Chema Sarmiento receives the Espiga de Honor, “an award made up of grains and therefore can be shared”

The filmmaker from Leon asked for more support from the institutions for film projects in Castile and Leon

The Castilla y León Film and Audiovisual Gala awarded the filmmaker from León, Chema Sarmiento, author of films such as El filandón and Viene una chica, who received the applause and affection of the audience in a full house at the Teatro Zorrilla.

The director could not help but point out how “incredible” it is to have premiered “38 years ago here” and to be able to be back at the festival receiving this honour and bringing “the same film again”, El Filandón.

The filmmaker, who received the award from the vice-president of the Junta de Castilla y León, Juan García-Gallardo, looked back and recalled that “a few years ago, before the pandemic”, he suffered “meningitis” which “took him to hospital”. Once recovered, Sarmiento asked himself a question: “If my luck had been different, what would I have regretted not having done? He himself shared the answer: “The first thing would have been to restore El Filandón, and another to make the film I had always dreamed of making, which already has the name of La fábrica de sal.

Chema Sarmiento.

In his speech, the Berciano was not exempt from making demands and asked for more support from the authorities present in the theatre: “I dare to ask all the organisations to support those of us who want to make films in this region”, he demanded.

Finally, the award-winner praised the great value of the prize of the Valladolid competition with a nice exercise of imagination. “Let’s think now that we are not in Valladolid, but in Hollywood, and that this is an Oscar. What can we do with an Oscar if you put it on a shelf and it spoils everything you have in the room? “But this is an ear of corn and with an ear of corn you can do a lot of things because it’s made up of grains and you can share it,” he said.  

The filmmaker was accompanied by two important writers from León, Jose María Merino and Luis Mateo Díez, who gave the prologue to the prize-giving ceremony, narrating the experience that the filming of El Filandón was for them.

Luis Mateo Díez y José María Merino.

Mateo Díez recalled with nostalgia how “40 years ago, a Parisian boy got in touch with four writers from León to make a film of their stories”. In reality “he was not 100% Parisian, he had only studied there”. “This Parisian sent us a short film called “Los montes” and the four writers were dazzled by it”, he explained.  The writer explained how, in the process of creating the film, all the writers gave “a lot of freedom to write the scripts and to write whatever he wanted”, he explained, “and he made El Filandón“.

For his part, José María Merino recalled the moment when he read the script for the first time. “I discovered something curious. There were four different stories that had nothing to do with each other and also a poem that linked the four stories. Everything made up a story”, he explained.

After the presentation of the Espiga de Honor, the recently restored copy of the legendary film “El Filandón” was screened.

Film Factory Short Films

The seventh edition of the Castilla y León Gala at the Seminci was preceded by the Film Factory awards ceremony, which every year grants funding to the best short film projects in the region.

Film Factory Award 68th Seminci.

Ana Redondo, Councillor of Culture of the Valladolid City Council, was in charge of naming the winners of this 67th edition Tigres Tristes, by Lucía Lobato, (Enrique García-Vázquez, producer), and Caso Dativo, by Juan Rodríguez Briso.

In addition, the three winning short films of the previous competition were screened: Juan Carlos, by Enrique García-Vázquez; El novio de la muerte, by Juan Rodríguez-Briso, and Frágil, by Francisco Hervada.

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