Distinctive Spanish Docs Set for Cannes Limelight

Cannes Docs highlights Spain as part of its Docs in Progress program, featuring four documentaries that range from the avant-garde to the introspective.

Spain’s doc filmmakers have labored to establish international footing — battling the stigma that the category is made up of dry narratives, productions strive for the robust funding granted to fiction. “There’s still a negative connotation that the documentary’s something purely informative, expository or boring. It’s a state of mind that affects the public, but more importantly the distribution and exhibition. We’ve the great challenge of explaining that yes, the documentary has a cinematographic, narrative and emotional treatment comparable to ‘real cinema,’” says Rafa Molés of Suica Films.

Increasingly, docs have blurred borders, to positive effect.

“Since the democratization of digital devices at the beginning of this century and creation of the first specialized documentary studios in our country from the 2000s to present, documentaries are increasingly porous, open to hybridization with fiction [and] other artistic disciplines,” says Alejandro Alvarado and Concha Barquero, directors of “A Film By Fernando Ruiz Vergara.”

“Many critics and researchers agree that documentary film’s been a true laboratory, it’s also produced the most suggestive, groundbreaking titles in Spanish cinema in recent decades,” they add.

J. Alberto Andrés Lacasta of Du Cardelin Studio notes: “Luckily, the growing boom in documentary and influence of some of the best film schools in Spain has led to a large diversification in trends, transcending the traditional biographical or journalistic documentary.”

Spain’s talent has seized on heightened audience interest, with streaming giants broadening their nonfiction catalogs.

“It’s not a minor genre, not just a springboard to jump into fiction,” says Zuri Goikoetxea and Ainhoa Andraka of Doxa Producciones. “Perhaps it’s due to deliberate commitment of the institutions to documentary, to the large plat- forms broadcasting documentary series that are known worldwide. ‘Making a Murderer,’ ‘Wild Wild Country’ and ‘Tiger King’ have become true social phenomena, enabling the public to connect with nonfiction stories. Series and films are being shot with techniques more typical of documentary, that give the scenes natural freshness, making us think that in this post-truth era, the audience is thirsty for stories based in reality.”

The Spanish Docs in Progress program includes:

A Tree Is a Tree

DIRECTORS: CARLOS MARQUES-MARCET, ALEIX PLADEMUNT

PRODUCER: RAFA MOLES (SUICA FILMS)

Tackling the colonizing nature of humanity, the film bends reality, and outlines the blight humans place upon pristine landscapes. SXSW winner Marqués-Marcet (“10,000 Km”) directs.

Itoiz Summer Sessions

DIRECTOR: LARRAITZ ZUAZ

PRODUCERS: AINHOA ANDRAKA, ZURI GOIKOETXEA (DOXA PRODUCCIONES)

Juan Carlos Pérez, frontman of Basque band Itoiz, recounts their early breakup after discovering unpublished recordings and takes a cathartic journey from the nascent years of the progressive rock group through all its iterations.

The Remnants of the Pass

DIRECTORS: ALFREDO PICAZO, LUIS SOTO

PRODUCERS: JOSÉ ALBERTO ANDRÉS LACASTA (DU CARDELIN STUDIO), DANIEL PEÑA BARREDO (MUBOX STUDIO)

In this tribute to childhood, a man recalls poignant moments that marked his youth, observing Holy Week in a remote village in Córdoba and the era that nudged him from adolescence into adulthood.

A Film by Fernando Ruiz Vergara

DIRECTORS: CONCHA BARQUERO, ALEJANDRO ALVARADO

PRODUCERS: SARA SÀNCHEZ, JOSÉ M. RODRÍGUEZ (AZHAR MEDIA), ALEJANDRO ALVARADO

A posthumous tribute to Ruiz Vergara, a filmmaker whose 1981 first feature doc “Rocio,” which explored the economic interests behind the Andalusian religious procession, was banned from local distribution and its director slapped with a huge fine for implicating a co-founder of the Brotherhood of Rocío in Nationalist atrocities during the Spanish Civil War.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *