Backed by strong public funds, a new generation of savvy filmmakers – many of them women – and world-class film schools, Catalonia has become one of the most dynamic regional audiovisual forces in Europe.

The proof can be found at this year Cannes film festival. More than 50 Catalan companies – some 100 executives and creatives – are expected. Five films, including four from new directors, were officially edited at Cannes; six projects play in the windows of the Marché du Film.

The three biggest Catalan films of the festival, “Creature” by Elena Martin, “Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell” by Pham Thiên An, both in the Directors’ Fortnight, and “Robot Dreams” by Pablo Berger, screened out of competition, also point to strong current trends across Catalan cinema today, including international co-production and a booming animation scene.

“Co-production is at the heart of the European film industry and has always had more advantages than disadvantages,” says Ariadna Dot of Vilaüt Films, producer of Elena Martin’s ‘Creature’, made with regional partnerships in Spain : here Lastor Media from Catalonia, Vilaüt in Barcelona, ​​Avalon in Madrid and Elástica Films in Valencia (the producers of “Alcarràs”, winner of the Berlin Golden Bear).

Among Vilaüt’s most recent films, however, ‘Alcarràs’ was co-produced with Italy, ‘Libertad’ with Belgium and ‘Mediterráneo’ with Greece. His next feature film, “Polvo serán” by Carlos Marqués-Marcet, shot later this year, is with Switzerland and Italy.

“The obvious benefits of co-production would be cost sharing and access to a wider audience,” says Dot, adding, “Co-production can help reduce production costs for the majority co-producer, which can result in films higher budget. , which usually results in higher quality movies because a bigger budget usually means more time.

As in 2022, the audiovisual funding allocated to the Catalan cultural industry agency ICEC will amount to just over 41 million euros ($45.5 million). This compares to €12.6 million ($14 million) in 2019. ICEC launched a minority co-production fund in 2020.

“Co-production gives the opportunity to work with different talents, teams and working styles and even if some things get lost in translation, it’s still very rewarding”, says Adrià Monés, CEO-producer of Fasten Films based in Barcelona. , minority co-producer of Pham Thiên An’s first feature, “Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell”, with JK Film from Vietnam, Potocol from Singapore and associate producer Deux Ligne Films from France.

Inside the yellow cocoon shell
Courtesy of Fasten Films

Fasten has “La Gang,” a co-production with the Dominican Republic, and “Cuatro amores,” with Belgium, in development.

Being a young woman in the film industry has its own challenges, says Marta Cruañas de Vilaüt, who holds a master’s degree in creative production from Columbia U. Working as a freelancer has also been a challenge in itself because, in Spain, you really need to have a production company to produce. This led me to partner with different production companies, which was an opportunity to meet new people and observe different work ethics,” she adds.

Women direct 17 of the 31 Catalan films selected this year by the Festival or the Market or receiving screenings from the market.

“‘Creature’ explores a 30-year-old woman’s relationship with her sexuality and how it has been built over the years in a seemingly progressive family,” says Martin.

“In recent years, many new directors have been women and have been present in international festivals, winning awards and receiving recognition,” Martín points out. She adds that it has indeed been encouraging for other aspiring female directors, although there is still much to be done.

“It’s true that it’s more and more common to see women behind the cameras; without going any further, our last three short films have been directed by women”, confirms Marc Guanyabens, whose company, Fractal Films, has partnered with Croatian company Antitalent for the coming-of-age short film “ The Real Truth About the Fight”, the world premiere of which will take place during Cannes Critics’ Week.

However, he cites data from Dones Visuals, the Catalan Assn. of Women Cinematographers and Audiovisual Media, which reports year-over-year progress for women producers, directors and crew members reaching parity, but it currently sits below 30% and is not budging. Animation is another area of ​​growth, as many Catalan companies are entering this sector. “Robot Dreams” is produced by Arcadia Motion Pictures, which is behind Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s “The Beasts.” Barcelona-based Mr. Miyagi Films released “Hannah and the Monsters” in late April and published “Dalia and the Red Book.” He will begin production later this year on “Juul” and will present “The Day Ewan McGregor Introduced Me To His Parents” in Annecy in June.

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A total of five feature films have been completed, including “Tender Metalheads” which, like “Robot Dreams”, will play at Contrechamp in Annecy in June, while three more are in production and five in development.

Three factors are driving the growth of animation, says Mr. Miyagi Films, co-founder David Matamoros: “ICEC’s commitment to support animation, both series and cinema, tax incentives and talents. Add the ICAA to this equation and the result is a handful of films, very different and distinctive, from auteur to commercial, that resonate beyond our borders.


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