10 exciting Spanish directors to track in 2022:
“I’m interested in films that move from intimacy to mystery exploring language without being solemn,” says shorts director Azorín (“Greyhounds”). Backed by Spain’s Dvein Films and Filmika Galaika, “Last Night I Conquered the City of Thebes,” his long-awaited first feature and a friendship tale straddling Roman and modern times, proved a buzz title at Locarno’s 2021 Match Me forum.
Launched as an actor by Bigas Luna in “My Name is La Juani,” the “Trust” and “Fortitude” thesp’s surprising first short “She Wolf Totem” earned her a director Goya. Now she’s writing her feature debut. “I love movies that focus on life aspects that may go unnoticed,” she says citing “Drive my Car,” Michel Gondry and Isabel Coixet.
ANNA FERNÁNDEZ DE PACO
A poetic depiction of a couple’s changing flats in Sarajevo, De Paco’s short, “I Didn’t Make it to Love Her” plays Critics’ Week. Studying with Béla Tarr she’s drawn to “films whose narratives leave space for aspects other than story.” Straddling Bosnia and Catalonia, her feature debut track young Bosnians entering the European Union via a final school trip, she says.
The Melilla-born Machado’s shorts “Amateurs” and “Candela” screened at multiple festivals. She’s currently shooting her intimate feature debut “Reflections in a Bedroom,” while producer Antonia Nava is set to back Machado’s gay romantic drama “If Walls Had Ears.” “I want to make films where women have their own voice and portray us from the guts,” she says.
Credits include “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” doc-feature “Dear Werner” and Filmax’s “Girl Unknown,” where a young girl e-meets Leo, an adult passing himself off as a 16-year-old boy. Next up: Elamedia-produced “Campo de Fiori,” “a tribute to Italian neorealist cinema.” “I’m interested in breaking genre rules from a hyperrealistic viewpoints, provoking viewers,” he says.
The director of the Emma Suarez-starring “Josefina,” one of San Sebastian’s standout first features last year, Marco pursues “simple, intimate stories where the characters are in command.” His next project, written with longtime collaborator Belén Sánchez-Arévalo, marks a feature spin-off from their short “A la cara,” which earned the duo a Spanish Academy Goya.
An Academy Award animated short winner for “The Windshield Wiper,” Mielgo’s credits also include “The Witness” episode from Netflix’ hit “Love, Death & Robots.” “Animation is just a technique. My big dream is to make a great movie considered just as a picture, independent of technique,” he says. He’s working on two ambitious features.
Saiz’s “Woman Without a Child” scooped up multiple awards at 2019’s Málaga Festival. New short “Magical Thinking,” a first Cannes Focus Script title, forms part of her feature debut, the unusual coming-of-age “House of Beasts,” developed at Madrid’s prestigious Incubator lab. “I’m interested in a cinema of disobedience, but far from the paradigms of normal generational conflicts,” she says.
Following a women’s choir as they face off with an environmentally unfriendly big corporation, Urresola’s short, “Chords,” plays Cannes Critics’ Week. Urresola is also about to shoot one of Spain’s awaited feature debuts, a project tackling child transgender identity. Urrusola’s hallmark style encompasses “a direct and close cinematographic language, without large artifice,” as she puts it.
An editor on Victor Kossakovsky’s “Gunda,” Vera’s first short “Sertres” premiered at Locarno. Playing Cannes ACID showcase, Vera’s first feature, the documentary “Polaris” follows a ship’s captain in the Arctic. “My intention is to capture beauty in reality, provoking viewers not to consume it passively,” she says. She also sayes she’s working on a fiction film “with comedy strokes.”