THE FILM EVENT WILL FEATURE 79 FILMS IN COMPETITION, COMPETING FOR THE DANZANTE AWARDS, WHICH QUALIFY FOR THE PRESELECTION OF THE OSCAR AWARDS
THE TRIBUTES OF THIS 2023 EDITION WILL BE DEDICATED TO VENTANA SUR (PEPE ESCRICHE AWARD), PABLO LARRAÍN (CARLOS SAURA CITY OF HUESCA AWARD), AND AITANA SÁNCHEZ GIJÓN (LUIS BUÑUEL AWARD).
THE PROGRAM INCLUDES SESSIONS DEDICATED TO ARAGONESE CINEMA, WOMEN IN THE AUDIOVISUAL INDUSTRY, INCLUSIVITY, AND A SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE SHORT FILMMAKERS THEMSELVES.
THE CULTURAL OFFERING IS COMPLEMENTED BY PARALLEL SECTIONS, PROJECT PRESENTATIONS, AUDIENCE ENCOUNTERS, AND VARIOUS ACTIVITIES THAT WILL BRING A NOTABLE NUMBER OF INDUSTRY PERSONALITIES TO THE CITY.
The 51st edition of the Huesca International Film Festival unveils an ambitious program in which short films, the attending audience, and the audiovisual industry take center stage. This event, one of the only six in Spain that qualify for the Oscars in this category (both fiction and documentary), presents a wide range of proposals that cater to all kinds of audiences, expanding this year’s offering of activities dedicated to audiovisual professionals. Between June 9th and 17th, the city of Huesca will welcome around fifty short filmmakers from all over the world who have come to Huesca to showcase their works in competition: 79 films competing for one of the three Danzante Awards, recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Goya Awards. Alongside the Official Section, which will be screened for free (at 5 PM and 7:30 PM at the Olimpia Theater), there will be other significant highlights such as the tributes dedicated to: Ventana Sur receiving the Pepe Escriche Award, Pablo Larraín who will be honored with the Carlos Saura City of Huesca Award, and Aitana Sánchez Gijón who will receive the Luis Buñuel Award.
One of the important novelties of this 2023 edition is the introduction of the “Country of Honor” distinction, which this year falls on Argentina. This entails the presence of important guests, meetings, screenings, and the return of “Gastrocine,” a fusion of cinema and gastronomy with the presence of Argentine chef Luciano Nanni, one of the pioneers of the “New Rosarina Gastronomy” and a representative of his nation in internationally relevant events. Nanni will offer a “showcooking” session alongside Iris Jordán from Alto Aragón (who represented the province with the best tapa at Madrid Fusión last year) in a special evening where diners can enjoy the finest products from both kitchens, while watching a carefully selected program of short films. The event will take place on Sunday, June 11th at 10 PM in the Espacio Altoaragón de Cabrero e Hijos.
The nighttime screenings will once again provide the audience with the opportunity to enjoy some of the best feature films recognized by the most prestigious international festivals on the big screen. The opening film on June 9th will be Spencer, the movie by Chilean director Pablo Larraín that competed for the Golden Lion in Venice and earned Kristen Stewart an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. On Saturday, it will be the turn of Empieza el Baile, a Spain-Argentina co-production directed by Marina Seresesky that won the Audience Award at the previous Málaga Film Festival. Aragonese cinema will take the spotlight on Monday, June 12th with a double premiere: Madreselva from the Goya Award winner Nata Moreno and Más allá de los Ojos Cerrados from Norberto López (¿Cuánto pesa su edificio, Sr. Foster?, El tiempo entre costuras, Mar de plástico) and Germán Roda (Marcelino, el mejor Payaso del Mundo, Fleta, Tenor, Mito).
The tribute gala honoring Aitana Sánchez Gijón will culminate with a screening of a short film session, featuring works such as Espinas, El Pozo, Volcánica, Disco Inferno, and Ruleta. This lesser-known facet directly connects the winner of the Platino and Feroz Awards with the essence of the Huesca event.
