Documenta Madrid presents its 18th Edition focusing in an open, free, and luminous cinema

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Documenta Madrid 2021 poster

Documenta Madrid, the International Film Festival organized by the Cultural Area of the City Council of Madrid, has presented its 18th edition in the Azcona screening room of Cineteca. The event, that has counted with the presence of the General Director of Cultural Programming of the City Council of Madrid, María Ballesteros, as well as representatives of each of the collaborating institutions, has presented the complete program of this edition, that will take place in person in Cineteca Madrid, Museo Reina Sofía, Filmoteca Española and Círculo de Bellas Artes from May 26th to June 6th and from May 31st to June 6th online through the VOD platform Filmin. A total of 110 films from 24 countries are in the program, that includes 8 world releases and 29 Spanish releases.

The artistic curators of the festival, Cecilia Barrionuevo artistic director of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, and James Lattimer, programmer of the Berlinale Forum- have pointed out that the festival “reaches the legal age opening a space for the cinema of the real and its branches, first in Madrid, and now for all the country too through online screenings. Born as a festival devoted to documentaries, it hosted the seeds of open, free, and luminous cinema since its origins. Documenta Madrid, that doubles the stakes for cinema beyond form, definition, gender, or length, has seen many, hundreds, thousands of films, filmmakers, guests, juries, directors, and it is now, reaching the 18th edition, when it looks back and embraces them all. Documenta Madrid is a film festival, and so we present it that way”.

Gonzalo de Pedro, artistic director of Cineteca Madrid, stats that “in this 2021, yet complicated and painful for many people, we still believe that Documenta has to be a space for light and discovery. That is why the images guiding this edition, works of the artists Inka & Niclas, invite us to see the world hoping to find people and landscapes capable of transforming the reality in a better place. That is what we believe a film festival like Documenta Madrid should be: that mysterious threshold that opens to many possible visions”.

24 titles will compete in the Official Section and 4 projects will in the Final Cut section

Moving stories about the everyday life, political essays, ethnographic works, musical works, or historical stories are some of the topics that can be find in the 24 competing films, coming from 15 countries. An edition focused on contemporary cinema, with a special interest in the new aesthetics, that combines the works of the most renowned filmmakers with the most surprising debuts.

The International Competition, that will take place in Cineteca and Filmin, starts with 12 titles, among which are the world premiere of ‘Sensitive Material’ by Nataliya Ilchuck, the Spanish releases of ‘A River Runs, Turns, Erases, Replaces’ by Shengze Zhu, ‘Abissal’ by Alejandro Alonso, ‘All Light, Everywhere’ by Theo Anthony, ‘Splinters’ by Natalia Garayalde, ‘I Comete – A Corsican Summer’ by Pascal Tagnati, ‘No táxi do Jack’ by Susana Nobre, ‘One Thousand and One Attempts to Be an Ocean’ by Yuyan Wang, ‘Qué será del verano’ by Ignacio Ceroi, ‘Ste. Anne’ by Rhayne Vermette and ‘Tellurian Drama’ by Riar Rizaldi; and the release in Madrid of ‘Surviving You, Always’ by Morgan Quaintance.

The National Competition, that will be screened only in an on-site format in Cineteca Madrid, features 12 titles: the world releases of ‘A Minor Figure’ by Jamie Weiss & Michael McCanne, ‘A todos nos gusta el plátano’ by Rubén H. Bermúdez, ‘¿Cuáles son nuestros años?’ by Clara Rus, ‘La mano que canta’ by Alex Reynolds & Alma Söderberg, ‘La peli del algoritmo’ by Claudia Negro García, ‘Winterreise’ by Inés García Gómez and ‘Autopsia de un relato periodístico’ by Elisa G. Carrasco, Paulina Quiroz Navarro, Alex Ruggeri Buera, Júlia Sainz and Alejandro Dueñas; the Spanish releases of ‘Colección privada’ by Elena Duque, ‘Mbah Jhiwo’ by Álvaro Gurrea Romeu and ‘Síndrome de los quietos’ by León Siminiani; and the releases in Madrid of ‘Ora Maritima’ by Alfonso Camacho and ‘Ella i jo’ by Jaume Claret.  Documenta Madrid also celebrates the third edition of Final Cut with ‘Canción a una dama en la sombra’, by Carolina Astudillo, ‘H’, by Carlos Pardo Ros, ‘La mala familia’, by Nacho & Luis BRBR and ‘Te fuiste al alba’, by Pedro Sara.

Special screenings and retrospectives

On May 26th, the festival will celebrate its opening ceremony with the Spanish release of ‘Patrick’, a homage to the disco music pioneer of San Francisco in the 80s Patrick Cowley, with the filmmaker and artist Luke Fowler, who will have a retrospective in Museo Reina Sofía this year in the framework of the festival. From May 28th to June 14th, the audience can enjoy 18 films of the Glasgow author, divided in four sessions in the retrospective ‘Luke Fowler: a certain predilection for uncommon things’.

The double retrospective ‘Djibril Diop Mambéty + Mati Diop: Different versions of the same sun’, that will mean a dialogue between 14 films of the renowned filmmaker, actor and poet from Senegal Djibril Diop Mambéty, and his niece, the also filmmaker and French-Senegalese actress Mati Diop, who competed with her first feature film ‘Atlantique’ in the Official Section of Cannes Festival and won the Grand Prix, will take place from May 27th to June 4th in Filmoteca Española.

