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“Documentaries and autobiographies abound in debut works”

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Xavier García Puerto • Director, REC Tarragona International Film Festival


- We chatted to Xavier García Puerto, director of the REC Tarragona International Film Festival, a gathering that is very much open to impulse and the discovery of new offerings and talents

Xavier García Puerto  • Director, REC Tarragona International Film Festival
© Rafael López-Monné (Tarragona Turisme)

We sat down with Xavier García Puerto, director of the REC Tarragona International Film Festival, who broke down the details of the activities of a gathering that is very much open to collaboration, impulse and the discovery of new film offerings and talents. For the second year, the Catalan festival organised “Primer test”, a meeting point that welcomes projects at an advanced stage of development in search of expert advice.

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Cineuropa: In addition to its programme, which industry-orientated initiatives does REC organise?
Xavier García Puerto:
First of all, there is one that is more educational, informative and teaching-centred; it is open to the public, and expert guests explain their vision of the industry. In addition, last year we inaugurated “Primer test”, a work-in-progress event that shows projects which are already on the home stretch in terms of post-production, and others in development as well – these screen a teaser or a sequence. A small group of experts chats to the director or producer, and helps them to make the right decisions at an important moment. And third of all, the people in charge of those projects that do not get into the previous section have the chance to have a one-to-one meeting lasting around 20 minutes with those same experts.

Is there anything remarkable worth pointing out? What are your impressions of the current trends?
We are noticing that professionals are coming not just from Catalonia, but also from all over Spain: it’s a direct way for people from within the film circuit to explain how audiovisual industry platforms that are not so well known actually work. It’s not very common for a sales agent to spell out in detail what their role is and for them to discuss it with a programmer, for them to share their points of view and, sometimes, compare and contrast their approaches. “Primer test” is dedicated to auteurs who are getting to grips with their feature debut: we’ve noticed that the productions are still documentaries for the most part, and there has been a rise in pseudo-autobiographical storytelling: works of fiction are very often based on personal experiences, which are then transformed and translated into fiction.

How many projects did you select to take part in “Primer test” this year?
Around 40 were presented, and seven were selected: three that were in the final phase of post-production and four at an earlier stage. One fiction film stood out: it is looking for co-production with Germany, as it was shot in Berlin, and is a feature debut by the main actress in Las amigas de Ágata. Then there’s the Catalan production El festival de la mentira, shot in Brazil, and another documentary about a film critic who is going blind but who continues going to festivals, entitled En busca de Óscar. Our niche is very broad, ranging from experimental to multimedia titles. The projects are selected according to their quality and the assistance we can provide to them, which should be worthwhile and useful.

After a festival draws to a close, the preparations for the next edition begin. What would a filmmaker need to do to come along to REC 2016?
It’s a call for directors who are just starting out and who don’t know what to do with their completed film: here you are given advice on how to get into this life cycle, and they help you to start off on the circuit in the best way possible. In early summer, we’ll open the call for Spanish films, of course, and also those that are co-productions.

(Translated from Spanish)



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