The Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival (ESFF) will kick off its tenth edition at the end of this month with a season of 17 films and events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, and Inverness.
This year’s ESFF devotes a special section in its programme to commemorate the Spanish transition to democracy, the historical period between 1975 and 1982 also known in Spain simply as “La Transición”. It includes the late Carlos Saura’s Raise Ravens (1976), made during this historic period and contemporary titles from up-and-coming Spanish directors.
Professor Nuria Capdevilla (director), as part of a broader project CartasVivas, will present three shorts profiling female activists for women’s education, who had to flee Spain at the start of the Spanish Civil War.
The ESFF will screen the film Carreteras secundarias or Backroads (1997) a father-son roadtrip film set at the end of the Franco era. Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, who adapted his own novel, will share insights into writing stories in a historical context, in a linked creative writing masterclass.
In Prison 77 (2022), Alberto Rodríguez explores the fight for a general amnesty for Franco-era prisoners, while Silvia Munt’s In the Company of Women (2023) addresses the fight for feminist activists in the Basque Country, and the awakening of lesbian love.
In a similar vein, Alejandro Marín conveys the discrimination faced by the first openly queer activists in Andalusia with a comic twist in his feature film debut The Craziest Love (2023).
Organisers say that all these films celebrate the spirit of resistance and resilience of post-Francoist Spain that lives on through today’s plural and multicultural Spanish society.
Emerging filmmakers are represented by Avelina Prat with Vasil (2022), a comedy centred on a Bulgarian immigrant in Valencia, and Álvaro Gago with the female-led, working-class drama Matria (2022) based on the coast of Galicia.
The ESFF encompasses both native Spanish and Latin filmmakers, with Peruvian director Víctor Checa’s steampunk sci-fi The Shape of Things to Come (2022), and, from Bolivia, Alejandro Loayza's contemplative, rural drama Utama (2022).
The last film debut, and the festival’s closing title, is 20,000 Species of Bees (2023) by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, a drama centred on a trans child’s quest for identity and acceptance in the Basque Country.
This year’s programme also includes an unprecedented (and humorous) spotlight on the sexual life of a person with cerebral palsy with Fernando Franco’s The Rite of Spring (2022).
Contemporary Spanish comedies also include Stories Not To Be Told (2022), the latest ensemble-led hit from established auteur Cesc Gay, and Not Such An Easy Life (2023), a tale of a family with a lost, mid-live crisis father, by up-and-coming director Félix Viscarret.
Recent Spanish commercial and critical hits featuring at the festival are Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s rural thriller The Beasts (2022), Alauda Ruiz de Azúa’s family drama Lullaby (2022), and Fernando León de Aranoa’s corporate satire The Good Boss (2021).
Parents and their children will also be able to enjoy the latest Spanish family hit The Kids Are Alright 2 (2022) directed by Inés de León.
ESFF is also hosting a Wine Tasting event featuring a selection of six wines from Galician company Bodegas Martín Códax.
Marian A. Aréchaga, Director ESFF said:
“I am thrilled to be presenting the 10 anniversary of this Film Festival bringing the best of Spanish and Latin American film titles to Scotland. It has been, and is an incredible experience to share thoughts, views and ideas with directors, colleagues,he students and wonderful interpreters who make the whole thing possible. “
Screening and Event Locations
- Edinburgh: Institut Français Écosse / French Institute of Scotland (W Parliament Square), Odeon (118 Lothian Rd), Central Library (George IV Bridge)
- Glasgow: GFT (12 Rose St)
- Stirling: Macrobert Arts Centre (University of Stirling)
- Inverness: Eden Court Cinema (Bishops Rd)
- Films: full price (£10), concession (£6)
- Wine Tasting: full price (£35), concession (£28)
The ESFF is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Embassy in London, the University of Edinburgh, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and Screen Scotland.