The Malaga Film Festival presents the programme for its 24th edition

The event is once again committed to a friendly and safe format that gives priority to the cinematographic over the social event
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The Malaga Festival celebrates its 24th edition from the 3rd to the 13th of June as the great Spanish-language film event, in a format once again adapted to the circumstances and restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with a spectacular selection of honorees, with an Official Selection that reflects the current state of Spanish-language filmmaking, combining experience and young promises, and with a firm commitment to the usefulness for the Spanish and Ibero-American audiovisual industry.

The presentation of this year's edition took place at the Cervantes Theatre in Malaga. The event, presided over by the Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, was attended by Teófilo Ruiz, Government sub-delegate in Malaga; Alejandro Romero, Deputy Minister for Culture and Historical Heritage of the Andalusian Regional Government; Víctor González, Deputy for Culture of the Malaga Provincial Council; Noelia Losada, Councillor for Culture and Sports of Malaga City Council; Rosa Pérez, producer of Atresmedia Cine; Juan Ignacio Zafra, Territorial Director of CaixaBank Eastern Andalusia and Murcia; Juan Carlos Barroso, Territorial Manager in Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla of "la Caixa" Foundation; Sergio Ragel, Head of External Relations of Cervezas Victoria; Manuel Castillo, Director of Diario Sur; and Juan Antonio Vigar, Manager of Málaga Procultura and Director of the Malaga Film Festival, as well as representatives of various entities collaborating with the Festival. Jaime Acevedo, general manager of Starview Style, the Festival's new sponsor, was unable to attend. The Mayor thanked all the sponsors and collaborators for their important commitment and support to culture and the Festival.

Juan Antonio Vigar explained that, although the global health situation has improved in terms of the number of infections and people vaccinated, he still considers that it does not allow a return to the traditional model. The aim is to make the festival friendly and safe once again, in which "cinema" (exhibition) will prevail over the "social event", with the suppression of those activities that involve crowds of people without the possibility of respecting the due measures of social distance. This is the case of the traditional red carpet at the gates of the Cervantes Theatre, which will be transformed, as was the case in the last edition, into a large photocall for the media, without public access, which will take place in the gardens of the Gran Hotel Miramar, which the director of the Festival thanked for its collaboration. To this end, the Festival has designed a plan that includes an extensive list of hygienic-sanitary measures, ranging from general considerations to the correct operation in the use of common spaces and the regulations applicable to the management of audiences and guests.

Also in reference to this model, Vigar reminded the audience that for the Malaga Festival, presence is essential, "because it forms part of our identity, because we work to ensure that the audience returns to the cinemas and enjoys the ritual experience of cinema, because our festival is very much about encounters and relationships, from which future projects are spontaneously born; because our audience associates our festival with the celebration of Spanish cinema and this is necessarily born of presence".

Vigar explained that during the celebration of the last edition, which had to be postponed to August, the Festival decided to postpone the 2021 edition to June, instead of March, the month in which it is usually held. The aim was twofold: to wait for the global health situation to improve and, following the interruption of filming for several months, to ensure that a sufficient number of films would be available for selection. A decision that has proved to be the right one: "Delaying the festival has enabled us to achieve a high level of participation, a total of 2,321 audiovisuals from 70 countries, which demonstrates the festival's important international positioning, with a set of titles that respond perfectly to the snapshot of Spanish cinema in recent months".

Vigar pointed out that, out of the 2,321 films registered, 715 have been directed by women, which means 30.8% of the total; while, of those selected, the number amounts to 65, 36% of the total, surpassing the average number of registered films directed by women by almost 5%. She added that 77 films were produced by women, 42.5% of those selected.

As for the breakdown of these figures, we have:

  • 312 fiction feature films registered (125 purely Spanish or co-productions and 187 Latin American), of which 31 have been selected (23 in the Official Section and 8 in ZonaZine).
  • 913 fiction and animation short films registered, of which 53 have been selected (34 in the Official Section and 19 in Malaga Short Films).
  • 748 documentaries registered, of which 45 have been selected. 
  • 287 registered in Asserting Women's Rights, of which 16 have been selected.
Balance in content

According to Juan Antonio Vigar, with these participation figures, the festival has managed to ensure that the Official Selection "maintains the Festival model we have been committed to for years, the one we consider necessary for the interests and adequate promotion of Spanish cinema, combining the commercial with the auteur, the more industrially produced films with others of more vocational and alternative production, names with an already recognised career with younger directors, with a different, more contemporary outlook. The discovery of new talent has been a hallmark of our Festival in recent years, of which we are very proud".

