After facing the challenges brought by the pandemic, the 22nd edition of the Pelicula Spanish Film Festival makes a triumphant return to physical cinema screens.
Dr. Javier Galván, Director of Instituto Cervantes, expressed pride in the festival’s enduring 22-year history, highlighting their unwavering commitment to hosting it without interruption.
“We didn’t stop either during the pandemic. We went online and saw that it was also a challenge and an opportunity,” Dr. Galvàn told BusinessMirror.
Pelicula has been an annual celebration of Spanish-language cinema.
This year’s film program has been carefully curated showcasing the latest and critically acclaimed films from Spain and Ibero-American countries, spanning various genres such as drama, comedy, horror, thriller, family, musicals, and animation.
From October 5 to 15, 2023, the festival is set to screen more than twenty movies at the Shangri-La Plaza’s Red Carpet Theatre in Mandaluyong while seven films will be screened online.
The online films will be available in Australia and Singapore as well.
Pelicula en verde
One notable highlight of this year’s program is “Pelicula en Verde,” an environmental initiative where a tree will be planted for each spectator of designated films.
“There’s no special factor or any special theme, we are aware of all importance and it’s not only a matter of one country, of one collectivity but is a matter of humanity,” Dr. Galvan told BusinessMirror the global importance of such efforts.
With environmental challenges intensifying worldwide, he believes that individuals and institutions must play a part in safeguarding nature and preventing further biodiversity loss.
Dr. Galvàn underlined that Instituto Cervantes’ mission goes beyond merely “promoting Spanish language and culture in Spanish.”
Through their upcoming environmental initiative in a certain upland area in Tanay, Rizal scheduled for November this year, they aspire to demonstrate the global significance of such endeavors.
He added, “We want the world to show that it is necessary to do this kind of thing, this kind of effort.”
Highlighting that the institution envisioned a future with a multitude of similar actions, setting an example of a potential path forward rather than just advocating for it.
These films whose themes are mainly about nature and environmental issues are Alcarràs (Carla Simón, 2023), As bestas (Rodrigo Sorogoyen, 2022), El Olivo ( Icíar Bollaín, 2016), Fonos ( Gabriela Badillo Sánchez 2021) and Tierra ( Julio Medem,1996).
The initiative is conducted in partnership with the Haribon Foundation and sponsored by Acciona, a prominent Spanish infrastructure company with its Asian headquarters in Manila.
This year’s program will also include a tribute to Carlos Saura, acclaimed Spanish filmmaker who died early this year at the age of 91.
“We wanted it to pay tribute to this very important figure (Carlos Saura) of the cinema in Spain and that there were some movies also involved,” stated Dr. Galvàn.
A special section will be dedicated to Carlos, which will include his films Embrujo, Goya en Burdeos and El Rey de todo el mundo.
The festival will also showcase films from Ibero-American countries like Chile, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico, including co-productions between Spain and Mexico.
Audience choice awards
Viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite films for the Audience Choice Awards, with the winning film screened on the last day of the Festival on October 15.
PELíCULA 2023 is a collaborative project of Instituto Cervantes and Shangri-La Plaza, with support from the Embassies of Spain in the Philippines, Australia, and Singapore, as well as other organizations such as AECID, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Filmoteca Española, and the Embassies of Colombia and Mexico, with participation from the Embassies of Chile and Argentina, and the Haribon Foundation.
The festival is sponsored by Vibal Foundation, Acciona, Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Arthaland, SSI Group, Inc., Barcino, La Latina, and Fundador.
All screenings are free on a first-come, first-served basis, and all movies are presented in Spanish (or their original language) with English subtitles.
For updates on the festival, please visit the official website (https://pelikula.org) or follow Instituto Cervantes de Manila on Facebook (www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/institutocervantesmanila/).