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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Spain

Huelva, Málaga and Seville join forces for Profestivales21

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- The three most important festivals in Andalusia have signed a cooperation agreement to create an umbrella organisation that will pool efforts and objectives

Huelva, Málaga and Seville join forces for Profestivales21

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, in light of its impact on the organisation of events involving the general public, the directors of the Huelva Ibero-American Film Festival (Manuel H Martín), the Málaga Film Festival (Juan Antonio Vigar) and the Seville European Film Festival (José Luis Cienfuegos) have been working to create the Profestivales21 umbrella organisation. Its objective is to set up a channel of direct, technical and professional communication with the ultimate aim of pooling opinions and experiences. It has therefore been instigated as a way of monitoring festivals’ programming and determining their needs – such as, for example, security measures or action protocols during the rest of this year. Initially, this agreement is limited in scope to the autonomous region of Andalusia, but it is open to all other festivals.

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“With the pandemic, we realised that there were circumstances that were causing us all concern,” Martín, the director of the Huelva-based gathering (13-20 November), tells Cineuropa. “For Huelva, we’ve announced a hybrid format, which allows people from other places to enjoy the festival, but it will be complementary to the physical event, the big screen and the movie theatres. It’s important for us as film buffs, because festivals also entail a closeness with the audience. A festival is a cultural event to promote talents, which, in the case of our activities, fosters European, Spanish and Latin American film,” he continues.

Vigar, who heads up the Málaga Film Festival, which has been postponed from March until the end of August, asserts: “To a great extent, we have been able to keep the films that we originally had lined up, which is a testament to the fondness and support that the sector shows for Málaga. We’ve been in contact with festivals, and have experienced a great deal of camaraderie and the will to build things up: the fact that Málaga is starting will be good for San Sebastián, and that will be good for Valladolid and Gijón, and so on. We’re going to unspool in a format that is fully in line with one of our main pillars: exhibition, putting the throngs of people to one side for now. Thus, we will turn the red carpet into a space for the press, so that the festival’s impact in the media will be as broad as possible. We will also be adhering to health-and-safety requirements so that the audience can enjoy the films with absolute peace of mind.”

Cienfuegos, the director of the Seville-based event (6-14 November), states: “During the first few weeks of the pandemic, we needed to know what our colleagues were doing, and the ICAA called some meetings in order to show they were taking an interest and encourage us, as festivals of all sizes, ages and specialities. This is a key moment to lend visibility to how important festivals are in circulating film culture, in our case also European culture. If we crunch the numbers, Seville, for example, has given out €600,000 in support for the circulation, distribution and theatrical releases of movies from its competition sections in the last five years; and if we add up the number of people who attend all three Profestivales21 events, we reach 250,000 viewers.”

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(Translated from Spanish)

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