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The Chinese production Kaili Blues, by Bi Gan, wins the Golden Lady Harimaguada – Cajamar Foundation of this 16th International Film Festival

Jane Weiner, Inge de Leeuw, Kogonada, Rodríguez Merchán y Juan Barrero durante la lectura del palmarés

Jane Weiner, Inge de Leeuw, Kogonada, Rodríguez Merchán and Juan Barrero during the list of winners’ reading

  • The film Three Stories of Love, by Ryosuke Hashiguchi, wins the Silver Lady Harimaguada
  • David Caracol, protagonist of the film Posto Avançado do Progresso and Verónica Gerez from Cómo funcionan casi todas las cosas win the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, respectively
  • Martín Solá’s film, La familia chechena, wins the Special Jury Award, and the French-Swiss production Aloys, by Tobias Nölle, distributed in Spain by Atera Films, wins the Audience Award

The jury of the 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival (march 4-13) has granted the Golden Lady Harimaguada – Cajamar Foundation to the Chinese film Kaili Blues (2015, 110 min.), by director Bi Gan, a decision that, just like the jury’s president, Jane Weiner, highlighted during the moving reading of the list of winners, offers a “tremendous examination of the formal limits without losing the connection to the landscape and the daily life in current China.” It is, she added in English, “a superb first feature film.” The jury appreciated as well from Kaili Blues the “masterful camerawork and mise-en-scène” that immerse the audience in the “surprising visual and sound universe of the film.”

The second award of this Festival’s 16th edition, the Silver Lady Harimaguada, was granted to the film Three Stories of Love (Japan, 140 min.), by Ryosuke Hashiguchi. It offers, according to the jury, “a refreshing and uninhibited look at Japanese contemporary life, through its protagonists’ love difficulties, shown with harshness and in a quite natural way, without falling into clichés or sensationalist drama.”

Director Juan Barrero –fellow member in the jury of Weiner, as well as video-artist Kogonada, Rotterdam Festival’s programmer, Inge de Leeuw and writer and film critic Eduardo Rodríguez Merchán- has been the one in charge of reading aloud in Spanish this 16th edition’s list of winners during the ceremony held today Saturday, March 12, at the Rodríguez Quegles Palacete.

The work of actress Verónica Gerez, protagonist of the feature Cómo funcionan casi todas las cosas, by Fernando Salem, has won the Best Actress Award “for her captivating and quiet presence.” The actress is able to, according to the jury, “immerse the audience in the tale thanks to her ability to convey emotional complexity and to construct a character in constant dramatic evolution” and predicts her, in addition, a solid future: “We are convinced”, reflect the minutes, “this rising actress will keep on developing her interpretative talent and showing the complexity of women’s role in our current society.”

A completely different film, the Portuguese Posto Avançado do Progresso, by Hugo Vieira da Silva, has won the Best Actor Award because of David Caracol, whose “complex interpretation of a secondary role manages to keep the whole film afloat while taking us to the reality and geographical context in which the plot develops, avoiding predictable conventions”. Thanks to his work, they also stress that “the universe of the film overcomes any reductionist Manicheism.”

The jury decided as well to grant the Special Jury Award to the feature La Familia Chechena, by Martin Solá (Argentina, 2015), “for letting us rethink and question our prejudices about the Sufi culture in the afflicted Chechnya, throbbingly immersing us in the heart of their rituals.” “A great contribution”, adds the jury, “from the creative documentary sphere.”

Lastly, the popular jury, made up of a diverse 30-cinephile group, has announced this evening, too, the Audience Award, granted to Tobias Nölle’s film Aloys (Switzerland, France, 2016, 91 min.), a portrayal of a taciturn detective and the relationship he establishes with a mysterious woman after his work material is gone. The film is distributed in Spain by Atera Films, Miren Aperribay.

