Fest plays to interests in the Spanish film industry

As a distribution launch pad, Valladolid has always courted upscale talents: Goran Paskaljevic has won three times, Ken Loach twice.

Fest’s arthouse bent draws on its origins as the Valladolid Religious Film Festival, a showcase for films banned from general release under former dictator Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.

Nurturing a knowledgeable, decades-old fan base, Valladolid boasts typical audiences for arthouse and indie films, says producer-distribber Jose Maria Morales.

Meanwhile, the fest is building its Spanish film promotion heft.

“Valladolid plays to the Spanish film industry’s interests,” claims Alta Films’ Enrique Gonzalez Kuhn.

While San Sebastian rejects Spanish films that played in Toronto, Valladolid is more welcoming: Iciar Bollain’s “Even the Rain,” a Toronto world preem, opens the fest.

“Rain” will prompt a sizeable press turnout. The big question is how sizeable. Fest director Javier Angulo’s connections — he is a former journalist — has been used to lure scribes.

Still, “The press doesn’t always cover these festivals,” Gonzalez Kuhn says.

Yet modest local hits such as “14 Kilometers” by Gerardo Olivares won a Golden Spike, and Valladolid provided “a strong basis for their rollouts,” says Morales.

Valladolid titles “need to be smaller films, more personal, director and review-driven movies,” says producer Francisco Ramos.

“If the movie gets a solid review, maybe an award, then (other) international festivals may come afterwards.”

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