The awards ceremony of the 18th edition of Documenta Madrid will take place on May 30th with the screening of ‘Camino incierto’ by Pau (Pablo) García Pérez de Lara. The film has its origins in 2015, when the mythic film production company Eddie Saeta, founded in 1989 by Luis Miñarro, closed its doors for a while, an event that meant two new beginnings: for the production company, that ultimately rise again; and this film that tells the love story for cinema of Miñarro and García Pérez de Lara.

The online version of Documenta Madrid in Filmin will start on May 31st with the screening of all the films competing in the international section as well as the Spanish release of ‘El ojo del turista: XIII piezas fáciles’ by Luis Ospina. Coinciding with the second anniversary of his death, the festival shows this work filmed with his partner Lina González in a series of trips to Asia, that reclaim the gaze of the tourist as a source of joy. The online format of the 18th edition of the festival will be closed with ‘The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant’, a film by Jim Finn filmed in 16 mm in which the director tours in public military parks and Secession War scenarios to reconstruct the figure of the 18th president of the United States of America, the general Ulysses S. Grant, and affronts history as a role game.

Back and Forth

New to this edition, Documenta Madrid presents the section Back and Forth. The name honors Michael Snow’s film, and will gather new works, retrospectives, and restorations of historical, classic, or unknown films by filmmakers like Pedro Costa, Forugh Farrojzad, Abbas Kiarostami, Jocelyn Saab or Frederick Wiseman aiming to question what separates the historic of the contemporary with the idea of forging links between different filming and historiographic traditions all around the world, from the past to 2021.

Back and Forth will present the releases of the restored copies of ‘Oú gît votre sourire enfoui?’, the most Godardian film of Pedro Costa; ‘The House is Black’ by the Iranian poetess Forugh Farrojzad; six restored and almost unpublished works, filled with lyrism of Abbas Kiarostami the session ‘Kanoon Collection (Selected Works)’; and a focus with restored copies of the amateur filmmaker Tatjana Ivančić. It will also include the release in Madrid of ‘City Hall’ or “democracy of action” seen through Frederick Wiseman, and the Spanish premiere of ‘The Inheritance’ by Ephraim Asili. Two more focus bout the experimental authors Daïchi Saito and Manuela de Laborde, titled ‘Celuloide natural’ and ‘Abstracción rítmica’, respectively, add to the section with the releases in Spain of their most recent works.

Back and Forth also includes a selection of works, many of them unpublished in Spain, or World releases, like ‘Después del silencio’ by María Alché, ‘Parenthèse’ by Fabrice Aragno, ‘Best Year Ever’ by James N. Kienitz Wilkins, ‘Pirmais Tilts’ by Laila Pakalnina, ‘Querida Chantal’ by Nicolás Pereda and ‘Covid Messages’ by John Smith, available online. The section is completed with the exclusive screening of ‘Señorita extraviada’ by Lourdes Portillo in its 20th anniversary, the presentation of ‘Beirut Trilogy’ by Jocelyn Saab and the Spanish release of ‘The Diaspora Suite’ by Ephraim Asili, a series of short films preceding the feature film ‘The Inheritance’, also released in the festival.

ON Documenta
Another year On Documenta will bring parallel meetings the festival’s protagonists, that will talk with the curators and programmers through the YouTube channel of Documenta Madrid to share the ideas, obstacles and events that shaped their filming projects.

International Jury
The 18th edition of Documenta Madrid features a prestigious jury formed by nine members of different nationalities for the International, National and Final Cut sections. The National competition section jury is formed by Rebecca de Pas, programmer in Festival Visions du Réel; Javier Fernández Vázquez, filmmaker, and the academic critic and commissioner Elena Gorfinkel, based in the UK. The International competition jury is formed by Sofia Bohdanowicz, Polish-Canadian director; Chema González, Cultural Activities Manager of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Zsuzsanna Kiràly, film producer of Flaneur Films in Germany. Last, Maria Bonsanti, Eurodoc network director, and Virginia García del Pino, film director and teacher, will be in charge of evaluating and supporting the selected projects in the Final Cut section, aimed to films in the final stage of Spanish production or co-production.

More than 36.000 euros in prizes

This year, the three sections together will give more than 36.000 euros in prizes for the films and the awarded projects. Both the International and the National Competitive Sections will award three prizes each: The Jury Award for Best Film, worth €10,000 for each section, the Fugas Award, worth €5,000 also for each section, and the Cineteca Madrid Audience Award, worth €1,000 for each section and awarded based on votes cast by spectators both in person and online. For the first time, the films selected for the Final Cut will compete for a cash prize of €4,000.

In addition, the jury may award a special mention for each category - National Competition, International Competition and Final Cut - consisting of a diploma. And films in the National Competitive Section will also compete for the CineZeta Award, conferred by the young programmers of CineZeta, at Cineteca Madrid, which will also consist of a diploma.

A total of 792 films from 81 different nationalities have inscribed in the National and International competitive sections of this edition. Among those, 245 are Spanish productions or co-productions. The Final Cut section, aimed to films in the final stage of Spanish production or co-production, has received 53 inscriptions of projects in an advanced editing status.

Sponsoring and collaborating organizations

The 18th edition of the festival is possible thanks to the  following sponsoring and collaborating organizations: Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) through the Program for the Internationalization of the Spanish Culture (PICE), Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA), Republic of Croatia Embassy for Spain and HAVC (Croatian Audiovisual Centre), Fundación Japón Madrid, Goethe Institut Madrid, Institut Français Madrid, Instituto Polaco de Cultura e Instituto Confucio de Madrid.