Best Short Film Award

Marc Johnson’s film, Yúyú (USA, France, 2015, 15 min.) has won, in the short-film category of this 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, the Best Short Film Award, an honor granted by the jury made up of director Alberto Gracia, filmmaker Elena López Riera and musician and film critic (in the Caiman, Cuadernos de Cine magazine) Jonay Armas, “because of the power of its pictures and its poetic construction of narrative tension from a simple ritual.” They also granted the Special Jury Award to Figura (Poland, Belgium, 2015, 9 min.), by director Katarzyna Gonde “for its reflection on the picture and its communicative dimensions.”

At the beginning of the ceremony, which included the intervention of the director of the festival, Luis Miranda, the participants in the Canarias Cinema section also received their awards, which were announced last Monday, March 7.

Tenerife-native director Omar A. Razzak closes the Official Section with the world premiere of the Spanish feature film La tempestad calmada

La tempestad calmada, de Omar A. Razzak

La tempestad calmada, by Omar A. Razzak

  • The French-Georgian coproduction, Chant d’Hiver, by filmmaker Otar Iosseliani, is the second competing film of the day
  • All the Official Section’s short films, in a single morning showing
Chant d' hiver, del veterano cineasta Otar Iosseliani

Chant d’ hiver, by veteran filmmaker Otar Iosseliani

Tenerife-native director Omar A. Razzak closes tomorrow Saturday, March 12, the 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival’s Official Section with the only Spanish competing film, La tempestad calmada (Spain, 2016, 73 min.). The feature, whose world premiere will be at the festival, is its author’s second film; the first one, the documentary Paradiso (2014) won the Rizoma Award and was also screened at the SEMINCI and at the Brooklyn Film Festival. La tempestad calmada was shot at the Italian island of Ponza, whose territory harbored a prison, and with its inhabitants’ participation. Its screening will be at 12.15pm. After it, its director will give a press conference at the Pérez Galdós Theater and, in the evening, at 8pm, will present it to the audience at the Monopol Multiplex.

The first film of the day will be the roguish French-Georgian comedy Chantd’hiver, by veteran Otar Iosseliani, a title that won the Special Jury Award at the Lisboa&Estoril Film Festival and was selected by the Locarno and Pusan ones, among others. Iosseliani (Georgia, 1934) has won during his long career awards like the Best Director in Berlin for Lundi Matin (2002), the Moscu Festival’s Andréi Tarkovsky Award for La chasee aux papillons (1992) or the Special Jury Award in Mar del Plata for Chantapras (2010).

• Screening of the Official Section’s fourteen competing short films in a single morning showing

Both the short-film fans and those who could not enjoy the selected ones in 2016 Official Section have again the chance of watching them in a single showing on Saturday, March 12, at 10am, at the Monopol Multiplex’s 4th screen. The showing will include the following films: Jay parmi les hommes / Jay Amongst Men (Zeno Graton, France-Belgium, 2015, 28 min.), Figura / Figure  (Katarzyna Gondek, Poland, Belgium, 2015, 9 min.), Paulina (Ricardo León, Peru, 2015, 20 min.), Notre Dame des Hormones / Our Lady of Hormones (Bertrand Mandico, France, 2015, 30 min.), Nagori-Gaki (Japan, 2015, 15 min.), Dear Director (Marcus Lindeen, Sweden, 2015, 14 min.), Rate Me (Fyzal Boulifa, UK, 2015, 17 min.), Freud und Friends (Gabriel Abrantes, Portugal, 2015, 23 min.), Yúyú (Marc Johnson, USA, France, 2015, 15 min.), 9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo (Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen, Syria, Netherlands, 2015, 13 min.), The Boats (Dominga Sotomayor, Chile, Portugal, 2015, 20 min.), Personne (Christoph Girardet, Matthias Müller, Germany, 2016, 15 min.), Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer (Keina Espiñeira, Spain, 2016, 18 min.) and Lo Sum Choe Sum / 3 Days 3 Month Retreat (Dechen Roder, Bhutan, 2015, 16 min.).

