May 13, 2021

José María Otero Timón, the passion for cinema and television | Culture

José María Otero Timón, the passion for cinema and television | Culture

Intellectual wise with enormous executive capacity, exact and brilliant in the trials, José María Otero Timón wrote in his last book (The art of programming, of 2015) that his countless publications were the result of studies at the universities of Salamanca and Barcelona, ​​but above all of his relationships, for decades, with almost all the people who have created Spanish cinema, and with many of the geniuses of the called seventh universal art. Sample of those relationships is the delicious interview book Learn cinema from teachers. Dialogues with Nicholas Ray, Vittorio de Sica, François Truffaut, Vittorio Cottafavi, Francisco Rovira Beleta and Jordi Grau. He also lived for 23 years, almost always with positions, along with the greatest creators, filmmakers and producers of TVE, which he arrived by the hand of Adolfo Suárez, his intimate friend, when the future president of the Government was, between 1969 and 1973, the general director of the then only television in Spain. He was born in Toledo in 1933 and died unexpectedly last Sunday at his home in Madrid.

Tanning since he was young in the world of cinema, where he started as director of the dubbing studios Metro de Barcelona (1958-1960), he was the founder and director of the International Color Film Week, an event in Barcelona in 1959 because the films were screened in the original subtitled version, in practice without censorship, to irritate the authorities of the Ministry of Information. To make matters worse, the first Week was held without the permission of the local censorship delegate. In the following, a censor, the Jesuit Carlos Stahelin, moved from Madrid, who in the 1963 Week wanted to prohibit Landru, directed by Claude Chabrol with a screenplay by Françoise Sagan, then on the crest of fame for his novel Bonjour tristesse (Good morning sadness). They ignored him because the movie had been announced for months, so he took the train and returned to Madrid without saying goodbye.

Otero has left in writing many samples of his wisdom. In the first place, with the thesis with which he obtained his doctorate in Information Sciences, entitled State intervention mechanisms for the promotion of cinema. This industry, which is also art, owes you the best arguments on that subject. He put as irrefutable examples the models of France, Germany and Italy, countries in which the protection of cinema is a strategic value and forms part of State policies. France, with 500 million euros of aid funds; Germany, with 360, and Italy with 400 million. "The industrial character of the cinema is marked by automatic aids destined to reinvest in new films. In Spain, the aid does not reach 10% of the funds in Germany, far from the one hundred million committed a few years ago, as a state policy that was not implemented ", denounced just two years ago before the IV Seminar of the Industry Audiovisual organized by the Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón Foundation. As director of the seminar, he expressed for the last time in public the need to put pressure on politicians to create a stable framework that favors audiovisual creation. "The current indolence must end," he said.

The mere relationship of some of Otero's charges speaks of how he managed to combine intellectual work with a tenacious executive capacity. He was, for example, general director of the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA) (1996 to 2004), and one of the founders of the Hall of Image and Sound, SONIMAG. In RTVE he was secretary general (1980-81); Director of Resources, Marketing and Publications (1982-86), and Director of Commercial Operations (1988-92).

But he not only stood out as a great executive. He was also a brilliant screenwriter (A love story, The Hundred Knights, Ninette and a lord of Murcia or Bone); independent producer (Ninette and a man from Murcia Y Sunday morning) and executive producer of series for TVE, among others Christopher Columbus. He also worked as a film critic. As such, he was a member of the International Jury for many years at the film festivals of Bordighera, San Sebastián and Valladolid.

Between his books it is also possible to mention Why is cinema helped?; The new border the color, in collaboration with José Luis Guarner; and the adaptation to Spanish and notes of How a film is organized, of Libero Solaroli.


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