¡Hola! Focus on Spain at the 63rd KFF

Labs, hospitals, rock concerts, graffiti-covered murals, ocean depths, and dark stories of power abuse. “Focus on Spain” will let you see an entirely new, incredibly diverse, and almost completely unknown facets of this sunny, popular holiday destination.

Polish audience knows and loves spanish fiction films. However, we rarely reach for their documentaries, which reveal unique and lesser-known aspects of this incredibly diverse country. In the Focus on Spain program, we’ve tried to capture this diversity, hence alongside the latest work of master Carlos Saura, there is a powerful production about the torture of Basque women, a story about freediving athletes, a portrait of a rock musician, and an uplifting story of a strong woman determined to achieve her dream. – comments Barbara Orlicz-Szczypuła, Head of Programme Department at the Krakow Film Festival.

Gente

He is a rock musician with a very telling pseudonym, while she has an equally turbulent past behind her and a great belief that she will be able to correct the mistakes of her youth. Meet the heroes of two excellent documentary portraits. 

El Drogas, a vocalist, bassist, and founder of the group Barricada, who became a guru of a music genre called rock urbano. The artist portrayed Navarre, the small homeland of the legendary band, through cultural and political skirmishes: clashes with the police, musical rebellion, and the band’s involvement in social problems during the painful time of recovery from dictatorship.  The musician presents the fate of Barricada’s members against the backdrop of the turbulent 70s and 80s. El Drogas directed by Natxo Leuza is an excellent music documentary that explores the history of Spanish popular music icons.

Eva has specific goals: she wants to find a job, have friends and a partner, and be able to visit her sick mother more often. Above all, she wants to meet her son after years of being separated. Due to illness and drug addiction, she lost custody of the child. The First Woman by Miguel Eek is a touching film about hope and reconciliation. 

Apasionamiento

For some it is a dangerous hobby, for others a passion without which they cannot live. Divers risk their lives and health, while graffiti artists balance on the edge of the law to create unique street art.  

Master filmmaker Carlos Saura crowns his career with the documentary The Walls Can Talk. By interviewing famous artists, such as the sculptor and painter Miguel Barceló or the graffiti artist Musa71, he seeks answers to the question of the essence of art. Together, they reflect on the inspiration of ancient art in the work of contemporary artists, and leads a philosophical dialogue on the relationship between creator, material, and space. In the end, he poses a provocative question: how do modern murals in urban spaces actually differ from the paintings in the Altamira and Lascaux caves?

On the other hand, Air by Ricardo Íscar shows the world of freedivers. We follow the daily lives of Miguel Lozano and Tewfik Blaoui, masters of this rather niche extreme sport, who fiercely battle the limitations of their own bodies. We witness their intense training sessions, preparations for competitions, and subsequent attempts to break records in breath-hold diving. The camera also accompanies them in the depths, so we get to know the world of freedivers without censorship. Sometimes their exploits turn out to be tragic in their…

Borde

We leave the cities, the beaten paths, and even momentarily venture beyond the country’s borders. In Focus on Spain, we set off into the unknown, following the stories that fascinate local filmmakers.

The protagonist of Fauna directed by Pau Faus is a shepherd whom we meet in the pandemic reality. A laboratory where research is being conducted on a vaccine against COVID-19 is close to where he grazes his herd of goats and sheep. The farm animals, which arrive in large numbers at this scientific facility, are being experimented on. The sickly shepherd needs support in taking care of his flock. However, it turns out that shepherding is not an attractive occupation for the younger generation, focused on pursuing professional careers. The film shows the difficult coexistence of man and nature and raises the question of where a healthy relationship between the worlds of humans and animals begins and ends.

The creators of the documentary The Time After the Rain (dir. Júlia Girós, Pol Picas, Nina Solà) observe the life of Sahrawis living in the Boujdour camp without commentary and with due respect. They document the everyday life of several generations of the male part of the community: Mohamed’s blind grandfather nostalgically reminisces about his days living in the city; his two-year-old nephew treads uncertainly on a construction site, reminding Mohamed of his own childhood. He himself longs to return to Spain, while simultaneously unable to leave his family in need. The Time After the Rain is a poignant piece, imbued with a sense of encouragement and support. Living in extremely difficult conditions, its protagonists try to offer each other a bit of normality.

Lastly, an absolutely shocking Basque production, which was made thanks to crowdfunding. Its broadcast on Spanish public television made a large impact. Two Breaths by Jon Mikel Fernandez Elorza is a cinematic account of violence committed in velvet gloves against Basque women at the beginning of the 21st century. The creators of the documentary dared to show the tragic stories of women whose abusers were allowed to feel impunity. The testimonies of Iratxe Sorzabal intertwine with the memories of a mother, who feared for her daughter’s life for many years. 

Focus on Spain is partnered by AC/E Acción Cultural Española, Embassy of Spain, Cervantes Institute in Krakow.

FOCUS ON SPAIN:

  • The Time After the Rain, dir. Júlia Girós, Pol Picas, Nina Solà, 72’, Spain, 2021
  • El Drogas, dir. Natxo Leuza, 80’, Spain, 2022 
  • Fauna, dir. Pau Faus, 74’, Spain, 2023
  • The First Woman, dir. Miguel Eek, 70’, Spain, 2022
  • The Walls Can Talk, dir. Carlos Saura, 75’, Spain , 2022
  • Two Breaths, dir. Jon Mikel Fernandez Elorz, 58’, Spain,2022
  • Air, dir. Ricardo Íscar, 93’, Spain 2022

The festival program includes numerous other Spanish films, e.g., in the international DocFilmMusic and short film competitions, in the Short Matters! segment, or in Kids&Youth Fest. Spain will also be strongly represented during the KFF Industry events. The Polish film industry will have the opportunity to learn more about co-production opportunities, and to establish contacts with representatives of Spanish film business.
The detailed program of the Festival is available at www.krakowfilmfestival.pl.

The Krakow Film Festival is on the exclusive list of qualifying events for the Oscars® in the categories of short film (live action, animated, documentary) and documentary feature, as well as a recommending event for the European Film Awards in the same categories.

The Krakow Film Festival is organised with the financial support of the European Union as part of the “Creative Europe” program, the City of Kraków, the Polish Film Institute, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and the Lesser Poland Province. The co-organiser is the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the main organiser is the Krakow Film Foundation

The 63rd Krakow Film Festival will be held in Kraków’s cinemas from 28 May to 4 June and across Poland at the KFF VOD online streaming platform between 2 and 18 June.

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