Kogonada’s film essay works, in Bande à part

kogonada 5 (2)

The Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival has scheduled in its Bande à part section fourteen of video-artist Kogonada’s works, reinterpretations of some classic and contemporary pieces which are film essays and critics in themselves (https://vimeo.com/kogonada). Several pieces that will be screened on Friday 11 (8pm) and Saturday 12 (6pm) at the Monopol Multiplex and which will be presented by their author, member as well of this edition’s official jury. They include works revolving around Bresson, Neorealism…, but also around the famous Breaking Bad or the filmmakers Wes Anderson and Tarantino.

kogonada 2 (1)

We will discover through fourteen pieces the work of one of the most attractive exponents of a genre called supercut –appropriation, recycling, found footage…- revising and turning cinema masterpieces into pieces of his own signature.

From the comments his work has received, we would like to highlight the following Hilton Als’ remark in The New Yorker: “Kogonada makes short films… that are so quiet and rapturous that you feel a jolt when they’re done: they are over before you want them to be over. Whether exploring Robert Bresson’s relationship to hands or neorealism, Kogonada is a philosopher of the lens—his own and those of others. His inspiration is what has come before, which he makes new through his live thought and editing as action.”

Swiss director Tobias Nölle presents Aloys, a film distributed in Spain, in the Official Section

  • The second competing film of the day is the production Three Stories of Love, by Japanese director Ryosuke Hashiguchi, who already won in this festival’s 10th edition the SIGNIS Award for his film All Around Us
Aloys, de Tobias Nölle

Aloys, by Tobias Nölle

The next-to-last day for the screenings of the titles included in the Official Section of the 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival begins today Friday, March 11. The films Aloys, by Tobias Nölle, and Three Stories of Love, by Ryosuke Hashiguchi, will be assessed by the jury and the audience at the Monopol Multiplex’s screens.

Aloys is named after its protagonist, a private detective whose job is to record other people in secret. The story revolves around him and the relationship he establishes with a woman that may have stolen his camera; a tale created by Swiss Tobias Nölle for his first feature film by himself, Aloys, selected at the Berlinale, where it won the Panorama section’s FIPRESCI Award, and which is distributed in Spain by Atera Films, Miren Aperribay. Tobias Nölle is in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to present his film. At night, at 9 o’clock, he will present Aloys to the audience at the Monopol’s screen.

Three Stories of Love, de Ryosuke Hashiguchi

Three Stories of Love, by Ryosuke Hashiguchi

The second competing film of the day is the production Three Stories of Love, by Japanese director Ryosuke Hashiguchi, who already won unanimously in this festival’s 10th edition the SIGNIS Award for his film All Around Us. In Three Stories of Love Hashiguchi approaches the portrayal of three dissatisfied people: a man who lost his wife in a random killing, an unhappy housewife and a gay lawyer. The film, Asia Awards nominee in 2016, won the Japan Academy Newcomer of the Year for Atsushi Shinohara. The film will be screened at noon and at 6pm at the Monopol Multiplex.

The Freakiest Night defies “the barriers of conventional taste and palate”

  • Six films, feature and short ones, form this horror night’s schedule held simultaneously at two of the Monopol Multiplex’s screens

This year’s selection has classic horror as its main ingredient: “that of the elegant inquisitiveness and deep philosophical content in The Invitation (Karyn Kusama, USA, 2015, 99 min.), the irreverent and bloody cinephagy in Turbo Kid (François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell, Canada, USA, New Zealand, 2015, 84 min.) or the nostalgia for the classic tale and traditional horrors in We Are Still Here (Ted Geoghegan, USA, 2015, 84 min.); that of the iconoclastic humor in Amor de mono  (Paulo Mosca, Abel Sánchez, Spain, 2015, 5 min.), the cinephile wink in Night of the Slasher (Shant Hamassian, USA, 2015, 12 min.) or the gothic and baroque elegance in The Witching Hour (Carl Firth, Australia, 2015, 9 min.).”

The cycle will be screened simultaneously at two of the Monopol Multiplex’s screens and will cost six euros.

