69th edition. October 18-26, 2024

Alejandro Amenábar, Najwa Nimri and Luis San Narciso, Honorary Spikes of Seminci

During this year’s gala night dedicated to Spanish Cinema, the Valladolid Festival will pay a small tribute to director Pedro Olea on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the shooting of ‘The Ancines Woods’ and the 20th birthday of RNE’s radio show ‘El séptimo vicio’.

07/10/2019.- Filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar, actress Najwa Nimri and casting director Luis San Narciso will receive the Golden Honorary  Spikes  of the 64th Valladolid International Film Festival on 22 October in the course of  the Spanish Cinema Gala Night.

During the ceremony, the festival will also pay a small tribute to Spanish  filmmaker Pedro Olea, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the shooting of his film The Ancines Woods, which won the San Gregorio Prize during the 15 edition of the Valladolid Festival (then known as the  ‘Week of Religious Cinema’) one of the first awards in Olea’s extensive career. His success in Valladolid was critical in preventing the banning of a film that exposed a  ‘Dark Spain’ where religion and superstition were inextricably linked.

In addition, Seminci will be celebrating  the 20th anniversary of the Spanish public radio broadcaster’s El séptimo vicio (The Seventh Vice) with a public recognition of the show’s host and director Javier Tolentino. The programme became closely involved with the Valladolid Festival since it first aired in  October 30, 2009 during the celebration of the Film Week’s 54th edition.


Alejandro Amenábar © Bernardo Doral

Since his feature film directorial debut with Tesis (Thesis) (1996), Alejandro Amenábar (Santiago, Chile, 1972) has been acclaimed by both audiences and critics. Tesis was tagged  best film of the year in Spain by the country’s Film Academy, and had an extraordinary international  success including numerous awards at festivals around the world.

Only a year later, his second film, Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes) (1997), became a blockbuster in Spain and was released internationally. The film had an American remake retitled as  Vanilla Sky, directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Díaz.

Los otros (The Others) (2001) and Mar adentro The Sea Inside (2004) consolidated his figure internationally. Mar adentro, starring Javier Bardem, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and 60 international awards. Los otros, featuring Nicole Kidman in the lead role, was his first film shot in English. Selected by the Venice Film Festival, the film obtained great public success and excellent reviews by international critics.

In 2009 he directed Ágora, starring Rachel Weisz and selected by the Cannes Film Festival. It was the highest grossing film of the year in Spain, collecting more than 21 million euro and being watched by no fewer than 3.5 million viewers. In 2015 he released Regression, with Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson in the main parts. It grossed over 9 million euro at the box office, and was watched by one million viewers  in Spain.

His latest film, While at War, has just been theatrically released and is turning into a great audience success.


Nawja Nimri @ Virgili Jubero

Najwa Nimri is one of the best known and most prolific performers in   Spanish cinema. With a career spanning more than  twenty years and including as many film titles  to her credit, the Pamplona-born actress has worked with international filmmakers such as Ken Loach, Julio Médem, Alejandro Amenábar or Carlos Vermut. The television series ‘Vis a vis’ and ‘La casa de papel’, which won the applause of audience and critics, and her recording career make up a truly consolidated trajectory.

More than two decades have passed since in 1995, 1996 and 1997 she participated respectively in Jumping Into the Void,  Passages and Blinded, all three directed by Daniel Calparsoro. In 1998 she played one of the lead roles in Julio Medem’s Lovers of the Arctic Circle, which earned her a nomination for Best Actress in the Goya Awards.  She was again directed by the Basque filmmaker in ‘Sex and Lucía’ 2001. Between the two films she made forays into international cinema including her part in Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls (Julian Schnabel , 2001), and continued to perform in Spanish successful movies like Asphalt, again under Daniel Calparsoro, and Faust 5.0., by Àlex Ollé and Carlus Padrissa.

Her filmography also includes Stones (Ramón Salazar, 2002), Utopia (María Ripoll, 2003), The Method (Marcelo Pyñeiro, 2005), Oviedo Express (Gonzalo Suárez, 2007), which screened in the 52th edition of the Valladolid Festival, or Mataharis (Iciar Bollain, 2007) . Other titles to her credit are ‘Route Irish'(Ken Loach, 2010), Anything You Want (Achero Mañas, 2010), Room in Rome (Julio Médem, 2010), Verbo (Eduardo Chapero-Jackson , 2011), and 10 000 noches en ninguna parte (Ramón Salazar, 2013).

After her successful television jobs in  Vis a vis and La casa de papel, in 2018  she returned to the big screen with Julio Medem’s The Tree of Blood and Carlos Vermut’s Quién te cantará, for which she was nominated for a Goya Award.

Najwa Nimri’s artistic career  has also been closely linked to the world of music. In 1998 she signed her first song with Carlos Jean, with whom she formed the NajwaJean band. Together they co-authored several  singles, including the theme song for the public broadcaster’s classic film-talk show ‘Versión Española’ (a previous recipient of Seminci’s Honorary Spike), which she performed during last year’s Gala of Spanish Cinema here in Valladolid.


Luis San Narciso

His participation in 27 series and about thirty films, where he worked with Almodóvar, Amenábar or Querejeta, consolidated him as Spain’s  most important casting director. Luis San Narciso (Mieres, Asturias, 1959) studied Business and Drama. He debuted as an actor in the play  Petra Regalada, in which he shared the stage with Julia Gutiérrez Caba, Ismael Merlo or Jaime Blanch, and in the 80s he played a small part in Ana Diosdado’s Los ochenta son nuestros, before leaving for London.

On his return, San Narciso worked as an assistant director with the greatest figures of the Spanish stage,  like  Mary Carrillo or Irene Gutiérrez Caba, until his professional career veered towards the casting business. He worked for Globomedia, where he became responsible for selecting the cast of such landmark series as  Más que amigos, Periodistas, Compañeros, Policías, El grupo, Javier ya no vive solo, Siete vidas, Aída, Los Serrano, Un paso adelante, Los hombres de Paco, El internado, Águila rojaVis a vis, Estoy vivo, or La víctima número 8, among others.

His leap to the big screen was was espoused by film producer Elías Querejeta, who hired him as a casting director for By My Side Again  (Gracia Querejeta, 1999). This was followed by José Antonio Quirós’s Pídele cuentas al rey (the winner of an Audience Award in the 44th edition of Seminci), Mondays in the Sun (Javier León de Aranoa, 2002), Torremolinos 73 (Pablo Berger, 2003), Hours of Light (Manolo Matji, 2004), The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenábar, 2004), Captain Alatriste: The Spanish Musketeer (Agustín Díaz Yanes, 2006), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006), Seven Billiard Tables (Gracia Querejeta, 2007), The Blind Sunflowers (José Luis Cuerda , 2008), Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar, 2009), The skin I live in (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011), or Bomb Scared (Borja Cobeaga, 2017).

A member of the Spanish Film Academy and the first Spanish casting director to enter Hollywood’s  Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, San Narciso  has received such accolades as the  Sant Jordi Award, the Gijón Festival’s Nacho Martínez Award,  the  Talento Award granted by Spain’s TV Academy or the Málaga Festival’s Ricardo Franco Award.

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