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Malaga Festival Pushes Back Spanish Screenings, Aims for June Festival, WIPs, Co-Production Forum

Schoolgirls
Jorge Fuembuena/Alberto Di Lolli

One of Southern Europe’s fastest growing industry events, Spain’s Malaga Festival is pushing back its industry centerpiece Spanish Screenings from June in order to be able to celebrate an on-site event.

“Last year and this, we’ve learnt not to make [longterm] plans. We don’t have a definitive date but it could be this fall, though everybody’s moving back to the fall so we will have to choose our dates carefully,” Malaga Industry Co-ordinator Annabelle Aramburu, announced at a Sanfic Industria panel.

Spain’s biggest showcase for the market premieres of new and recent Spanish features, the Screenings benefit hugely from a physical event, she argued.

“On an industrial level, we want to return as soon as possible to normality. Negotiations need people to look each other in the eye,” said Aramburu.

Parallel to the Screenings, Malaga will celebrate on site its inaugural Hack Mafiz Malaga, an event aimed at identifying and promoting innovative digital creators and connecting them with more traditional sales agents, distributors, brands, media, streaming services and production companies from around the world.

Malaga received 1,380 applications for the event which it has whittled down to 198 candidates. Five teams will eventually be chosen to attend Malaga.

Split into Spanish WIP and Latam WIP, Malaga’s WIP pix-in-post showcases will take place online in June during the Malaga Festival. 2019’s edition presented fantasy allegory “El Hoyo” (“The Platform”) which, sold by Latido Films to Netflix at Toronto, went on to become a No. 1 most-watched Netflix title in the U.S over some days. Last year’s edition launched “Ane is Missing,” David Pérez Sanudo’s first feature which proved a standout at 2020’s San Sebastian Festival and won three Spanish Academy Goya Awards this month.

Grouped under the umbrella of the Malaga Festival Industry Zone (MAFIZ), Malaga will see some of its industry events held back to 2022, such as a Latin America country focus and a Spanish region film-TV overview.

Focusing on new talents – first or second feature projects with clear international co-production potential, said Aramburu –  the Malaga Festival Fund & Co Production Event (MAFF) will also take place online during June’s festival.

The Malaga Festival’s 2021 lineup will be announced early May, said festival programmer Moisés Salama at the same online session as Aramburu, moderated by Sanfic Industria head Gabriela Sandoval.

The festival has no gender quotas. That said, Salama observed, of the 67 titles at 2020’s fest, 33% were directed by women, and 41% produced by women.

“The festival pays a lot of attention to programming films by women but it needs strong films as well. Those two factors are increasing coinciding,” Salama said. “Films made by women have a freshness and boldness which we look for.” 2020’s Malaga Festival was won by Pilar Palomero’s “Schoolgirls,” which went on to scoop best picture at the 2021 Goya Awards.

Coinciding with the Malaga Festival’s 25th edition, the event will return to its traditional March dates in 2022, Salama added.