Three female directors at prestigious British film festival

The BFI London Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals of the United Kingdom which runs its 63th edition from 2 till 13 October 2019. Each year some directors are invited to be present at the screening of their film and introduce it to the general public as well as professionals. This time six Catalan films have been included in the program, three of which boast a female director.

In the section ‘Travel’ the public can watch La hija de un ladrón (A Thief’s Daughter) by Belén Funes described as ‘an emotionally powerful drama from debut filmmaker Belén Funes, [that] charts the trials and tribulations of a single mother with a singular sense of purpose.’ The mother is interpreted by Greta Fernàndez (who won the award of best actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival) and her volatile father by her real life father Eduard Fernàndez.

El viatge de la Marta (Staff Only), the second film made by Neus Ballús is shown in the ‘Debate’ section. The Imdb plot summary says: ‘A 17-year-old girl spends the Christmas holidays in Senegal with her brother and father. Tired of planned trips and the ceremonious actions of the hotel employees, as well as her father’s behavior, she opens the door to the staff area and discovers a world that, although previously undiscovered, allows her to develop close and complex relationships.’ Ballús’ debut film La plaga  was widely acclaimed and won more than 20 awards in international film festivals.

The short film Suc de síndria (Watermelon Juice), directed by Irene Moray, who will be at the festival, is screened in the section ‘Love’. It explores the current topic of intimacy and consensual physicality, ‘holding up a magnifying glass to every intimate moment from a misplaced hand to the power dynamics of a sexual situation to the re-contextualisation of a past narrative.’ Irene’s interrogation of this theme has had a lot of repercussion on various festivals and competitions.

So if you might be around during the festival, go and see these films by all means. If not, try and watch them at another moment and another place.

‘Watermelon Juice’ in the Berlinale

During the Internationale Filmfestspiele in Berlin photographer and film maker Irene Moray (Barcelona, 1992) has shown her second short film Suc de síndria (Watermelon Juice) taking part in its Shorts Competition. At the end of the festival the jury granted it a nomination for the European Film Awards 2019 which will be held on December 7 in the  German’s capital.

The film is an optimistic story about survival after sexual abuse, a problem that in Irene’s opinion is ‘scandalously common’ and not discussed enough. ‘These wounds are often represented as a trauma, but there are no models available that talk of healing’,  the director complains. Therefore she decided to make a film full of hope in which the main character rises above this impactful event through love.

In this film, produced by Distinto Films, Irene Moray tells the story of Bàrbara (Elena Martín) and Pol (Max Grosse) who meet during their holidays. In the middle of nature (like the reservoir of Baells, Berguedà) and surrounded by their friends, they find a quiet place in which they can savour their intimacy. With his help Bàrbara slowly cures old wounds inflicted during a period of sexual abuse. In this way she regains confidence and once more learns to enjoy her sexuality.

foto-3455601_1_630x630Irene explains that usually ‘we do not have models or references that talk of healing, but loving yourself, an emotional gesture, compassion, respect, all these things will enable you to survive. And if the other person reciprocates this feeling, he or she can stand by you in the proces’.

 

Rising star: Carla Simón, movie director

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Carla Simón, director of  ‘Summer 1993’. Photo: Mariona Batllés

Young film director Carla Simón (Barcelona, 1986) was completely overwhelmed by the unanimous critical acclaim, the public’s enthusiastic reactions and the many festival prizes for Summer 1993 (original title: Estiu 1993), her first long motion picture.

Hailed as one of the big revelations of the year, she was praised for her great respect for emotions, the way she featured landscape as the central figure and her coaching of the actors to show just enough to become unforgettable. The movie is about the experiences of six-year-old Frida (Laia Artigas) who, after her mother’s death, is sent to her uncle’s family to live with them in the countryside, where she finds it hard to forget her mother and adapt to her new life.

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Carla Simón directing Laia Artigas

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