If you are a fan of international cinema and you live in Los Angeles, you should not miss Recent Spanish Cinema screenings that opens on Thursday October 13 and continues until October 16th.
This festival is supported by La Academia de la Artes y de las Ciencias Cinematograficas de Espana, Embassy of Spain in Washington, Spain USA Foundation, Consulate General of Spain in Los Angeles, Iberia, Tourist Office of Spain in Los Angeles, Filmotech, E.L.M.A. (European Languages and Movies in America), Bacardi, Anna de Codorniu, Raimat, Vina Zaco, Lladro and Valor Chocolates.
To learn more about Recent Spanish Cinema we talked to Elvi cano. Elvi Cano moved from Spain to Los Angeles 6 years ago and has been working in production, casting, international sales and also as a tv correspondent and talent manager. She has worked with Casting director April Webster( taking part in the international cast of tv series “Lost” and “Army Wives”) and with Spanish tv stations such as La Sexta and Tele 5. In 2009 she took part in the production of the internationally acclaimed documentary “The Spanish Hollywood”.
In January 2010 she joined the team of EGEDA (Audiovisual Producers’ Rights Management Association) as the Communications Director of the US office organizing events such as “The Recent Spanish cinema series” in Los Angeles and Miami.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about the 2011 Spanish film series, when it starts and where it will be played?
Elvi Cano: It starts on the 13 which is a Thursday and that day will start with the official submission for the 2012 Academy Award for foreign film which is Black Bread. Black Bread was a movie that won the Goya award in Spain this year and it got 9 Goyas. So we are going to screen this movie Black Bread, we will have a red carpet prior to the movie and we will have guest from Spain coming in. For Black Bread we will have the producer called Isona Passola and also the lead actress called Nora Navas. So we will have the red carpet we will have a Q&A and then we will have a reception in the Egyptian courtyard, so we will celebrate the Spanish films and also the Spain national day which is also the day before so we will celebrate both. We are almost sold out already of the 600 seats at the Egyptian; we are speaking to the American Cinematech this morning, and we are happy that we are almost sold out for that day. The series will go on for three more days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we have a double feature everyday.
BT: Tell us about what movies that audience should watch for or what will be the highlights of the festival?
EC: Black Bread for sure, which is the one that won the Goya this year, on Friday, we will be showing Anything You Want by Achero Manas, who is a very well known director in Spain and it has a great cast, with actors like Juan Diego Botto and we have another movie with Montxo Armendariz directing, called Don’t Be Afraid. Then on Saturday, this will maybe be one of the highlights of the festival because comedy always sells, we have 2 great comedies, the first one is called Cousinhood (Primos), it is a very, very funny comedy and it did very well in the Spanish box office, and then the second ,movie will be Torrente 4, this is a franchise that is directed, produced and starring Santiago Segura; Santiago Segura, has just worked on the last Adam Sandler movie, so he has just crossed over the US to do work over here. On Sunday we have 2 very nice movies that are more oriented toward a younger audience, one is called Three Steps above Heaven, with Mario Casas, who is now the most popular actor in Spain, and we have also another movie called Forever Young, directed by Pau Freixas.
BT: How can audiences get to see these films?
EC: We have sent through our contacts as well as the American Cinemathequethere is an e-mail address, where there is an RSVP@americancinematech.com and they can RSVP for complimentary tickets, we are giving away a lot of complimentary tickets. For the opening night they are gone already, we are out of complimentary tickets and we gave away already almost 300, so they can RSVP, to this email address or they can just buy it on the website of the American Cinematech at the Egyptian theatre.
BT: Will there be guest filmmakers coming to the festival?
EC: Yes, we going to have one guest every day, the first night we will have two, so we will have the producer and the lead actress, We have a producer called Isona Passola and a lead actress called Nora Navas, that is for Black Bread on Thursday, then on Friday we will have in between the movies, we will have a Q&A with director Achero Manas and then on Saturday we will have a discussion with one of the actors form Primos, who is called Adrian Lastra; we were expecting to have also Santiago Segura, but it is not confirmed yet and then on Sunday we will have a discussion in between movies with actor, Alvaro Cervantes.
BT: How has the festival progressed over the years?
EC: For this year, I cannot tell you but we were very happy last year, it was one of the best series that we have had in terms of audience as well as the media, we had great exposure in the media we have a lot of journalist coming to cover the press conference and we have a full house on the opening night and we had an average of 3-400 people per movie. So last year we were very happy and we just hope to have the same results this year. We are also happy that more and more Spanish movies are getting released in the US.
BT: How has the festival helped the Spanish films to get a US distribution?
EC: It helps because we bring to see the movies, distributors and programmers from other film festival. For instance last year we had a programmer from the Palm Springs film festival and then she selected them and took them to the Pal Spring film festival. So the more exposure that films have here in Los Angeles is the better chance that they have to get a wide US distribution and it worked very well last year.
BT: How is the state of Spanish cinema compared to the rest of Europe?
EC: Regarding distribution, this year for the first time, we had problems getting the movies to be screened in the series because many of them had already been distributed, when they already have a distributor then in order to get permission to screen the movies we have to clear with the distributor, so the process of getting the permission was longer; this means more work for us, but it is good for the Spanish industry because it means that more films are coming in from Spain. The three films that are nominated for the Oscar this year got distributed immediately. The US market is very difficult for all foreign movies. This year many of our movies already have a distributor.
BT: Are there any events besides the screening of the films that are happening during the period of time?
EC: During these series, we have one special screening on Friday morning for a movie called Entre Lobos (Among Walls) which is something that we have organized with the industry of education in Spain and they have an office at USC, they are bringing a students to see the movie because it is very much a student oriented movie that shows a lot of Spain. Also on Saturday morning we will have a directors round table with all of the actors and directors that are coming from Spain and all the guest; we are going to have a roundtable in USC and it is going to moderated by the people at USC.