Feature films will return on Wednesday, focusing on short filmmakers, with the premiere of La Fortaleza before its release in commercial theaters. This ensemble film, directed by Chiqui Carabante, boasts a cast including Fernando Tejero, Goya Toledo, Vito Sanz, and Manolo Solo. Carabante previously received the Jinete Ibérico Award in Huesca in 2001.
Thursday, June 15th will be dedicated to women in the audiovisual industry, culminating with the screening of Els Encantats, the latest work by Elena Trapé and starring Goya Award winner Laia Costa. This film was honored at the Málaga Film Festival with the Silver Biznaga for Best Screenplay.
Wrapping up the series of programs that focus on and advocate for different aspects of modern society, Friday will feature Keiko’s Fight by Sho Miyake. This film, hailed as the best Japanese movie of the year by critics and awards in the country, will be screened thanks to the collaboration of CADIS. It delves into the story of a deaf female boxer fighting to prevent the closure of her club.
AN INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED JURY COMPRISING DISTINGUISHED PERSONALITIES, AWARD-WINNING PERFORMERS, AND SUCCESSFUL AUTHORS IN FILM AND TELEVISION
Once again, the jury panel showcases an exceptional diversity and illustrious track record. Esteemed experts will carefully assess the submissions and collaborate to determine the winners, whose names will be unveiled on Saturday, June 17th, and showcased at the Teatro Olimpia at 5:00 PM (admission is free). Evaluating the Ibero-American competition will be Ariel Direse, an Argentinean authority in cultural innovation serving as the National Director at the Ministry of the Nation of Argentina; Spanish actor Juanjo Artero, nominated for a Goya Award; and Claudia Costafreda (Cardo), a highly promising artist in the Spanish audiovisual industry and winner of the Huesca festival in 2017 as a director and screenwriter.
The international jury will include Finnish filmmaker Annu Suvanto, in charge of short films at the Helsinki Film Festival; María Botto, a Spanish actress of Argentine origin, who has been nominated for the Goya Award twice; and Juan Jesús García Galocha, the director behind the biggest international success in Spanish cinema this year, the animated film Momias.
Lastly, the documentary jury will feature Rubén Corral, the programming director of Zinebi; Teresa Lavina, an acclaimed Spanish filmmaker based in Ireland; and Agnese Làposi, a Swiss programmer.
EXPANSION OF THE PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENT
The professional environment was identified as a key area for development by the new management committee, and this premise lead to the final design of the lineup of this year’s edition.
The professional meetings, project presentations, training activities, sector meetings, and networking spaces demonstrate the increased focus on this area of this year’s festival. “Expanding the offerings for the industry was crucial; Huesca has an unquestionable reputation, and the festival has always generated a great deal of synergy among professionals. That’s why we wanted to give greater prominence to this aspect and create environments that enhance and facilitate these connections,” explains Estela Rasal, who is assuming the festival’s director role for the first time.
Wednesday 14th, will be entirely dedicated to this issue, with the programming focusing on filmmakers and industry professionals throughout the day. At 11:00 AM (Salón Azul del Casino, by registration), a masterclass will be conducted by producer Valérie Delpierre, one of the most influential figures in the new wave of Spanish cinema. Her work is behind some of the recent Spanish cinema’s major successes, such as Carla Simón’s Summer 1993, Pilar Palomero’s Las Niñas and La Maternal, and Estibaliz Urresola’s 20,000 Species of Bees. The day will conclude with a special gathering for industry professionals and short filmmakers (Salón Azul del Casino), featuring presentations and networking opportunities in a relaxed atmosphere that aims to become an annual flagship event.
The industry will have two other key moments, one with a national focus and the other highlighting Aragon. The first will take place on Thursday 15th, bringing together some of Spain’s most important women festival directors. On Friday 16th, the spotlight will shift to AraFilmFest, a recently created organization that brings together the most prominent festivals in the Aragon region.
