Javier Angulo brings more Spanish films to fest

Locals say Spain’s most perfect Castilian is spoken in Valladolid, but the town’s Seminci (Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid) fest hasn’t traditionally put the accent on homegrown films.

That may be changing. The fest’s 53rd edition, first under new artistic director Javier Angulo, sees five Spanish world preems: Nicolas Munoz’s sophomore “Animales de compania,” Helena Taberna’s debut “La buena nueva” and Abel Garcia Roure docu “Una cierta verdad,” all in competition. Alfonso Zarauza’s “Spleen” and Angel de la Cruz’s “Lost in Galicia” screen in the Meeting Point sidebar.

Appointed in June, Angulo hasn’t had time to change much. Nor will he want to: The fest has a solid reputation for A-list arthouse fare. Wanda’s Jose Morales — Valladolid’s Golden Sprig winner the last two years with “24 Kilometers” and “The Optimists” — hails the sprocket opera’s “track record for quality and excellence over many years.” But Angulo aims to tubthump the Valladolid brand, beefing up fest events, shaking up programming and building an industry hub.

This year, “Metropolis” will screen with its original score performed by the Leon Symphonic. And Bo Widerberg and Shohei Immamura are packaged together in a tribute to iconoclasts who challenged leading auteurs of their day.

Ex-industry journalist Angulo’s market savvy is leading him to broaden Valladolid’s appeal: Two crowdpleasers, Marcos Jorge’s culinary revenge drama “Estomago,” which feasted on prizes at Rio, and Sundance World Cinema Audience Award winner “Captain Abu Raed,” both play in competition. Disney-distribbed “Lost in Galicia,” an endearing small-town tale, has mainstream potential, as does offbeat “Spleen.”

Valladolid, facing challenges from newer Spanish rivals like Malaga and horror hub Sitges, still enjoys a reputation as being well-organized, director-friendly and, according to Avalon’s Stefan Schmidt, “undoubtedly international.”

With new high-speed trains connecting Valladolid to Madrid in less than an hour, Angulo will be hoping to plug into the energy of the national film network to lighten up Spain’s oldest and most serious fest. And that’s good news for Spanish film.

TIP SHEET

When: Oct. 24- Nov. 1

Where: Valladolid, Spain

Web: seminci.es

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more