Jaime Chávarri will compete for the Golden Spike with “La Manzana de Oro”, his first feature-length film in 17 years

  • The Official Section of Seminci 2022 will include short films by León Siminiani, Pablo García Canga and the actress Marta Nieto, making her directorial debut, as well as the festival’s opening film No Mires a los Ojos.
  • Meeting Point will include the debut films of directors Estefanía Cortés and Avelina Prat, as well as seven titles that will compete in the section Spanish Short Film Night.
  • The Time of History section will premier new works by Iñaki Arteta and the Spanish-Argentinean Amparo Aguilar as well as short films by Miguel López Beraza and Esteve Riambau.

Seventeen years after the release of Camarón (2005), Jaime Chávarri makes his return to feature film directing with La Manzana de Oro. The film, which will compete for the Golden Spike at SEMINCI, the Valladolid International Film Festival, is an adaptation of the novel “Ávidas pretensiones” by Fernando Aramburu, and features a large cast headed by Sergi López, Marta Nieto, Adrián Lastra, Joaquín Climent, Paca Gabaldón, Vicky Peña, Elena Seijo, Roberto Enríquez and Ginés García Millán. La Manzana de Oro is a La Pirueta Films production, with the assistance of the Galician co-production team of Viva Zapata & Villar. It is funded by the Spanish Film Institute (ICAA) and the state-owned Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (RTVE), and supported by the Provincial Government of Ourense.

The film La Manzana de Oro by Chávarri, who was awarded the Spike of Honour at Seminci in 1999, is about the arrival of an unexpected guest who causes unrest at an annual Poetry Gathering which is held in an isolated convent in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula and brings together different trends in Spanish poetry. Over the course of a weekend of rapidly unfolding events, while the poets write, recite and keep a watchful eye on each other as they chase the Golden Apple award, a suspicion of plagiarism, the battle for a place in a future anthology, the irreverence of a rapper, the birthday of a centenarian poet, poisonous mushrooms, unforeseen sexual entanglements and the belated awakening of love culminate in a tempestuous night after the unsuspected triumph of a new female star of contemporary poetry.

Jaime Chávarri (Madrid, 1943) is a law graduate who, after two years at the Official Film School, made his debut behind the camera with Run, Blancanieves, Run (1967), although Los viajes escolares (1973), is considered his first commercial work. He worked with Elías Querejeta on El Desencanto (1976), a documentary about the family of the poet Leopoldo Paner, and the fiction films A un dios desconocido (1977) and Dedicatoria (1980), and with Alfredo Matas on adaptations of literary works by Llorenç Villalonga (Bearn o La sala de las muñecas ), Fernando Fernán Gómez (Las bicicletas son para el Verano) and Pablo Sorozábal (Tierno verano de lujurias y azoteas).

The author of around twenty films, Chávarri shot two musical-dramas starring Ángela Molina and Manuel Bandera: Las cosas del querer (1989) and its sequel Las cosas del querer 2ª parte (The Things Of Love, Part II, 1995). Besos para todos (2000), El año del diluvio (2004) and Camarón (2005) are his most recent films.

The cast of La Manzana de Oro includes Celso Bugallo, Isa Garrido, Loreto Fajardo, Abelo Valis, Rodrigo Soares, Álvaro Subiés, Carla Campra, Mela Casal, Kenia Mestre, Russo Nnandong, Lucía Veiga and David Perdomo.

La Manzana de Oro and the festival’s opening film No mires a los ojos will be the two Spanish feature films in competition in the Official Section of the 67th edition of SEMINCI. No mires a los ojos, the new feature film by the Navarrese screenwriter and director Félix Viscarret, is an adaptation of “Desde la sombra”, a novel by Juan José Millás, and stars Paco León, Leonor Watling, Álex Brendemühl and Juan Diego Botto.

Three short films by Spanish authors will also premiere in competition in the Official Section of the 67th edition of SEMINCI: Arquitectura emocional 1959, by León Siminiani; Por la pista vacía, by Pablo García Canga; and Son, which marks the actress Marta Nieto’s debut behind the camera.

