de Cultura of Spain, Filmoteca del Ministerio de AA.EE. de España, Cine en Construcción, Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation, Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day, LRT, MRT, Cultural Center of the Philippines, College of St.Benilde, Greenbelt and Ayala Malls Cinemas. Special thanks to Dusit Thani Manila - the official hotel residence, Qatar Airways - the official airline, Jaguar – the official luxury car, welovepost - the official post and design boutique and 2nd Avenue – the official TV media partner of Película.

Other sponsors are Alba Restaurante Español, Barcelo Café, Espa-Fil, Bai Capture, Icon Graphics, PostManila, Tooth Fairy productions, Mapfre Insular Insurance Corp., and Embajada de México. Media partners: Lifestyle Asia, Lifestyle Travel and Business Mirror, and (Online), UR 105.9 and RJ 100.3 (Radio).

For more information, please call 526 1482 or visit or Instituto Cervantes de Manila is located at 855 T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila.

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