This new 2023 edition’s focus has received support from Aragón Televisión and will be complemented on Friday16th (11:00 AM, in the Salón Azul), with the presentation of four feature film projects: Gaizka Urresti’s Terapia de Parejas (recently awarded a Goya for the documentary Labordeta, un hombre sin más), Miguel Ángel Lamata’s El Arbol y el Ruiseñor (known for Isi & Disi, Alto Voltaje, Nuestros Amantes, Los Futbolísimos), Gala Gracia’s Lo que Queda de ti (a promising filmmaker from Huesca known for El Color de la Sed, La Pared“), and José Alberto Andres Lacasta’s Manolo Kabezabolo (known for Ofra & Khalil).
Furthermore, the online platform will continue to give access to a significant part of the official program free of charge through the festival’s website. This provides an open window for directors and professionals who are unable to attend in person but still wish to closely follow the trends set by the festival in Huesca.
A PARALLEL PROGRAM FOR ALL AUDIENCES
The Huesca International Film Festival also unveils the rest of its program: a comprehensive proposal of parallel activities aimed at all types of audiences. This year, special emphasis has been placed on engaging young people without losing sight of other sectors of society.
The festival will kick off and close with two parties that will be a must-attend event in Huesca’s nightlife. On June 9th, the Edén venue will become a meeting point, while the closing party will take place at La Catalítica thanks to the support and promotion of the newly created Youth Committee. This latter space, already a reference in the festival organisation, will also host the traditional “cortolíticos”: four evenings of short films (Monday, June 12th, Tuesday, June 13th, Thursday, June 14th, and Friday, June 16th at 11:30 PM) programmed by the San Jorge University, Álex Rodrigo, the Pan y Rosas Association, and Zinentiendo, respectively.
As a novelty, two workshops have been added to the program during the first weekend (both in the Salón Azul, 11:00 AM). The first one, on Saturday, June 10th (co-organized with the San Jorge University and Artlab) and conducted by director and screenwriter Lucas Castán will be aimed at empowering participants to maximize the potential of accessible audiovisual tools, such as mobile phones and cameras. The second workshop will be held on Sunday, June 11th, conducted by Alberto Olivar and targeting the whole family. The challenge is to understand the essence of the seventh art through moving images, constructing optical toys, and watching fragments of some of Charles Chaplin’s most iconic films.
Other festival-related activities include “Mayores al Festival,” a film proposal adapted for the elderly from day centers and residences in the city; “Niños al festival,” which, due to its great success, will double its sessions at the Teatro Olimpia on Wednesday, June 14th; Moreover, “Vermú con…” will bring renowned figures of the film industry closer to the public, with daily sessions at Ultramarinos La Confianza at 1:00 PM, from Monday, June 12th, to Friday, June 18th. Guided tours will also be available, providing an opportunity to discover the city, its history, architectural treasures, as well as details and curiosities related to the seventh art.
In addition to all these proposals, two other venues will be added to the festival’s key cultural infrastructure: the Center for Art and Nature (CDAN) and the Aragon Planetarium. The CDAN will open its “darkroom” from June 6th, while the planetarium located in the Walqa Technological Park will host a spectacular full-dome session on Friday, June 16th.
The city is already immersed in a cinematic atmosphere with the recent inauguration of the “Goya, precursor of the Lumière brothers” exhibition. This remarkable showcase, curated by students from IES Montes Negros de Grañén, exhibits 70 artworks and 4 audiovisual pieces that exemplify the influence of Fuendetodos’ genius on numerous films. Additional attractions, including a shop window competition, the revival of “Huesca en corto” (taking place on Saturday, June 3rd, projecting films onto emblematic buildings throughout the city), and the Violet Evenings in collaboration with the Aragon Institute for Women (scheduled for Thursday, June 8th) featuring acclaimed Goya Award winner Luisa Gavasa, will surely build anticipation as we approach the 51st edition of the festival. Huesca will be, once again the “cinema city”.