León Siminiani, scriptwriter and director, has explored different formats and genres in eight short films and two feature-length documentaries which combine film diary and film essay approaches, including Mapa (2012) and Apuntes para una película de atracos (2018), both Goya nominees for Best Documentary.

For his part, Pablo García Canga, from Madrid, has directed several short and medium-length films, both fiction and documentary, which have won awards at the Alcine and Aguilar de Campoo film festivals and have been screened at others, including SEMINCI, Documenta Madrid, Palm Spring Shorts Festival and HollyShorts.

Finally, Son, a short film starring Patricia López Arnaiz (winner of the Goya Award for Best Actress) marks the directorial debut of Marta Nieto. Marta has appeared in a number of films including Antonio Banderas’s El camino de los ingleses (2006), Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s Madre (2019), Kike Maíllo’s Cosmética del enemigo (2021) and Juanjo Giménez’s Tres (2021).

Meeting Point

The Meeting Point section, a competitive parallel showcase of first and second films by new authors and cinematography rarely seen on our screens, will include in competition the debut films of directors Estefanía Cortés (Eden) and Avelina Prat (Vasil).

The title of the film Eden refers to a clandestine company to which four strangers, played by Charlotte Vega, Israel Elejalde, Marta Nieto and Ramón Barea, turn to take their own lives. With a degree in film directing from the Septima Ars School in Madrid, Estefanía Cortés has spent more than a decade behind the camera working in directing and scriptwriting departments for different production companies. She has also written and directed the award-winning short films Moiré, Yerbabuena and Miss Wamba, screened at festivals all over the world.

Vasil, the debut film by the Valencian director Avelina Prat, stars the Bulgarian actor Ivan Barnev, Karra Elejalde, Alexandra Jiménez, Susi Sánchez and the British actress Sue Flack. Vasil is a Bulgarian immigrant, a singular man with a different perspective on life who transmits kindness, passion and a peculiar wisdom as well as captivating his listeners with short but fascinating stories. The film is produced by Distinto Films and Activist 38.

In addition to the two feature films, the Meeting Point section will be holding a new edition of the Spanish Short Film Night, which this year will premiere seven short films: Cosas de niños, by Bernabé Rico; El perro de un torero, by Sandra Romero; Has estado, hace tiempo, by Gerard Oms; L’avenir, by Santiago Ráfales; Semillas, by Toni Bestard; Solo un ensayo, by Hugo Sanz, and Tormenta de verano, by Laura García Alonso.

Time of History

The Time of History section, dedicated to the documentary genre, will premiere another four Spanish titles: the feature films La tara, a co-production directed by the Spanish-Argentinean Amparo Aguilar, and Sin libertad, 20 años después, by Iñaki Arteta, as well as the short films Ponto final, by Miguel López Beraza, and Vidres de colours, by Esteve Riambau, which will be screened out of competition.

In La tara, Amparo Aguilar delves into her own family history. The Aguilar brothers, descendants of the once famous but now forgotten Cuarteto Aguilar, stumble across the soundtrack of Argentina’s only surrealist film, Tararira: la bohemia de hoy, filmed in 1936. Their interest in this film, a legendary part of the cinematic heritage of the nation, sees them uncover parts of the family’s past they were unaware of: fights between brothers, art and links with politics, and the remarkable defect of always being on the losing side.

Iñaki Arteta gets back in touch with the protagonists of his medium-length film Sin libertad (2001), in which some twenty Basques give their testimony as relatives of victims murdered or persecuted by ETA, the Basque separatist organization. In Sin libertad, 20 años después, he asks how these same people have assimilated this period of so many changes, from terrorism to the cessation of violence and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist network into politics. To do so, he chooses five young journalism students to conduct interviews with these witnesses.

Spanish participation in the 67th edition of SEMINCI will be completed with the titles screened in the competitive sections DOC. Spain, dedicated to the Spanish documentary genre, Shorts from Castilla y León, which focuses on new authors from the autonomous region, Spanish Cinema, with a selection of the most important films released in the last year, and Features from Castilla y León, which offers an overview of films made or shot in the region.

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