THE INDUSTRY SECTION PROVED A “RESOUNDING SUCCESS,” BRINGING TOGETHER PROFESSIONALS FROM IBERO-AMERICA WITH PROMINENT FIGURES FROM THE SPANISH AUDIOVISUAL SECTOR
THE FIGURES SHOW OVER 8,000 PHYSICAL ATTENDEES AND MORE THAN 10,000 ONLINE VIEWERS FROM EUROPE, AMERICA, ASIA, AND OCEANIA
The 51st edition of the Huesca International Film Festival concludes with a “resounding success.” Both the audience and the industry have valued positively the contents of this event in Alto Aragón, as explained by Estela Rasal in her first year as director. The program, consisting of 63 events and 135 screenings, has attracted over 8,000 attendees and 10,000 online viewers. Among these figures, it is worth noting the attendance at the short film competition, which reached historical highs with audiences of nearly 200 people in the sessions at the Olimpia Theater.
The festival counted on the attendance of prominent figures such as Pablo Larraín, Aitana Sánchez Gijón, and Ventana Sur, who were all honored. It has also been marked by the master filmmaker from Huesca, Carlos Saura, whose essence was felt throughout the 9-day celebration. One of the significant novelties was the professional area, which offered a wide and diverse program that successfully combined the audiovisual potential of Spain and Aragon, represented by figures such as Valerie Delpierre, Nata Moreno, Gaizka Urresti, and Miguel Ángel Lamata, along with distinguished personalities like Lucrecia Cardoso and Ariel Direse, who came from the “Country of Honor”: Argentina.
“After more than 50 years of history, the festival faces an exciting future. This year, we have opened many lines of work that we will develop, and we are very happy with the response to all the activities carried out,” says Rasal, who has also confirmed that the next edition will take place from June 7th to 15th, 2024.
The Huesca International Film Festival makes a very positive assessment of its 51st edition. “This year, we have opened many lines of work routes to carry on developing , and we are very happy with the popular response to all the new activities proposals” emphasizes Estela Rasal, in her first year leading this event in Alto Aragón. Over 8,000 attendees have supported a program that has also featured a significant number of audiovisual industry professionals from Spain, Europe, and Latin America. Moreover, during the 9 days of the festival, there were nearly 200 guests, including over 70 short filmmakers who came to present their works, a figure that doubles that of previous editions. The online component represented a wide and impactful window to the world, with over 10,000 users who have enjoyed the films. People from a wide range of countries such as the United States, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, Uruguay, Sweden, and Germany have positioned this Huesca event on the international cultural map.
The most crowded events were the opening gala, where Carlos Saura was honored, and the presentation of the Luis Buñuel Award; both recorded full houses in the seating area of the Olimpia Theater. There was also a 50% increase in attendance at the competition sessions compared to 2022, almost reaching the historical record with over 200 spectators in some of them. The parallel activities have regained their prominence after the health restriction years. Clear examples of this popular enthusiasm were the return of “Children at the Festival,” bringing together 775 students from various schools in the capital, and “Gastrocine,” a proposal that sold out its 100 tickets to enjoy the fusion of cuisine and the seventh art.
The main novelty of this 2023 edition was the development of industry related activities, with the addition of meetings, masterclasses, workshops, and hub sessions to prompt professional connections. The result was “excellent,” in the words of Rasal, as “the short filmmakers and guests were enthusiastic about the atmosphere, the network of contacts that they made, and the synergies generated.” Valerie Delpierre, Nata Moreno, Gaizka Urresti, Miguel Ángel Lamata, Lucrecia Cardoso, Ariel Direse, Teresa Lavina, Lucas Castán, Silvia Anoro, Natalia Martínez, and María Zafra were just some of the participants in this field.
The Huesca cultural event generated nearly a thousand publications/broadcast on national and international radio, television, newspapers, and digital media. Countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Portugal, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States, and Peru have echoed the news from the festival. This impact is complemented by the nearly 200 interviews conducted with prominent guests of the edition, such as Pablo Larraín, Aitana Sánchez Gijón, Bernardo Bergeret (executive director of Ventana Sur), Valerie Delpierre, Nata Moreno, Gaizka Urresti, Miguel Ángel Lamata, Juanjo Artero, chef Luciano Nanni, and the representatives of the Argentine government, Lucrecia Cardoso and Ariel Direse.
With regards to social media, the growth of all profiles linked to the festival has been consolidated, surpassing 13,000 followers from around of the world. Throughout this edition, over 141,000 people have been reached, with over 46,000 views of the festival reels, a channel specially applauded by the younger audience for the last 2 years.
Last but not least, it is worth noting that a total of 2,228 short films from 92 countries were submitted with the hope of winning one of the three Danzante Awards. These awards, which qualify for the Oscars, ultimately went to Le Point de Reprise by Nicolas Panay, Raticida by João Niza Ribeiro, and Liturgy of Anti-tank Obstacles by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk.
IMPORTANT INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
The 51st edition has been marked by significant developments both internally and externally. After the appointment of Estela Rasal as the new director of the festival, the creation of a digital lab within the festival was announced. This not only created a new job position but also represented an evolution from the existing film department. With this investment in equipment and personnel in Huesca, the entire process, from the reception of selected short film materials to their conversion into DCP projection files, as well as ensuring appropriate quality and subtitles for screening in cinemas, will be carried out and controlled from the festival’s offices.
The “Country of Honor” was another novelty, with Argentina being the first featured country. This initiative aims to strengthen cultural ties with other territories and, on this occasion, led to the revival of a historic activity such as Gastrocine, featuring Argentine chef Luciano Nanni. Additionally, two travel grants were created for directors selected in one of the official competitions.
Furthermore, the “Youth Committee” has been established to gather ideas, proposals, and concerns from the future audience. This consultative body is composed of 5 to 9 members aged between 16 and 22.
The reinvestment of economic resources in the region has been another strategic decision of the management committee. Therefore, 95% of the budget remains in Aragon, with priority given to suppliers and professionals from the province of Huesca. This is a clear commitment to local talent, capacity, and professionalism, serving as a showcase and amplifier to promote investments related to guests or attending companies.