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This is one of those months in Barcelona when film festivals converge - we take a look at what the Mecal Short Film Festival and D'A Festival Cinema d'Autor each have to offer.
MECAL FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE CORTOMETRAJES DE BARCELONA
When? April 12th to 29th
Where? Cinemas Girona is the principal venue, but some screenings will take place elsewhere, including the Institut Français, Fàbrica Moritz and the Antic Teatre.
How much? The cost of the festival pass has been reduced from €25 to €18 this year. Students of cinema and theatre can get a further discounted pass for just €12.50.
Past form: This is its 14th edition, so fair to say it’s well-established on the scene by now. Unsurprisingly, it has grown signficantly from its early days and has sought to introduce unusual elements each year to keep the format fresh, including eating food in line with the on-screen action.
What’s the aim? To promote the short film format; films up to 30 minutes long are welcome from directors around the world, although many of those being shown are much, much shorter than that.
Who will be appearing? Presumably interesting presenters and happy prize-winners will be at the various award-givings. Unfortunately, they are by invitation only. As is the inaugural ceremony, but the party afterwards is a public event, so rock on down to the Fàbrica Moritz and see who you can rub shoulders with.
Pick of the films: Because they are so short, there is an almost monstrous number of films on show (around 300 apparently) and even the number of categories is overwhelming. However, stand-out sections should be: ‘Soy un loser con superpoderes’, celebrating modern anti-heroes; ‘Hell Yeah’, featuring works inspired by heavy metal; and the topical (considering the gloomy Mayan ‘forecasts’ of imminent world’s end) ‘Oh my god there is no future’.
D’A 2012—FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE CINEMA D’AUTOR DE BARCELONA
When? April 27th to May 6th
Where? The recently inaugurated Filmoteca de Catalunya in the Raval will host the screenings of work by featured director, Claire Denis. The other venue for the festival is Cines Aribau Club.
How much? Prices are being kept the same as for last year’s inaugural edition, so that’s €7 per screening, with discounts available and sets of five tickets at a reduced price.
Past form: It only started in 2011, so not too much to say here. But, in this day and age, any cultural event that can find the resources to continue after its initial outing deserves some credit (quite literally for those suffering financial problems).
What’s the aim? “Exploring contemporary cinema d’auteur, in its widest sense, seeking out the best in new film creations and combining established names with new talents.” Basically, they want to give cinema-lovers the chance to see films that wouldn’t be put on at the local cineplex in a million years.
Who will be appearing? No word on special appearances by directors or actors so far. It seems to be all about the films themselves.
Pick of the films: Sangue do meu sangue by Portuguese director Joao Canijo (which was an award-winner at San Sebastian) relates the story of a close-knit family from a poor part of Lisbon struggling to deal with the day-to-day realities of their lives. Life Without Principle is the latest effort by Hong Kong director Johnnie To, one of the film-makers helping to breathe new life into the former colony’s movie industry. French film-maker Claire Denis is the focus of this year’s retrospective with a selection of her fiction, documentaries and shorts being screened.