«The festival attends to new habits, but is not subordinated to them»
Watching independent films, in theaters and in a certain order are some of the attractions of the festival that starts on April 22Luis Miranda Director of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival
The Cinesa of El Muelle Shopping Center and the Miller room for the Camera Obscura cycle concentrate the projections of a festival with
a smaller number of titlesrecognizes Luis Miranda, director of a 21st edition that takes place between April 22 and May 1.
In the presentation of this 21st edition, he said that it is a more condensed delivery and adapted to health circumstances. Is the reduction in the number of scheduled titles also due to new consumption habits? Are you worried that fewer and fewer people are going to the screening rooms?
-It worries me but it doesn't make me sleepy. Every festival is a medium. It makes no sense to deny the changes that occur in reality. Nor offer resistance by hiding your head. Nobody really knows anything. What is clear is that habits have changed and they have done so because the offer is vast. But that offer is messy. It doesn't affect me too much if there is a large, medium or small audience depending on the film. I'm a little more concerned with what I consider to be a 20th century culture, because cinephilia is breaking away from the culture at large. Cinema is less relevant as an art form that has its history and its character.
Is it no longer an event like the premiere of a new film by an established filmmaker?
-Usually not. It had been seen coming for many years. People older than us have been saying it since the 70s. Also because they lived through a time when the role of the author was enormous. That has not stopped falling. Now it is more striking when you meet young people, because they have another type of audiovisual culture. I consider this as a jazz fan who defends all that culture that he has inherited.
In any case, the young public has never been a big fan of this festival.
Yes, but you have to refine it. We had a very young but very specific audience that ended up being, to a greater or lesser extent, professionals within the cinema. Both in making films and programming them.
But we are talking about an audience that was mostly of an age. Hardly a university student was seen in the rooms...
-About 2008 or so we had a university attendance of 14%. At that time it scared us, because at festivals like Gijón or Seville the attendance of that type of public was enormous. Now in festivals like the ones I have named, the university and young public is also very much in the minority. It's just that now, without leaving home, you have everything. You don't have to go crazy. Anyone who wants to see them will come to see the movies. There is no need to dramatize and it must be taken into account that every festival is an experiment with the public, with its demographics and habits. The festival must be designed taking these changes into account, but not subordinating itself to them. One of the axioms that we handle is that movies have power. What we have are movies and what they need is an audience. Our mission is to look for it or propose them. But until there. We are mediators. Even the authors are mediators, what matters is what we are going to see on the screen. Everything else comes in addition, including the public, of course, since without it the films have no meaning.
Perhaps one of the hooks to attract the public is that it is difficult to see most of what you program on a platform?
-Some, yes. You have to be honest. They are more and more. But we offer big screen. Cinema. That is essential. Second, a certain order, an articulation to see that cinema. It is not just a container. There is a certain speech, latent, implicit and honest. I like to insist that we have a great vocation for the history of cinema. Although it sounds academic. It is crucial for us. It is a consumer product that, even if it is exquisite, rare or peculiar... connects with that history of cinema that is never completely written.
There are no concerts on this 21st. Is it because of the pandemic or because of not being counterprogrammed?
-We wanted to concentrate a lot on the Camera Obscura section. And although it seems that we are emerging from the pandemic, there are certain issues that are not clear to us. When we started planning this edition there were less clear things. In practice, it is a pandemic festival because we did not even know the capacity that we would have and the schedules are conditioned. It is a little nocturnal festival and that is because of the pandemic. It was planned for a long time and the concerts entered into what could be or not be. We had plans and we keep them for the future. It consists of making projections and concerts. A kind of complementary double program.
They enhance Camera Obscura even making it star in the inauguration.
Yes, it will be a very simple act. Twenty minutes and send the film with live music.
When it comes to selecting titles, has the 2020 production break been noticed or was it more evident in last year's edition?either?
-It was more evident in 2021. With the slowdown in 2020, the big festivals of 2021 were like a thrombus, with very powerful films. This was noted in the gap that is now more evident between the high quality of what is programmed at the big festivals and what the others offer. The step is higher than ten or five years ago. Before we could grab a couple of films that could be in the Official Section of Cannes. Now it is unthinkable. It depends on many factors. I am concerned, more than the platforms, about festival inbreeding. Most of the cinema that reaches us has been conceived in the festivals themselves and follows four or five stylistic and narrative paths, which are the same as always. The co-productions, which are vital to carry out risky products, many times what they do is remove the risk.
Do you perceive a greater trend or predominance of narration compared to greater visual experimentation?
-For a decade or more, there is a greater tendency towards more classic narratives. In general, the canon is still a certain kind of realism. In this year's Official Section there is more conversational cinema than narrative. Interaction and conversation predominate more than classic narrative structures.
The Panorama section features the new film by Canarian filmmaker Samuel M. Delgado and Galician director Helena Girón, who have won several times in the short films section of Canarias Cinema. Is it a reflection of the maturity of local production?
-Rather of their maturity. They have been working for years on a very coherent line, which has to do with an imaginary ethnographic cinema with a certain scientific component. They follow a natural development. His film lives up to what Panorama Spain represents.
It does not appear in the Official Selection because it was already released in Spain.
Yes, it could have been. It is logical that they do not premiere here. If the film has potential, you take it out. It is healthier for the film that its first recognitions be achieved abroad.