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The musical film 'El cover', the debut behind the camera of actor Secun de la Rosa, will open the Festival, which will offer 23 feature films in the Official Selection, 15 Spanish -four of them out of competition- and eight Latin American. In addition to 'El cover', the festival will be programming another six debut films. 'Chavalas', by Carol Rodríguez Colás; 'Hombre muerto no sabe vivir', by the Malaga filmmaker Ezekiel Montes; 'Ama', by Julia de Paz; 'Con quién viajas', by Hugo Martín Cuervo; 'La casa del caracol', by Macarena Astorga; 'Destello bravío', by Ainhoa Rodríguez; and 'Las consecuencias', by Claudia Pinto.

The Spanish participation in the competition will be completed with new works by veteran Spanish filmmakers: 'El vientre del mar', by Agustí Villaronga; 'El sustituto', by Óscar Aibar, and 'Live is Life', by Dani de la Torre.

With regard to the participation of Latin American films, the Malaga Film Festival has selected 'Las mejores familias', by Javier Fuentes León (Peru / Colombia); 'Amalgama', by Carlos Cuarón (Mexico); '15 horas', by the Spanish Judith Colell (Dominican Republic / Spain); How Queens Die', by Lucas Turturro (Argentina); 'Karnawal', by Juan Pablo Félix (Argentina / Bolivia / Brazil / Chile / France / Mexico / Norway); 'Mulher océano', by Djin Sganzerla (Brazil); 'Años luz', by Joaquín Mauad (Uruguay), and 'La ciudad de las fieras', by Henry Rincón (Colombia, Ecuador).

The Official Selection of the 24th Malaga Film Festival will be completed with another four Spanish comedies out of competition: 'Historias lamentables', by Javier Fesser; 'Operación Camarón', by Carlos Therón; 'Sevillanas de Brooklyn', by Vicente Villanueva, and 'García y García', by Ana Murugarren, the film chosen to close the film festival.

For its part, the Málaga Premiere section will host the premieres of four series. "Nowadays, when boundaries between formats are increasingly blurred, we have to open up our Festival to the concept of the ''audiovisual'', in which TV series play an important role", said Vigar. These four series are 'Maricón perdido', directed by Alejandro Marín for TNT; 'Ana Tramel. El juego', by Salvador García and Gracia Querejeta for TVE; 'Paraíso', by Fernando González Molina, for Movistar +; and 'Lucía en la telaraña', by Tomás Ocaña for TVE.

In addition, there will be Zonazine, a commitment to new cinema that is now in its 19th year, with eight films with a strong authorial sense and very new narratives. There are four Spanish films ('Juana la Lorca', by Valeriano López; 'Dos', by Mar Targarona; 'Soledades', by Alexis Delgado Búrdalo, and 'Lucas', by Alex Montoya) and four Latin American films ('Leading Ladies', by Ruth Caudeli; 'Los hermosos vencidos', by Guillermo Magariños; 'Samichay, en busca de la felicidad', by Mauricio Franco, and 'Las motitos', by Inés Barrionuevo and Gabriela Vidal). And the Documentary and Short Film sections, whose extensive programme can be consulted on the Festival's website. 

Juan Antonio Vigar also highlighted a strategic project for the Festival, MAFIZ (Malaga Festival Industry Zone), made up of events that promote the financing, co-production, distribution and sale of Spanish-language cinema, all based on the support and promotion of new Ibero-American audiovisual talent as a cross-cutting objective for this broad industrial area. On this occasion, two of these events, Málaga Work in Progress and MAFF (Málaga Festival Fund Coproduction Event), which focuses on international funds that provide financing for Latin American cinema, are already being held online. The director recalled that from October 20-23, Spanish Film Screenings-Málaga de Cine, the only official market dedicated to the international sale of Spanish cinema, will be held in person, health permitting, along with Hack MAFIZ Málaga, a new event dedicated to emerging talent on new platforms and social networks. All of these events are designed to build bridges between the industry and talent, between Spain and Latin America.

