2022 was an excellent year for Catalan cinema, especially with the global repercussions of Alcarràs, but important films such as Suro or La motherna were also released. The feeling is that in 2023 the quality line has been maintained with titles such as Creature, Els encantats, Sabem aquell or The Enduring Image, which has not been common in the recent history of Catalan cinema.
We maintain this level of attention and quality. There can't be an Os d'Or in Berlin every year like Alcarràs, nor can any film industry do that. But we have films that were shown at Cannes, such as “Creature,” and won in Malaga and Valladolid, such as “Enchanted” and “The Permanent Image.” They know that it had a very good commercial response. I think this year was also very strong for Catalan cinema and we were able to ensure continuity.
It was a big challenge, wasn't it?
Yes. There was a moment when titles like Pa Negre and Heroes coincided in 2010, which worked very well in theaters and at festivals, but that moment disappeared, and it had no continuity. It's very good to maintain a certain line of creative consistency as well as audience response.
Who recognizes this consistency? What is the role of politicians?
Cinema, audiovisual, and culture in general, should be above those who rule. At the moment we can have more than acceptable budgets and there are also very good grants. There is another relevant fact: unlike previous years, which was envisaged at the Gaudi Awards ceremony, many films produced here are spoken in Catalan. There are four nominees in the Catalan-language best film category, but in this year's edition there could have been eight.
Successes and awards at festivals are always very good, they help to internationalize cinematography and generate expectations, but the industry is based on more diverse production. How do you see this situation?
We have a lot of variety at the moment. Big, commercial films, and more auteur films. Truly rich cinematography should touch on all genres, including fiction, animation, documentaries…
Specifically, it looks to be a very good year for animated films.
This year we have four films nominated for this category, whereas in previous editions we were only able to nominate one or two films. Animation is growing a lot, and becoming more and more visual, this year with important productions such as Robot Dreams and Dispararon al pianista. All this is a product that is committed to audio-visual media and takes great care.
A recent report in the American magazine Variety weighs in very well on Catalan film and television series.
If its author, John Hopewell, was always very close to what was happening here, he understood how the Catalan audio-visual muscle was being taken care of. Our industry is getting stronger. It is important to stress that one of the reasons is that we are all working together, producers, filmmakers and institutions. There is a desire to bet on audiovisual.
One of the most notable aspects of the Catalan Film Academy's work is the creation of the Residencia de Guions, a laboratory to initiate the transfer of new projects coordinated by Carla Simon.
Yes, of the projects worked on last year, two have already been filmed and many of them are backed by companies. For the second edition, it was actually the producers who came directly to look for talent. It was initially organized with European funding from the Next Generation Foundation, but now it is organized in collaboration with Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Institute of Cultural Institutions.
The critical situation has been reversed. We've had a very interesting couple of years. What are the future prospects for 2024?
We have the new films of Pilar Palomero (Los destellos, with Patricia López Arnaiz and Alberto de la Torre) or Marcel Barrena (Els 47, with Eduard Fernández, Clara Segura and David Verdaguer) in the shooting stage. Carla Simone is also preparing a new project, although perhaps for 2025.
And you? Her last film as a director is 15 Hours, which is from 2021.
I'm preparing a new movie, but I can't say more about it. I haven't shot in Catalonia for a longer time, and now it's harder to find a crew because prices have gone up and, above all, because everyone has more work on films and series and it's harder to find directors of photography and editors. etc.
Finally, to close out a topic that may have been talked about a lot, why is The Snow Society competing in the Best European Film category?
To qualify for the Catalan or non-Catalan language films category, a film must have a 20% production from here, this is made quite clear. I'm very proud that JA Bayona made it to the Oscars, as it has so much Catalan talent in its cast.
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