Musical, immigration drama and missing skull are highlights of the Spanish Film Festival


A musical about a struggling musician, a drama about the harsh realities of immigration and a detective-style documentary about the missing skull of a Spanish painter are just a few stories included in this year’s PELÍCULA Spanish film festival, which will stand online for one second. year.

The online film festival will take place from October 1 to 10 at

Presented by the Instituto Cervantes branches in Manila and Sydney and by the Spanish embassies in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia, PELÍCULA will broadcast 16 feature films and four short films initially released between 2018 and 2021.

“In these difficult times and in our fight against COVID-19, we believe that culture and cinema are an important tool against isolation. And sometimes the alienation, which pandemics have brought to many of us. Films and visual arts are indeed a good refuge in these difficult times and PELÍCULA is the perfect festival to share this kind of content, ”Spain’s Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sanchez told a press conference online September 13.

The film festival will open on October 1 with The blanket (The blanket), a musical and the directorial debut of actor Secun de la Rosa who follows Dani, a young musician who struggles to pursue his passion because he fears failure.

Among the other films that will be screened during the festival: Gracia Querejetathe invisible (The invisible), who follows three friends who uncover secrets about each other on their daily morning walks; Guillermo Rojas‘Una vez more (Once again), who follows Abril who returns to Seville for his grandmother’s funeral and finds a former lover; that of Ruiz Barrachina Sadness follows a filmmaker who is criticized for making a controversial film.

Also on display will be the works of Judith Colell 15 hours (15 hours), who follows a famous couple of musicians whose marriage collapses; David Perez Sañudo Donkey, about a railway security guard who searches for his teenage daughter after she goes missing; and that of David Trueba A este lado del mundo (On this side of the world), about a licensed engineer taking a job out of town.

The documentaries presented are Oscuro y Lucientes (international title: Goya’s skull), directed by Samuel Alarcón (2018), on the burial and the missing skull of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, and Antonio Machado. Los días azules (Antonio Machado. Blue days), directed by Laura Hojman (2020), which examines the memory and works of the Spanish poet.

Films from the four participating countries will also be screened: Arvin Belarmin’s film Tarang (Pedal of life) from the Philippines; Genevieve Clay-Smith and Rawley Reynolds’ Groundhog night from Australia; Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke’s Aninsri Daeng from Thailand; and that of Javier Marco At the Cara (Face to face) from Spain.

PELÍCULA will also present Latin American films including the Mexican documentary Observe las aves (Bird watching), directed by Andrea Martínez Crowther; and Lina de Lima (Lina de Lima), a feature film directed by María Paz González and co-produced by Chile, Argentina and Peru.

All films are in Spanish with English subtitles. Films are available for screening free of charge within 48 hours of their scheduled release.

As in previous editions of the film festival, viewers can vote for their favorite films for the festival’s Audience Choice Awards. Created in 2004, the award goes to the film that viewers voted best of the festival. For online editing, viewers can rate movies right after watching them. The top rated film will receive the Audience Award this year and will be screened again on October 10 at 6 p.m. on the website.

A selection of previous PELíCULA Audience Choice winners will also be screened as part of the 20th edition of the online film festival.e editing. The films are by Nacho G. Velilla Fuera de carta (Chef’s Special) from 2008; that of Juan José Campanella El secreto de sus ojos (The secret in their eyes) from 2009; Icíar Bollain’s También la lluvia (Even the rain) from 2010; by Sebastián Borensztein A chino cuento (Chinese take out) of (2011); and that of Javier Fesser Campeones (Champions) from 2018.

In addition to the film screenings, the festival will organize free webinars and online discussions with the directors of the films presented at the festival.

A roundtable on October 4 will cover the possibility of co-production of Asian films in Europe and Spanish films in Asia, in which various producers and experts from Spain, Thailand and the Philippines will participate.

Meanwhile, the webinar scheduled for October 7, titled “In corto: Short Films in the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and Spain ”will feature four recent short films from each of the four countries, and a discussion with the respective directors of the films.

Besides a cultural exchange through films, the filmfest aims to inform filmmakers about international distribution.

“In terms of systems, we all know that Spain, like other European countries, has already matured its system when it comes to making films, not only in creation but also in distribution and broadcast. content, ”said Mary Liza Bautista Diño. -Seguerra, President and CEO of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

“This is something that we are really working on right now as a sector so that we can keep up with this change in this changing landscape, and to be ready for our local industry to be better equipped with the tools to be more competitive at globally, and working with international producers, ”she added.

As part of the festival, the Department of European Languages ​​at the University of the Philippines Diliman is organizing a Spanish Film Critics Competition, which will be open to students of Spanish in the Philippines. For more information on the competition, visit

For screening times and other details, visit, or the Instituto Cervantes Facebook page at – Michelle Anne P. Soliman


About Monty S. Maynard

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