Spanish projections of 2022 in Malaga: a summary
On March 26, the 25th Malaga Festival and its Spanish screenings brought further confirmation of Spain’s construction as a fictional force in a new era of platforming.
This will be followed by nine final takes on what could turn out to be a historic edition.
Vibrant Spanish projections
Malaga’s 2022 plus-size Spanish projections have been pretty shaken up. Additional funding from Spain’s AVS Hub plan, covering many more buyer flights, has seen attendance skyrocket. The number of screening delegates climbed to 609 at the start of the week, with the total number of attendees at more than 1,100. It showed. “They were very successful,” Latido Films director Antonio Saura said of the event. “Buyers got to see films they often can’t see at other festivals,” he added. “There was a lot more momentum in the trade, taking screenings to a new level,” acknowledged Ivan Díaz, international manager of Filmax.
‘Lullaby’, ‘Utama’ Sweep Awards
Alauda Ruiz de Azúa’s finely observed mother-daughter relationship drama “Lullaby” and Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s “Utama,” shot on the awe-inspiring Bolivian Altiplano, swept the board at Saturday’s festival awards, as Latido revealed the first sales of “Lullaby” in China (Huanxi Media) and Scandinavia (Lucky Dogs), among the main territories.
Among the other titles, the potential highlights of the screenings were “Canallas”, the humble hug by Daniel Guzmán, sold by Film Factory, and two titles by Latido, “What Lucía Saw” by Imanol Uribe, a chilling thriller by witness to massacre, and “Unfinished” by Juan Miguel del Castillo. Business”, a crime thriller set in Cádiz and a critique of male violence. One film that performed particularly well for Filmax, Díaz said, was “I Can’t Live Without You,” Chus Gutiérrez’s erotically charged psychological thriller.
The platform effect
Other factors also explain the construction of Screenings. Three of the four most-watched non-English language films on Netflix are Spanish: “The Platform”, which Latido acquired at Malaga’s WIP 2019, “Through My Window” and “Below Zero”. “The platforms have done a good job of promoting Spanish films,” Saura said. Thanks to a new platform scene, some markets are now coming back to the table, Díaz noted, citing the case of Italy. “There are still a lot of risks in theatrical release in Italy. But new [Italian] VOD players have emerged, which means buyers have more options to sell on TV, making them more confident when buying. The platforms now represent the fastest growing market for Spanish films, as for films in general. The development of the VOD and digital market in each of the overseas territories appears to be a key issue in the months to come.
Other trending titles
A late-to-market screening, “La Voluntaria” by Bendita Film Sales, by Nely Reguera (“Maria (and Everyone)),” starring Carmen Machi as an emotionally needy aid worker, had many fans. Sold by Begin Again Films and headlining Olivia Baglivi (“Rosalinda”) and Milena Smit, star of Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers,” Luc Knowles’ directorial debut, “Libélulas” – a tale of friendship for youngsters set in a tough, desolate suburb of a big city – won both Best Actress in the big sidebar Zonacine, as well as the section’s Audience Award.
A return before “The Big Comeback”
For many, after the disappointment of the Berlin film market online, Spanish projections from Málaga marked the first significant market as COVID-19, at least in some countries, continues to decline. “For many participants, this was the first or one of the first trips during the pandemic,” Díaz said. “People had a lot to catch up on. It was like a return before, we hope, the big return to Cannes. Buoyed by the hopes of the French holiday, companies are already fine-tuning their preparations, two months in advance.
New trends energize Spanish cinema
With big companies and production players turning their attention to films, Movistar Plus, the pay-TV/SVOD arm of telecommunications giant Telefónica, presented its second original, “Canallas”, in Malaga. A new generation of filmmakers (often women) in Catalonia and now beyond – like the Basque Ruiz de Azúa – are now making films that are often intimately grounded in their immediate reality, exuding authenticity and studded with psychological detail. Both tendencies benefit Spain’s big festival presence, the strongest in years in Berlin in February, with eventual Golden Bear winner ‘Alcarrás’ and Isaki’s ‘One Year, One Night’ Lacuesta, supported by Bambu Producciones and Studiocanal, both screened in competition, and “Lullaby” playing in Panorama. After a strong presentation in Berlin, “there was a real curiosity to see what’s cooking in Spain,” Saura said.
A new era, symbolized by the AVS Spain Hub Plan
Spanish screenings of the Malaga Festival come just a year after the Spanish government announced in March 2021 that it would inject 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) into Spain’s audiovisual industries. New first results were seen in Malaga. “Spanish audiovisual sectors are on fire,” Luis Cueto, from Spain’s Commerce Ministry, told a roundtable in Malaga on Thursday. Barely a generation ago, Spanish cinema was viewed with suspicion in Spain’s august financial circles. No more. At the same panel, Arturo Azcorra of the Spanish Ministry of Telecommunications announced 30 million euros ($33 million) in new incentives, mainly for high-tech innovation, such as VFX prototypes, animation and AI production. Cueto presented an ambitious Spain AVS Hub website. Panellists took 100 minutes to delve into the newly expanded financial instruments planned for Spanish film and television. The country‘s state-owned ICO bank would be seen discounting pre-purchases not only from public broadcaster RTVE, but also from the country’s commercial networks and platforms.
Regulation: The Gamechanger
Broadly speaking, the AVS hub can go one of two ways, using enhanced funding to propel established industry initiatives to another level, or via regulation. The first was seen this week at Series Mania, where Spain’s ICEX presented a showcase of the Next from Spain series, along with a case study and a buyer’s breakfast. The magnitude of the ICEX gap was matched only by France and Finland. This last option was presented in Málaga when the Spanish Film Commission, the online producers’ body Profilm and the service sector association ALIA. called on the Spanish government to increase caps on tax breaks for international filming in Spain from €10 million ($11 million) to €30 million ($33 million) per title. This increase would ensure that more mega-shoots come to Spain, said SFC’s Carlos Rosado.
The weight of television in Malaga is growing
Malaga may not have had many more drama series this year. Their heft, however, means the festival is gaining more and more TV clout. One of the best new films in Malaga this year, for example, may have been ‘Rapa’, a six-part series marking Movistar Plus and prodco Portocabo’s follow-up to ‘Hierro’, the most-watched series in the platform in 2021. “I don’t really distinguish between cinema and television”, creator of “Hierro” and “Rapa” Pepe Coira said Variety. Oscillating between a cozy rural murder mystery and a much darker Latin noir, the series is superbly and ostensibly shot. The cast is led by Javier Cámara, star of Almodóvar’s Best Picture, “Talk to Her.” “Rapa” will be marketed by Beta Film at MipTV.