54th Valladolid International Film Festival

Spain, October 23 - October 31 2009

The jury

Angelika Kettelhack (Germany), Carlos Raúl Orono (Uruguay), Suncica Unevska (Macedonia), Angel Comas Puente (Spain), Ayman Youssef (Egypt)

Awarded films

The 54th edition of the Valladolid International Film Festival, also known as SEMINCI (Semana Internacional de Cine), was a pleasurable event. The festival crew of over 200 worked very hard, not only to select interesting films, but to pamper its guests with very good food and the best wines from the region. After all, Valladolid is well-known for its Ribera de Duero Crianzas and Reservas.

Over nine days, the festival director Javier Angulo presented 160 films, in both modern cinemas and the old Calderon theater in the historical part of town. There was a competition of 19 films, as well as a retrospective celebrating the 50th anniversary of the French New Wave and its influence.

Another 50th birthday celebration was given for the film journal which was the breeding ground for the New Wave and later its bible, Cahiers du Cinéma. The third retrospective was for the work of Carlos Saura. Since his films were drawn from the Spanish archives, they had no English subtitles. Valladolid is not an easy festival for foreigners: only ten per cent of the program texts and catalogues are published in English.

When SEMINCI first started – more than half a century ago, when Franco still ruled Spain – the festival took place under the “umbrella” of the Church. So we should be glad that the festival’s official language is Spanish and not Latin!

The main award for the competition, the Espiga de Oro, looks like a symbol of the fall harvest: it’s a delicate-looking trophy, not easy to transport without damage. Our FIPRESCI Prize went to Goran Paskaljevik for Honeymoons, a film which explores the existence of intolerance, prejudice and violence in Europe. (Angelika Kettelhack, edited by Lesley Chow)

Valladolid International Film Festival: www.seminci.es