THE 51ST EDITION OF THE COMPETITION HAS PRESENTED WHAT REMAINS OF YOU BY GALA GRACIA, EL ÁRBOL Y EL RUISEÑOR BY MIGUEL ÁNGEL LAMATA, TERAPIA DE PAREJAS BY GAIZKA URRESTI, AND MANOLO KABEZABOLO BY J. ALBERTO ANDRÉS LACASTA
The 51st edition of the Huesca International Film Festival consolidates its position as a launching platform for new film projects. A total of four feature films presented their latest developments at this event in Alto Aragón. Filmmakers Gala Gracia, Miguel Ángel Lamata, Gaizka Urresti, and J. Alberto Andrés Lacasta have discussed their upcoming works, with themes such as grief and belonging to the land, the suicide of a gothic singer-songwriter, a scientific experiment on love, and the life of punk artist Manolo Kabezabolo What Remains of You, El Árbol y el Ruiseñor, Terapia de Parejas,and Manolo Kabezabolo have paraded through this international showcase with the collaboration of Aragón TV.
HUESCA-BORN DIRECTOR GALA GRACIA DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE TO FILM WHAT REMAINS OF YOU.
Gala Gracia presented her debut feature film alongside producers Carlo D’Ursi and Arturo Méndiz. The film is inspired by a personal experience that served as a form of therapy for the director when she lost her father while living abroad. Shot in the landscapes of Alta Ribagorza, the production follows Sara, who, unable to cope with her father’s sudden death, gives up her future as a jazz pianist to embrace her family’s past as an organic farmer.
What Remains of You features Laia Manzanares, Ángela Cervantes, Anna Tenta, and Ruy de Carvalho in the cast. It is a co-production between Spain, Italy, and Portugal, with over three years of work behind it. The movie delves into local themes that strike a chord with universal emotions such as grief, love for the land, traditions, and the process of letting go of loved ones.
Producer Carlo D’Ursi stated that, “this has been a journey of hard work and satisfaction, with a strong connection to Aragón and a film that has been made with respect for animals, nature, and reforestation.” He also mentioned that from the first time he read the script, he was deeply moved, and that emotion continues to be overwhelming. There is something that goes beyond the screen, and those who are familiar with this land will feel it much deeper. Meanwhile, Arturo Méndiz explained that he was really happy with this Aragonese production, as he has previously worked on other films from this region.
“RARELY HAVE I FELT SO EXCITED ABOUT A PROJECT”: MIGUEL ÁNGEL LAMATA
Film and theater director Miguel Ángel Lamata (Tensión Sexual no Resuelta, Nuestros Amantes) presented El Arbol y el Ruiseñor (The Tree and the Nightingale). “This is the first time we’re discussing the film in a forum. Rarely have I felt so excited about a project. It’s like taking a leap without a safety net. I feel as happy as a child with new shoes,” he stated.
Accompanied by producer Raúl García, he explained that his life has generally revolved around comedy. “I have a jester’s soul that I enjoy quite a lot. When I was a child, my father gave me a box of monsters, which was the most beautiful gift in the world for me. I soon started reading horror novels. I have always liked the genre, and this film is a romantic comedy with a mischievous touch of horror genre.” In the movie, a gothic singer-songwriter commits suicide in her lover’s garden; her spirit remains there and tries to become part of his family.
Producer Raúl García explained that it is a fiction feature film, the only one among the four presented today that has not been filmed yet and is currently seeking financing. The intention is to get the project ready for shooting between the last quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of next year. El Arbol y el Ruiseñor will be set in Aragón, mainly in Teruel, and Filmax will handle national and international distribution.
TERAPIA DE PAREJAS BY GAIZKA URRESTI, A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT ABOUT LOVE
With the aim of addressing the question “What is love?”, Gaizka Urresti, a two-time Goya Award winner for Abstenerse Agencias and Labordeta, Un Hombre sin más, presented Terapia de Parejas (Couples Therapy), a documentary feature film with a script by Elisa Múgica, a therapist, and her partner whom he met 30 years ago at the Huesca International Film Festival. Urresti was expecting to screen the finished film at this edition but couldn’t complete it, and now plans to release it in theaters on February 14, 2024.
Assuming that in the realm of science, love has always been a great mystery, the filmmaker, who has directed 16 short films with over 100 national and international awards, filmed the therapeutic sessions of five real couples for six months. These couples ranged from their 20s to their 60s, encompassing both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, who generously shared their intimate moments in front of the cameras. This is complemented by a narrative provided by singer-songwriters Rozalén and Marwan.
“A topic like love is universal and affects us all: those of us who are in a relationship and don’t want to lose it, those who have lost it and don’t know why, and those who want to have it,” he emphasized. He explained that the therapy the couples undergo in the film is based on an emotion-focused method that originated in Canada, and “it has allowed me to see how my partner works. It has been very exciting to see her work and witness the couples openly sharing their experiences.”
THE ETERNAL PUNK LIFE OF MANUEL MÉNDEZ LOZANO WILL REACH THE BIG SCREEN WITH MANOLO KABEZABOLO BY J. ALBERTO ANDRÉS LACASTA.
With the central idea of telling the story and life circumstances of Manuel Méndez Lozano (Zaragoza 1966), an authentic human being, disruptor, fighter, irreverent anarchist and constantly fighting against his mental health problems and drug addiction, director and producer J. Alberto Andrés Lacasta presented Manolo Kabezabolo, a film about this character who lives a “punk life” 24 hours a day.
The documentary traces the life of the Aragonese punk artist, an underground figure and the last link of 90s music, who managed to sell 36,000 copies of his first album in just one week. He also established connections with poets such as Leopoldo Panero and Juan Goytisolo, but whenever he approached great success, “he would step off the wagon and disband his band.”
For the filmmaker, Manolo Kabezabolo represents an environment that left a mark on a rebellious generation, not only from an artistic and cultural perspective but also from a social and political standpoint. Manolo Kabezabolo lives a “punk life” 24 hours a day, he doesn’t disguise himself, he doesn’t need to prove anything. He continues to uphold the axioms of punk from the ’60s. He is an irreverent anarchist who is still active. He is about to release a new album, embark on a new tour, and the documentary captures all of this, from the beginning of his musical career at the age of 12, his professional stint in the Army for five years, his time in a psychiatric institution, and his life,” he pointed out.