Tito Rodríguez • Head of FICX Industry Days, Gijón International Film Festival
“It’s a bit of a collaborative effort”
- We interviewed Tito Rodríguez, head of FICX Industry days — the professional platform at the Gijón International Film Festival, now into its second year
In the run-up to the 56th Gijón International Film Festival (16–24 November), we asked Tito Rodríguez, head of FICX Industry Days, the festival’s professional platform, to take us through the key ideas behind this year’s programme.
Cineuropa: It seems like Spanish festivals are finally starting to offer a forum for industry professionals, as those in other countries have been doing for some years now. How did your experience of other festivals shape your approach to Gijón?
Tito Rodríguez: Yes, more and more festivals are doing this now, each in its own unique way. Having worked on other festivals, like the Holland Film Meeting or the IFFR (although not necessarily in charge of industry events), you end up forming an idea of the kind of structure that works — that balance of informational and training activities, spaces where people can exchange and debate ideas and platforms highlighting projects that are still in development and aiming to attract the attention of international professionals. Most of all, it’s about getting them noticed by programmers looking for films on track for completion in the following year or the one after that, generally for A-class festivals with a world premiere policy.
What does FICX Industry Days aim to accomplish?
In our first year, as a new management team and with the backing of the Asturias Film Commission, both our current director Alejandro Díaz Castaño and I agreed that we ought to put together a project of this kind, as a way of supporting Asturian film professionals — both in terms of providing information (like how to apply for support, how to pitch a project, etc.) and training (case studies, marketing seminars, and so on). The Industry Days also serve as a platform for showcasing new projects, from here and from elsewhere.
We want to continue increasing the number of works-in-progress we feature, expand their geographical range, put up cash prizes for the Push Play section and move from a curation model to a more open application process that attracts more submissions for us to consider. Perhaps we’ll see these improvements in 2019, thanks to the support of MEDIA - Europa Creativa, the ICAA and initiatives like the PICE programme, run by Acción Cultural Española, whose visitor grants have allowed us this year to welcome professionals including Eva Sangiorgi, Javier Porta Fouz, Charlotte Serrand, Diego Lerer, Susana Santos Rodrigues, Wim de Witte — and, for that matter, Magdalena Arau, Miriam Bale and Jukka-Pekka Laakso.
What new aspects have you introduced in this second edition of the platform?
We might call it a philosophy of collaboration. This year we have a new partner in the ECAM, with a new prize, Open ECAM Work-in-Progress (which sits alongside the existing DCP Deluxe Award), and a project run by Campus FICX, whose students will be visiting us. On another note, we wanted to strengthen our current relationships at the European level, and with that goal in mind we worked with the Torino Short Film Market to create a new framework called Be Short Now!, which is an open forum for activities that help create channels for learning and debate around the work that festivals do. The idea is to add in other events that can make a contribution, not only to this particular initiative, but more generally. We’re also working with the SGAE Foundation and with the screenwriters’ union ALMA — who are sponsoring the FICX Best Spanish Film Prize. Visual InLaw have also got involved in a project aimed at formulating an approach to intellectual property rights in cinema. It’s a bit of a collaborative effort.
Push Play, the section dedicated to works-in-progress, is a central part of FICX’s work. What criteria do you use to put it together?
We focus especially on films with a style that’s in keeping with the festival’s programming ethos — the kind of films that would be chosen for one of our sections. That allows us to tie in what we show during FICX with what the rest of the festival is offering. Last year, for example, we featured a work-in-progress that back then was called Malnascuts, directed by Gemma Blasco and produced by Nacho Casado (Tekila Movies). That film is now premiering in the Llendes section, under its final title, El Zoo [+see also:
film profile]. Similarly, In Memoriam (la derrota conviene olvidarla) [+see also:
film profile] by Marcos M. Merino has been selected this year for the Esbilla section, and that film also took part in Push Play last year. The idea is to extend the selection to Spanish co-productions, or at least European co-productions, and open up a call for submissions.
How do you evaluate the current landscape of the kind of Spanish cinema that FICX supports, beyond the scope of the major industry players?
Well, rather than distancing ourselves from the major players, our aim is to select films that reflect the auteurist and independent quality that we value. We pay particular attention to projects put forward by young filmmakers and female directors like Iratxe Fresneda, whose film Cold Lands [+see also:
film profile] is premiering at Gijón, or Maider Oleaga who will be presenting Stepping Into the Boundary [+see also:
film profile] in another premiere. Apart from that, for the last two years we’ve been fortunate in being able to select Asturian films for the main competitive sections of the festival, and this year also for the official selection (something that hasn’t happened in over 25 years), with Cantares de una revolución [+see also:
film profile] by Ramón Lluis Bande. In the international competition, Rellumes, this year we also have the European premiere of Entrialgo by Diego Llorente, following its world premiere at Indie Memphis. In any event, at Gijón there’s room for all different kinds of projects. The interesting part is getting a good balance, and remembering that, ultimately, as a festival we are a medium through which films can get seen, reach new audiences and attract the interest of distributors who will push for them to be shown in both commercial and alternative venues.
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