The Nuevas Conversaciones de cine español demand education, diversity and independence
by Alfonso Rivera
- More than 100 people with links to the Spanish film industry gathered in Salamanca for three days to discuss its present and its future
61 years after the first “Conversaciones” launched by filmmakers such as Martín Patio, Carlos Saura, Javier Bardem and Luis García Berlanga, the second meeting was held from 3-5 March at the DA2 Centre of Modern Art in the city of Salamanca, organised by the SGAE Foundation in conjunction with Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), the Salamanca City Council and the Camilo José Cela University. Its aim was to stimulate a debate on the current state of the Spanish audiovisual industry from the point of view of its very creators.
Film funding, the relationship between cinema and Spanish society, unity in the audiovisual sector, the internationalisation and circulation of Spanish cinema, and the future of the audiovisual sector were some of the topics tackled at round-table discussions. Screenwriters such as Curro Royo and Diego San José, directors Isabel de Ocampo, Belén Macías, Antonio Hernández, José Luis Cuerda and Jorge Dorado, and producers Kiko Martínez, Piluca Baquero, Ana Amigo, José Nolla and Manuel Cristóbal were just some of the 100 or so participants.
Attendees at the Conversaciones asked the government for cinema to be made into a state responsibility, for state support for film to be as independent as possible (ie, without having to depend on television stations), and for the sheer diversity of formats and budgets in the industry to be prevented from fading away.
According to filmmaker Miguel Hermoso, who took part in three talks, “In this sector, we have gone too long without being coordinated, and this is becoming more necessary than ever before. Today, the Spanish film industry is in better health, with a great wealth of genres and styles, but it needs a revival in the eyes of Spanish society: let’s boost the contact that young people have with it, like they’re doing in France, where the seventh art is taught in schools.”
Inés París, institutional manager, audiovisual at the SGAE Foundation, concluded with a “call for unity in the sector, with the goal of creating bodies for dialogue to analyse and suggest solutions. We also have to collaborate on audiovisual literacy, so that new generations will know how to read and produce film languages. And although Spanish cinema is enjoying a wonderfully prosperous period, both artistically and technically speaking, the problem lies in the model for state funding, which could drive out diversity: namely, those movies with a budget of between €2 million and €4 million, which are the ones that actually build industry.”
(Translated from Spanish)