The 23LPGCIFF looks at an increasingly virtual cinema through the experimental section “Bande à Part”


• The Festival’s most radical section will show three feature films and nine short films in competition, four of which will premiere in Spain as part of the film event

• Brazilian filmmaker Cao Guimaraes, winner of the 2007 Golden Lady Harimaguada, returns to the Festival with his latest film Amizade

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Thursday, April 11, 2024. “Bande à Part”, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival’s experimental section, arrives at this new edition of the film event with a line-up that has opted for short and medium-length films. A selection of pieces on the fringes of current contemporary mainstream that looks into the future of an increasingly virtual picture.

Antonio Weinrichter, programmer of the section, maintains that “experimental tradition has never worried about the length of its pieces, a requirement of theatrical exhibition.” That’s why the selection of works has leaned towards short and medium-length films with a ratio of 1 to 3 in favor of these pieces. “An alternative cinema that dwells on the essayistic endeavor and the processing of archive materials, as well as exercises in hallucinatory geography and anthropology,” according to the catalog.

Among the feature films that “Bande à Part” will bring to the screens of Cines Yelmo Las Arenas is Amizade (Friendship) (Cao Guimarães, Brazil, 2023, 85 min.), a work by the Brazilian filmmaker who won the 2007 Golden Lady Harimaguada. Now, seventeen years later, he returns to the Festival with a film that, with echoes reminiscent of Jonas Mekas, presents a mosaic of personal materials that evoke decades of friendship with his audiovisual colleagues. In this Spanish premiere, which arrives thanks to the LPGCIFF, the director and his regular cameraman embark on a long road trip from Belo Horizonte to Montevideo. The line between cinema and friendship is further blurred when the COVID pandemic makes physical meetings impossible. This leads the filmmaker to celebrate the moments he has spent with the people he has been around for decades

It will be followed by Center, Ring, Mall (Mateo Vega, Netherlands, Peru, 2023, 18 min.), a triptych that takes a walk through three large abandoned urban structures, built with an evident and ambitious desire for the future, but which show the passage of time…. and suggest the fate of most human utopias.

The most experimental competition will also screen The Human Surge 3 (Eduardo Williams, Argentina, Portugal, Netherlands, Taiwan, Brazil, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Peru, 2023, 121 min.). In this feature film, Eduardo Williams presentsa group of friends, true flâneurs of the digital age, who wander through a dark and humid world. He films them with a camera that covers 360º of sight, usually used to generate virtual reality – but here helps to generate a fluid concept of framing – which is not decided in the shooting but in editing. It is “a fascinating experience that can be fully described as immersive,” according to Weinrichter.

Another premiere coming to Spain is Exotic Words Drifted (Sandro Aguilar, Portugal, 2023, 15 min.), a found footage work that “obsessively watches and rewatches fragments of a marvelous old Hollywood melodrama until achieving a piece nearly as frenetic as the original,” as revealed by the section’s programmer.

French filmmaker Gala Hernández López proposes in For Here Am I Sitting in a Tin Can Far Above the World (Gala Hernández López, France, 2024, 19 min.) a science fiction documentary in which humanity hibernates while waiting for a sustainable future. This experimental short film narrates through double-screen a reality in which a severe crisis hits the crypto-currency market, and thousands of people, faced with the unfeasibility of the situation, decide to cryogenically freeze themselves in the hope that someday the right moment will come for them.

There are two more titles arriving to the Festival from France: The Film You Are About to See (Maxime Martinot, France, 2023, 11 min.) and Ardent Other (Alice Brygo, France, 2023, 16 min.). Beyond the humor, the short film The Film You Are About to See, composed of cinematic material of film history, alerts us about the very materiality of the technology that allows us to enjoy the cinema experience. Meanwhile, Ardent Other is an audiovisual piece that confronts the audience with a large group of people who stare in astonishment at a fire. All eyes are fixed on the same spot, especially when what burns is a symbol of France like Notre Dame.

The fourth edition of “Bande à Part” brings the work of an exiled Iranian filmmaker; Mast-del (Maryam Tafakory, UK, Iran, 2023, 17 min.). For the veteran member of the selection committee, Antonio Weinrichter, this is a poetic documentary about the female condition in Iranian cinema, “a love song about forbidden bodies and desires that begins with the evocation of a simple and innocent movie date.”

One title competing for the €5,000 award to its female director is Malqueridas (Tana Gilbert, Chile, Germany, 2023, 74 min.). In her debut feature film, Tana Gilbert compiles clandestine recordings made with their cell phones by inmates in a Chilean prison. It is a work of collective creation, then, that helps to draw attention to their condition and to outline a framework of sisterhood with their companions in misfortune.

Another Iranian filmmaker, Pegah Ahangarani, evokes in My Father (Pegah Ahangarani, Iran, Czech Republic, 2023, 19 min.) the figure of her father, who began as a devout follower of Khomeini and ended up removing his portrait from the wall of his house. The family chronicle is intertwined in this intimate evocation with the evolution of a regime that would turn out to be very different from the image she had as a child. This short film will be shown for the first time in Spain as part of the Festival.

In the hallucinatory geographies department is Quebrante (Janaina Wagner, Brazil, 2024, 23 min.), the fourth Spanish premiere to be screened within the most radical section of the film event. The Sao Paulo video artist takes us on a walk along the Transamazonian Highway, a pharaonic project that she presents almost like a phantasmagoria. As stated in the catalog, “our guide is a retired schoolteacher with a particular fondness for caves and ruins.” A woman whose courage, bravery and passion led her to enter these dark and deep spaces with only a candle and a lighter in her hands.

Finally, assembled from archive footage, The Veiled City (Natalie Cubides-Brady, UK, 2023, 13 min.) effortlessly achieves a striking effect of estrangement by depicting the Great Fog that ravaged London in 1952, a dense blanket that covered the entire city. In the context of climatic emergency, archive pictures of that time are transformed into letters sent from a post-apocalyptic future.

The Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, organized by the Culture area of the Gran-Canarian capital’s City Council through Promoción de la Ciudad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, has received public assistance by the ICAA [Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts], the program for the internationalization of Spanish culture, PICE Visitantes, of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), from the Consejería de Universidades, Ciencia e Innovación y Cultura del Gobierno de Canarias, as well as public support from Promotur Turismo Islas Canarias.

Among the Festival’s collaborators we may find Fundación Auditorio Teatro, Cines Yelmo, Las Arenas Shopping Center and Hotel Cristina by Tigotan, places which also function as venues or hold activities of the film event; as well as other institutions and companies such as Sagulpa, Hospitales San Roque, Jameson, Ikigai, Cientouno Group, el Centro de Cultura Audiovisual de Gran Canaria, Audiovisuales Canarias, Music Library &SFX, Blackout Films and International Bach Festival. Likewise, its market, MECAS, has been possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Gran Canaria Film Commission-Sociedad de Promoción Económica de Gran Canaria and the support of Canary Islands Film and Proexca.

The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Mid Atlantic University, the CIFP Felo Monzón Grau-Bassas, the Canary Islands Film Institute, the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas, Digital 104, the Audiovisual Cluster of the Canary Islands, CIMA Asociación de Mujeres Cineastas y de Medios Audiovisuales, the Cartagena International Film Festival, the Gijón International Film Festival, the Barcelona Independent Film Festival and Very Good Script are also collaborators.

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