Macu Machín's La hojarasca and Daniel Mann's Under a Blue Sun, winners of Documenta Madrid 2024

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Bajo un sol azul

Documenta Madrid, the International Film Festival of the Madrid City Council, organized by the Department of Culture, Tourism and Sport, has announced tonight at the Azcona Hall of Cineteca Madrid the winning films of its 21st edition. The awards were read by the Programming Committee, formed by Javier H. Estrada, head of programming at the Seville European Film Festival and director of programming at Filmadrid; Ruth Somalo, programmer at DOC NYC and president of the Board of Directors of the Flaherty International Film Seminar; Karina Solórzano, programmer at FICUNAM and FiC Valdivia; and Ivan Granovsky, general curator of CATAPULTA, accompanied by Luis E. Parés, artistic director of Cineteca Madrid, and the jurors of the categories in competition.

The jury has awarded eight films, chosen from among the 13 titles in the National Competition, the 13 in the International Competition and the 4 final projects, all of them selected from among the 1,566 films from 20 different nationalities that participated in this year's competition.

National Competition: Best Film and Fugas
The jury of the National Competition, formed by Guilherme Blanc, Portuguese film curator and researcher; Joseph Morder, French director, actor, screenwriter and journalist; and Virginia Pablos, festival director, film programmer and cultural manager in the Netherlands, UK and Portugal, has awarded Macu Machín's La hojarasca the Jury Prize for Best National Film, worth €10,000. The jury, in its deliberation, has decided to grant this award to this work “for being a film that shows an impressive exercise of style and form between genres. This is a work that is an artistic gesture of love for its characters, landscape and cinema. For a masterful work, and for the capacity of abandonment of the three protagonists that give rise to a magical filmic experience”.

The same jury awarded the Fugas Award for innovation and willingness to transcend standard boundaries, endowed with 5,000 €, to the film Natsu no uta (Summer Songs), by Jorge Suárez-Quiñones Rivas, “for being an experience of telluric cinematography, which contains the body and soul of cinema and life at the same time. For a formal mastery in super 8 with all its sensitivity”.  

In addition, the jury of the National Competition wanted to award a special mention to Los restos del pasar, by Luis (Soto) Muñoz and Alfredo Picazo, “for offering a sweeping reflection of a promising collective that uses a thread full of associations about what will be left of us after our departure”.

International Competition: Best Film and Fugas
The Jury Prize for Best International Film, worth €10,000, went to Daniel Mann's Under A Blue Sun (Mitahat Le Shemesh Khula). The jury, composed of Ehsan Khoshbakht, director, film programmer and director of film festivals in the UK and Iran; Marusya Syroechkovskaya, Russian director, producer and visual artist; Sara Barquinero, Spanish philosopher and novelist, defined this film as “a work that links places where atrocities have taken place with the distorted representation of them by the media, and sadly reflects the tragic situation in the area today.

The same jury awarded the €5,000 Fugas Award for innovation and willingness to transcend standard boundaries to Sara Rajaei's film City Of Poets. In the words of the jury, this film is “a subtle approach to the reality of Iranian women that uses personal archives in the absence of an official history that recognizes both their loss of rights and their struggle to regain them”.

CineZeta Youth Award
Dulcinea, by Paloma Polo
, received the CineZeta Youth Award for Best National Film, awarded by the CineZeta team, a Cineteca Madrid program that incorporates ten young people under 26 years of age in their first experience as film programmers. This jury, which in the current edition was composed of Anna Enguix-Carrasco, Daniel Cortiñas Laíño, Elena Gosálbez Tomé, Gabriela Arranz, Laura Vargas Cuadros, LuisMi Quevedo Peñaranda, Nacho Cea, Nadia Hidalgo, Nicolás Fernández-Montes and Pablo Álvarez-Hornia, has valued in its deliberation “its recovery of archive images and creation of an audiovisual imaginary that moves us to action through an unknown protagonist and a game of voices of anonymous characters. A documentary with a technique that combines, in an exceptional way, the duality between memory and the archive created”.

Corte FInal Award
In Corte FInal, the section aimed at films in the final stages of Spanish production or co-production, the jury was formed by Cristina Cámara, Spanish art historian and cultural manager; Laura Matías, cultural manager and coordinator of Talent at ECAM; and María del Puy Alvarado, founder and producer at Malvalanda. This jury has awarded the Final Cut Award, endowed with €5,000, to El vol de la Cigonya, by Soumaya Hidalgo Djahdou and Berta Vicente Salas, “for its profound exploration of identity, cultural legacy and mother-daughter reconciliation, through a moving narrative, and which gives voice to some of the challenges faced by Muslim and migrant women.”

This same work, which will soon complete production and see the light of day, has also won the Freak Agency Distribution Award, awarded by Freak Agency.

Cineteca Madrid Audience Award
The festival's spectators, thanks to their votes after the screenings, have contributed to the festival's list of winners with their choice of best national and international film. The Cineteca Madrid Audience Award in the International Competition, worth €1,000, went to La historia se escribe de noche, by Alejandro Alonso Estrella; and the Cineteca Madrid Audience Award in the National Competition, also worth €1,000, went to Mitología de barrio by Alejandro Pérez Castellanos, Antonio Llamas and Jorge Rojas, members of the Espírituescalera collective.

A live audiovisual closure
Fernando Vacas, a restless artist who moves between tradition and the avant-garde, closed the awards ceremony with a journey between electronics and musical textures, from floral to organic, from flamenco to avant garde, from minimalism to the most obtuse baroque, sounding live the projection of restored and digitized pieces by José Val Del Omar.

With the artistic reference of David Lynch, the inspiration of the French surrealists and the imprint of artists such as Julio Romero de Torres or Val del Omar himself, Fernando Vacas gave a twist to the pieces of the creator from Granada. Samplers, old flamenco bases, his own live voice and aromas of an Albaicín more from Berlin than Granada, were the tools with which Vacas honored Val del Omar's legacy.

This project, specially created for Documenta Madrid, has been possible thanks to the collaboration of Gonzalo Sáenz de Buruaga (President of the Val del Omar Archive) and Piluca Baquero (Director of the Val del Omar Archive).

Documenta Madrid 2024
Documenta Madrid, which has already reached its 21st edition (held from May 28th to June 2nd) has become the meeting point for contemporary documentary and non-fiction cinema, where audiovisual culture is lived as a collective experience and new forms of creation are discovered regardless of their definition, duration, genre or category. This year, Documenta Madrid has had out-of-competition cycles distributed in four venues, in addition to the main venue at Cineteca: the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Filmoteca Española, Fundación Casa de México en España and Escuela de Cine y Audiovisual de Madrid (ECAM) as participating venues. Also collaborating are Centro de residencias artísticas de Matadero Madrid, Intermediae Matadero and Madrid Film Office.
Documenta Madrid is supported by Acción Cultural Española (ACE) through its Program for the Internationalization of Spanish Culture (PICE) and the Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA); and with the collaboration of Instituto Francés, Foro Cultural de Austria and Centro de Estudios Mexicanos UNAM-España.