Under Electric Clouds, celebrated for its outstanding artistic contribution in Berlin, and The Wolfpack, U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, present in Panorama

Under Electric Clouds

Under Electric Clouds

The Panorama section carries on with the screenings of the best 2015 titles. On Friday, March 11, two films worthy of attention will be screened: Under Electric Clouds’ last showing, by Aleksei German Jr., celebrated for its outstanding artistic contribution in Berlin, and The Wolfpack’s first one, by Crystal Moselle, U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

The last showing of the film by Alexei German Jr., Silver Lion at Venice for Bumaznyj soldat (Paper Soldier) and son of the deceased Aleksei German, a filmmaker whose last film (It’s Hard to Be a God, 2013), shot with huge difficulties, was already screened at the Festival, will be at 5:30pm. Under Electric Clouds, selected at the Berlin, BAFICI, Hong Kong and Seville Festivals, among others, is a depiction of the post-soviet Rusia, in the year 2017, exactly one hundred years after the Communist Revolution.

The Wolfpack

The Wolfpack

On the other hand, The Wolfpack, U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, takes place inside a Manhattan’s apartment, where certain brothers learn about the outside world through watching films. The film, its director’s first feature, has been at the Tribeca, Edinburgh and Stockholm Festivals, among others. The showing will be at 6:40pm.

Looking for Grace, by Sue Brooks, and Behemoth, by Zhao Liang, compete in the Official Section

  • The competitive section also presents the third and last group of short films
Looking for Grace

Looking for Grace

The 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival presents in its Official Section the Australian film Looking for Grace, by Sue Brooks (2015, 100 min.) and the French-Chinese coproduction Behemoth (2015, 98 min.) tomorrow Thursday, March 10.

Brooks’ film, selected at the Venice, Toronto and Chicago festivals, among others, focuses its story on the parents’ search for a teenager who has gotten away from home, as well as on the relationship between them. Brooks has been awarded, among others, the Australian Film Institute Best Film and Best Director for his feature Japanese Story. The film will be screened at 10am, and the first public showing will be the same Thursday, March 10, at 8pm.

Behemoth

Behemoth

The second competing title of the day is Behemoth, a film that speaks about the job of certain workers in some iron mines, and which has also been at several international festivals, such as Venice, Stockholm or Amsterdam. Its director, Zhao Liang, has been granted various awards for his documentary Petition (2009), including the Cannes Golden Camera, the Bratislava Best Documentary and the Human Rights Honorable Mention at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival.

Competing Short Films

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 10, will also carry on the screening of the Official Section’s competing short films, a part that relies on Jameson’s support. The third group, including the last five titles out of the fourteen competing ones, will be screened at 8pm. The showing includes 9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo (Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen, Syria, Netherlands, 2015, 13 min.), The Boats (Dominga Sotomayor, Chile, Portugal, 2015, 20 min.), Personne (Christoph Girardet, Matthias Müller, Germany, 2016, 15 min.), Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer (Keina Espiñeira, Spain, 2016, 18 min.) and Lo Sum Choe Sum / 3 Days 3 Month Retreat (Dechen Roder, Bhutan, 2015, 16 min.).

The second and last showing of the Official Section’s fourteen competing short films will be on Saturday morning, March 12, at 10am.

Bowie reappears at the festival’s billboard

El ansia, de Tony Scott, se proyectará en el Palacete Rodríguez Quegles

The Hunger, by Tony Scott, will be screened at the Rodríguez Quegles Palacete

The musician David Bowie, his musical and acting work, reappear on Thursday, March 10, within the framework of the 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival through two titles, the one scheduled at the Monopol Music Festival, David Bowie: Five Years, and the one included in the Déjà Vu section, The Hunger. Both are free-entry showings and will include a musical surprise.

David Bowie: Five Years

David Bowie: Five Years

David Bowie: Five Years, screening at 6pm at the Monopol Multiplex’s 6th screen, is a Francis Whately’s documentary, in which he reflects the five essential years in the development of this versatile artist with the involvement of his closer collaborators and valuable archive pictures.

