The opening gala served to promote «the role of independent film in showcasing a turbulent world», with Honorary Spikes awarded to Matt Dillon, Mohammad Rasoulof and Margarethe von Trotta
20/10/2018 – «Let’s play Guess the Film!» It was with these words that Eva Hache, the presenter of the 63rd edition of Seminci, launched the festival’s opening gala. The actress and comedian steered the ceremony with the confidence and complicity of someone who has spent time studying in Valladolid and knows the festival first-hand as a viewer. «So many memories, such cold, early», she commented on the morning screenings she attended during that period of her life, considering herself a «daughter of cinema» since 1989, when her student years started.
With a mention for Valladolid mayor, Óscar Puente, with whom she shared the stage in director Juan Antonio Quintana’s classic theatre company, and a number of costume changes transporting the audience filling the Calderón Theatre back to cinema classics such as La venganza de Don Mendo, 55 Days at Peking, Doctor Zhivago and The Clockwork Orange, the presenter then stepped aside to make way for the patron of this edition of the festival, Bárbara Lennie. The actress read a letter from the festival director, Javier Angulo, which referred to the independent cinema screened by Seminci as «a showcase for a turbulent world». «In this devastating landscape, stories of anonymous heroes emerge, stories full of dignity which encourage us to believe in human beings», added Lennie as she read Angulo’s letter.
The ceremony continued with an appearance by Jose Coronado, the leading actor of the out-of-competition opening film, ‘Tu hijo’, who awarded one of the Honorary Spikes for this edition to American actor Matt Dillon, «who has delighted us with such splendid films as Singles, Beautiful Girls and Wild Things since 1989», he explained. Meanwhile, Dillon, who stars alongside Nick Nolte in the film which will close this edition of Seminci, Head Full of Honey by German director Til Schweiger, congratulated Coronado for the film which opened the festival.
Another recipient of the Honorary Spike was Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, whose films are collated in one of this edition’s cycles, who was unable to attend the ceremony to receive his award as he is currently being held under house arrest by his country’s government. Rasoulof thanked Seminci for «the immense privilege of being able to thank you for the award via Skype».
Another of the Honorary Spikes went to German director Margarethe von Trotta, whose links to Seminci go back more than a quarter of a century, and who was also unable to attend this time for health reasons. Her documentary Searching for Ingmar Bergman forms part of the Official Selection although it is not in the competition. To the great satisfaction of the audience at the Calderón Theatre, the award was collected on her behalf by award-winning director Carlos Saura. The director and scriptwriter presents his work ‘Renzo Piano, un arquitecto para Santander’ in the Time of History section.
«Seminci is the festival where I discovered cinema in capital letters». These were the words with which Eva Marciel began her presentation of the members of the international jury for the 63rd Seminci. The actress, whose family has roots in Valladolid, went on to introduce Lucía Cedrón from Argentina and Marta Benyei from Hungary, Spanish actress Bárbara Goenaga and Madrid scriptwriter and director Manuel Pérez Estremera. The final member of the jury which will judge the films in the Official Section is Miguel Gomes, one of the most relevant figures in Portuguese cinematography.
Another two iconic sections at Valladolid International Film Festival were presented by Esther García and Almudena Carracedo, producer and director, respectively, of the documentary The Silence of Others, which is competing in the Time of History section. Introducing Meeting Point, Carracedo explained that the section serves as a door opening onto other places where people are making cinema. Spanish Cinema also received a mention in her speech, while the rest of the sections featured in Seminci, such as the ESCAC Cycle, May 68, Shorts from Castile and León, Seminci Transmedia, DOC. Spain, Miniminci, Seminici Joven, Climate Change, Cinema & Wine, special screenings and parallel activities formed part of a karaoke performance by Eva Hache to bring the gala to an end, with choruses provided by the public, ending with a unique, «cinematic» rendering of the song Juntos, by Paloma San Basilio.
The ceremony ended with an appearance of the main cast of Tu hijo minutes before the feature film was screened in a world premiere on Saturday night in Calderón Theatre in Valladolid. The director of the film, Miguel Ángel Vivas, dedicated these words to the public: «This film is very personal to me, it’s the first time I’m watching it as an audience member and it’s an honour for it to be screened after Carlos Saura himself has appeared on this very same stage».