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As for the gastronomic section of the Festival, under the title Cinema Cocina ("Cinema Kitchen"), and in collaboration with the team of Lumen, Producciones Gastronómicas, the 2nd Cinema Cocina Documentary Competition will take place, the aim of which is to highlight the value of the interesting gastronomic-themed audiovisuals being produced today. In this section, unpublished feature and short documentaries from Spain and Latin America will take part. For this second edition we have nine Spanish works, as well as others from Peru, Panama, Colombia and Mexico. A total of 15 documentaries (three of them out of competition) are competing for the silver biznagas of this section, which will also include the usual round tables and the Gala Dinner at the Miramar Hotel.

Galas, tributes and jury

The opening ceremony will be presented by the actresses Silvia Abril and Toni Acosta, while the closing ceremony will be hosted by the popular actor, director and producer Santiago Segura.

As for the tributes, the already announced Malaga Award - Diario Sur, for the director Alejandro Amenábar; the Retrospective Award - Malaga Today, for the filmmaker Mariano Barroso; the Malaga Talent Award - La Opinión de Málaga, for Oliver Laxe and the Ricardo Franco-Academia de Cine Award, dedicated to the professions of filmmaking, for the film editor Julia Juaniz, are joined by the Biznaga Ciudad del Paraíso, for the indispensable of Spanish cinema, which will be presented to the actress Petra Martínez, and the Biznaga of Honour for the director Javier Fesser.

The Golden Film of the 24th Malaga Film Festival will be 'Esa pareja feliz', a 1951 classic by Luis García Berlanga and Juan Antonio Bardem.

The Malaga Cinema Gala, which brings together Malaga's audiovisual sector every year, will also be held once again.

The jury of the Official Competition Section will be made up of the actress and vice-president of the Film Academy, Nora Navas; the director and winner of a Golden Biznaga at the Festival with 'Callback', Carles Torras; the scriptwriter Rafael Cobos; the producer and winner of two Golden Biznagas at the Festival with 'Verano 1993' and 'Las niñas', Valérie Delpierre, and the journalist and communicator Elena Sánchez.


For its part, the exhibition in Calle Larios, entitled Cine de cerca, will be dedicated this year to portraits of Spanish cinema taken by Ana Belén Fernández, photographer at the Malaga Festival.

The Festival will conclude on Sunday 13th with the traditional film marathon at the Albéniz Cinema with the winning films and a closing concert by Rodrigo Cuevas at the Cervantes Theatre (19.00), where this unique artist will present his latest work, Trópico de Covadonga.

Where to follow the 24th Malaga Film Festival

This year's edition can be followed on numerous channels, with the aim of reaching as many people as possible in all formats and on all screens: 

  • On the Malaga Film Festival website.
  • On the Malaga Film Festival's social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube).
  • In the dFestival newspaper, which this year will once again be distributed on paper and will also continue in its digital version.
  • The WebTV, with its own content and live broadcasts of press conferences, meetings, photocalls, galas, etc. .... and which launches a new OTT platform with an attractive and dynamic design, which places the Festival at the forefront of streaming audiovisual content. 
  • An intuitive and educational app (free on iOs and Android) that lets you always know what you can see at the Festival, where and how, and allows you to create your own agenda. 

All tickets, including the opening and closing galas, will go on sale simultaneously on Tuesday 25 at 9.00 a.m. at the box office and online in order to promote virtual sales, due to the security measures imposed by the coronavirus. Tickets can be purchased through the Festivall website, where the programme can already be consulted, and at At the box office, tickets will be on sale at the Cervantes Theatre, Echegaray Theatre and Albéniz Cinema, at their usual times, which can be consulted on their respective websites.

Due to the economic circumstances caused by the coronavirus, the Malaga Film Festival continues with its policy of price containment, reducing prices by 50%. In the case of the film marathon on Sunday 30th at the Albéniz Cinema, the two-for-one ticket format will be applied to encourage attendance by unemployed people.

Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanism advisor.