At 8pm, at the Rodríguez Quegles Palacete, the festival’s director, Luis Miranda, will present The Hunger, a feature film by Tony Scott (Top Gun, The last Boy Scout, Crimson Tide) in which Bowie and Catherine Deneuve perform a cult film including the British band Bauhaus. Music and fantasy for a vampire story.

Twelve hours of live music at the Santa Ana Square

On Friday 11 and Saturday 12, March, Vegueta holds the concerts of Mi Capitán, Texxcoco, Fajardo, El Guincho, Boreals and Banadú within the 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival’s schedule

The 16th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival holds next Friday 11 and Saturday 12, March, two night concerts amounting to 12 hours of live music. The Musical Festival’s schedule of the Monopol Music Festival, included in this edition in the Film Festival and supported by Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s city council and Cerveza Dorada, is made up of El Guincho, as well as Boreals, Mi Capitán, Fajardo, Texxcoco and Banadú.

After bands such as Polock, Los Labios, Solo Astra, Pumuky, Egon Soda, James&Black and Red Beard, among others, MMF repeats one more edition its high-quality proposal. This year, an energetic mixture of rock, pop, electro and hip-hop music will fill Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Santa Ana Square from 8pm on the following Friday 11 and Saturday 12, March.

The first day, the scheduled performances are Fajardo, the Fuerteventura-native artist who shares his third work with Costa Rica Monte; Texxcoco, recent winner of the prestigious contest Capital Sonora, and those of the Barcelona-native Mi Capitán, one of 2016’s surprises. The following day, on Saturday, March 12, the festival will be closed by the young Gran-Canaria-native band Banadú, the Catalan-Canarian pop-electronic quartet, Boreals, and El Guincho, who is currently presenting its third album “HiperAsia” all around the world.

The food van la Allendeta and the bar Cerveza Dorada will be set up at the Santa Ana Square during the Musical Festival, too.

Kogonada and Simone Grau, at the Festival’s Workshops


Within the next few days, the Workshops of the Festival receive two prestigious figures in its program, the video artist Kogonada and the art director Simone Grau. The first one will teach a master class on Wednesday, March 9, at the Rodríguez Quegles Palacete, and his videos will be screened in the Banda à part section on Friday 11 and Saturday 12, too; the second one offers a workshop on art direction on Thursday, March 10, and Friday, March 11, at the Pérez Galdós Street’s building, seat of the festival.

Greatest exponent of a film-essay-exploring generation, Kogonada, member as well of the official jury of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival’s 16th edition, is author of certain pieces that have thousands of followers, and his works, available on Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/kogonada), are shared in social networks. Little is known about this Korea-native author of American nationality apart from his sensibility when approaching projects that reflect his particular way of looking at the cinema.

Kogonada’s short films find singularities in the eyes of different authors, from Anderson’s symmetry or Kubrick’s central vanishing point to Tarantino’s low-level shots, Bresson’s tactile world and Aronofsky’s sound.

Kogonada, according to what he revealed to the Filmmaker magazine, thinks of his work as “a way of seeing”, as a response to his father’s words, who, with a piece of wood in his hands, would tell him “to look, to see.”

Simone Grau: creativity in art direction

The express workshop on “Creativity in art direction” taught by expert Simone Grau will begin next Thursday, March 10, at the Rodríguez Quegles Palacete. Directed to people who already know the field or has some experience in it, it is a workshop that happens to be ideal, too, for those related to art direction in cinema, television, advertising or theater, as well as to filmmakers and short-film directors and art, filmmaking, production or dressing students.

Simone Grau, a regular in the fact sheet of Lars Von Trier’s films, with whom she has collaborated in titles such as Breaking the Waves, Antichrist, Dancer in the Dark or Nymphomaniac, for which she was in charge of the production design, or Melancholia, in which she worked as art director, among others. Simone Grau’s filmography includes a long list of works such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The House of the Spirits or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. 

The cost of this workshop is 50 euros, 25 if student. and its schedule is from 10am to 1:30pm and 4 to 7:30pm.To register for this workshop is required to send an email to programación@lpafilmfestival.com.