Creative freedom, diversity and films made from the edges continue to be the Official Section’s leitmotiv



 The Pérez Galdós Theater’s screens will show François Ozon, Lluís Miñarro or Rita Azevedo’s works, among nine other titles coming from Europe, Asia and, with a notable presence, Latin America

 Both the poster and the opening ceremony, which will be conducted by Cayetana Guillén Cuervo, will pay tribute to recently deceased Jonas Mekas, a leading figure in avant-garde cinema

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Wednesday, 13 March 2019. The Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival will start simultaneously next Friday, March 22nd, at the Pérez Galdós Theater, the Monopol Multiplex, the Elder Museum of Science and Technology, the Guiniguada Theater and the Gabinete Literario with all its sections, except for the Official one, which will begin on Monday, March 25th.

Thus, March 22nd will be the starting point for the Canarias Cinema competition, the screenings of the films included in Magic Lantern, Déjà vu, Panorama and Panorama Spain, the presentations and showings of the retrospectives devoted to David OReilly, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, as well as the Film and Philias, Carte Blanche to Días de Cine cycle. The first weekend of the festival will see, also, the beginning of the Market of Almost-Made Films’ third edition (MECAS), of the Monopol Music Festival’s sixth edition and of first Cima Canarias Sessions. The Official Section, the most representative of the festival’s programming, will go on from Monday 25th to Sunday 31st.

So, for yet another year, the awards will be announced progressively, giving first visibility to the Richard Leacock Awards of the Festival’s Canarian section, then to the MECAS and MECAS Island’s Prizes, and finally granting the Official Section ones in a closing ceremony that has been turned, for the first time, into a public reading of the awards, followed up by a cocktail with the participants on Saturday 30th at noon.

The Festival thus strengthens its commitment to a philosophy devoted to talent, to films born without commercial intent, away from conventionalisms and which turns this film festival into a celebration to live and enjoy in theaters, far from celebrities and red carpets.

The poster, once again created by national Comic winner Rayco Pulido, will arrive to the streets of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with a small tribute to one of the greatest, Jonas Mekas, a leading figure in avant-garde cinema that passed away at the end of last January. Both the opening ceremony, conducted by Cayetana Guillén Cuervo, and a special session of his work Walden (USA, 1968, 180 min.) will recover this key figure who, from his position as a filmmaker, stood up for freedom and limitless creativity in cinema.

The Festival also pays tribute within the special sessions to its 2009 Honorary Lady Harimaguada, Bruno Ganz, with the screening of a film jewel starring him: Win Wender’s masterpiece Wings of Desire (Germany, France, 1986, 128 min.).


Official Section

This commitment to restraint-less films which take stylistic risks and take over new languages is the one that determined the 12-title selection that will be competing for the 2019 Lady Harimaguada Awards. These works show the richness and diversity of international production and get the spectator closer to films that rise out of the commercial circuit.

Likewise, the Official Section leaves any territorial frontier out and keeps on exploring the drifts of European cinema with the Spanish-Mexican coproduction Love me not, by Lluís Miñarro, 2011 Honorary Lady Harimaguada; two French titles, François Ozon’s film Grâce à Dieu, which is coming straight from the Berlinale, and Patricia Mazuy’s Paul Sanchez est Revenu!. It also includes a work whose cinematography appears as a paradigm of cinema in all its rigor, the Portuguese film A portuguesa, by Rita Azevedo, selected by the Berlin and Mar del Plata festivals; a coproduction between Kazakhstan, Poland, Norway and the Netherlands, Ozen / The River, by Emir Baigazin; and the Czech, Slovenian, Croatian and Bosnian coproduction Šavovis / Stitches, by Miroslav Terzić, which was also shown at the last Berlinale.

The Festival recovers the essence of what back in the day called the newest USA, with the selection of the American film The Mountain, by Rick Alverson. At the same time, it tracks the thorough work that’s been developed in Latin America with films from Argentina, such as Rosendo Ruiz’s A casa propia; from Colombia, like Federico Atehortúa Arteaga’s Pirotecnia; and from Chile and Brazil, such as Karin Cuyul’s coproduction Historia de mi nombre.

Asian cinematography is represented by Lin Zi’s The Fragile House / Hai Shang Cheng Shi and a coproduction between Qatar and Lesotho, Mother I am Suffocating. This Is my last Film about you, by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese.

According to the members of the selection committee, the Official Section will have “debut features and authors with a great path, small productions and big budgets, stories narrated with found footage and careful mise-en-scenes”, without any sort of common link between them except that they are “stories built around characters in which their protagonists have a huge presence”.

Twelve are also the short films that will be shown in this edition. The selection made by the section’s coordinator, José Cabrera, includes twelve international titles that covering fifteen countries from four different continents. They are, according to what he points out in the catalogue, “self-explanatory films that do not need mediators. Films whose strength lies in their uniqueness, in visually coherent proposals and, particularly, in brilliant ideas.


Panorama and Panorama Spain

Once the titles from the Déjà Vu, Magic Lantern and Monopol Music Festival sections, as well as those from the cycles and retrospectives, had been unveiled, the Festival has announced the composition of the Panorama section, which invites the audience to experience some significant titles that have been in big festivals, “a compiling showcase for those more enriching and stimulating although still unpublished works in the commercial Spanish cinemas”. It is also a section that will allow us to enjoy once more the last works of filmmakers such as Bi Gan, winner of the 2017 Golden Lady Harimaguada, Olivier Assayas, Hong Sang Soo, Radu Jude, Claude Lanzman, Dominga Sotomayor and other regulars of the Festival.

Meanwhile, in Panorama Spain, a section devoted to risk-taking cinema, will show, according to the catalogue programmers Víctor Rosales and José Cabrera, “films which stamps firmly and has stood out in some of the most important international film festivals, from Berlin to Rotterdam, from Locarno to San Sebastian. But, above all, it brings the diversity and strength of the contemporary Spanish short film forward”.

Panorama Spain, in addition to the announced El método de los claros, José Manuel Mouriño’s documentary film about María Zambrano, includes other four feature-length films: Hamada, by Eloy Domínguez Serén, and winner of the 2018 MECAS Award; El zoo, emerging filmmaker Gemma Blasco’s debut film; Mudar la piel, by Ana Schulz and Cristóbal Fernández, winner of the 2017 MECAS Award; and Oscuro y lucientes, by Samuel Alarcón. It will also include seven short films, “most of them directed by women who define inner universes”, as Rosales and Cabrera point out.

Finally, The Freakiest Night will come back to the Pérez Galdós Theater the last Friday of the Festival, on March 29th, with a marathon of horror and fantastic cinema whose selection is up to writer and film critic Jesús Palacios.


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