Macu Machín depicts in Mujeres en la isla: las otras hijas del Mestre the role of ground-breaking female artists in the cultural history of the Canary Islands


➢ The film will be screened on Saturday 23 within the Canarias Cinema Feature Films section

➢ The filmmaker recovers the dynamism and interests of figures such as Marisa Padrón, Paquita Mesa, Lola Massieu or Lola Ojeda, and the relevance of the magazine ‘Mujeres en la isla’ during the dictatorship


Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Thursday 21 April 2022.- La hija del Mestre (Carlos Luis Monzón, Francisco González, 1928) is a small classic and a foundational piece in Canarian cinema: a costumbrist story in the sailor neighborhood of San Cristóbal that includes a matchmaker and portrays a father’s opposition to his daughter’s affair with a barber instead of with the fisherman he prefers. That Rosilla, a rebel played by actress María Luisa Padrón, inspired Macu Machín to start the process ended with the documentary feature Mujeres en la isla: las otras hijas del Mestre (Spain, 2022, 65 min.). This’ll be the second feature screening on the Canarias Cinema section, on Saturday 23 at Cinesa El Muelle.

Actually, Padrón’s character, as well as her role as actress and artist, are connected to Mujeres en la isla, a publication that began as a supplement of the Diario de Las Palmas in 1953 and that soon after became an independent magazine, with over a hundred issues published until 1964. It was a small miracle in those years of dictatorship, in which women and their impact as artists found an unlikely space within the cultural scene of the time and place, the Islands.

“In the short film Quemar las naves (2018) I already paid a bit of attention to that actress. An actress who was not lucky enough, just as it happened to her in the film,” explains the filmmaker Macu Machín, who is also the screenwriter and producer of Mujeres en la isla: las otras hijas del Mestre. “I was interested in her character’s archetype. And through the actress I could then delved into the figures of very interesting women from the beginning of the 20th century who were trying to find their ways in hard times, specially later, during the Franco regime. And I continued until I got to the magazine Mujeres en la isla.”

That was Machín’s creative journey, who admits that “I don’t avoid showing my point of view. I’m interested in a subjective look, and not that much on a documentary with an omniscient narration. Because I’m also a woman, and like all of them I’m trying to get my projects off the ground. I identify with them, aside from the obvious differences.

They are Paquita Mesa, Lola Massieu, Pino Ojeda… Women who have left their mark in the history of creativity and artistic expression in the Canary Islands. “There’s a phase with Paquita Mesa, the Sociedad de Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art Society], super ambitious stagings they prepared at the Pérez Galdós Theater… They were young people capable enough of staging Bodas de Sangre at that time, what says a lot about them, even though they didn’t manage to do it. Those are small feats by that sort of individuals who think they can change the world. And indeed they changed it,” says the director, who devoted herself passionately to a documentary piece that also fills a gap in the revision of the Archipelago’s cultural history.

“It is a film with archive material, made after the pandemic,” points out Machín, who wasn’t stopped at all by these circumstances. Rather the opposite. “During the confinement I decided on the production design of the film. It was a dream I had: working with found footage, archive material I’ve been able to examine. I’ve got quite a few pieces on that line lately. It fascinates me. Even with my own material, which I filmed for instance fifteen years ago, I feel that attraction.”

Actually, the film “was a post-pandemic project, but it was already there. It came up as a commission by Taller Lírico de Canarias, who had already contacted me for Quemar las naves. They were very pleased with it and they wanted me to keep delving into that. The confinement, in that sense, paved the way for me to prepare it.”

Macu Machín thought that “from the very beginning, it was going to be a feature of about fifty of sixty minutes. In the end it was sixty five.” The film “should have a certain development, because I wanted to depict several decades of changes, to talk about different characters, with different layers of social and historical nuances…”

The director also “was sure about wanting to do the editing myself, because it was, in this case, the creation and discovery process in itself. It was at the same level as the research and the writing. It is, on the whole, a pretty personal Project.” Besides, “there’s a very interesting musical job on behalf of Celia Rivero, I enjoyed a lot the process of sharing creation with her,” she stresses.

Machín emphasizes that “I really admire these women to whom I’ve tried to get close to. With all their strength and their limitations, they achieved plenty of things. Lola, for example, had no filter, didn’t keep quiet and was always moving forward according to what she believed in. She admits herself that maybe her career would’ve been different with another attitude. For me, Lola was always an inspiration. A force of nature.”

Macu Machín graduated in Audiovisual Communication and has studied cinema in Madrid and screenwriting at the EICTV (Cuba). She has done a master in Documentary cinema at the Universidad del Cine (Buenos Aires), too. She’s worked as screenwriter and documentary filmmaker in Barcelona, Argentina and the Canary Islands for production companies such as Mediapro. As a director, she’s made the short films Quemar las naves (2018), Los muertos (2018), El mar inmóvil (2017), Ernesta y Elena (2017) or El imperio de la luz (2016), which obtained the Richard Leacock Award at the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival.

These past few months she’s been filming her feature La hojarasca, which in its early stage received the MECAS ISLAND award at the 2018 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, the 2018 Programa de Aceleración de Proyectos cinematográficos Award and the IFIC Award of project counsel at the 2017 MiradasDoc Market.

“It’s easy for me to speak well about the Festival,” points out the filmmaker. “I lived for ten years in Buenos Aires, and when I came back, knowing nobody, I decided to make a small piece every year. Settling down here has been super important to me, bringing myself to make things from here and finding a net of friendships. Besides,” she continues, “the festival is an oasis for me. We say they are our romerias. Going to the screenings, to Mecas, taking in as much as possible… It is also the door to the cinema I like. From here, from such a far distance. It is lifesaving.”

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] and the program for the internationalization of Spanish culture, PICE Visitantes, of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).

Among the Festival’s collaborators we may find Cinesa El Muelle, El Muelle Shopping Center, Hotel Cristina by Tigotan, the Elder Museum of Science and Technology or Casa África, places which also function as seats or hold activities; as well as other institutions and companies such as Audiovisuales Canarias, Music Library & SFX or the 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 Audiovisual Cluster of the Canary Islands, CIMA Canarias, the Asociación Microclima Cineastas de Canarias [Association of Filmmakers of the Canary Islands ‘Microclima’] and Repeople are also collaborators of the Festival.

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