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Carlos Iglesias demands more aid for independent cinema in the City of Benalmádena Prize of the 20th Ficcab

The International Festival of Short Films and Alternative Cinema of Benalmádena (Ficcab) last night closed its 20th edition, two decades in which it has gained an important space in the concert of film festivals, surpassing national borders and attracting the views of countries from all over the world, as the provenance of the works shows each year participants.

This strategy of the Benalmadan festival of discovering new talents or directors who make their first film, -who are from any corner of the world-, or those who continue to make films with a firm low budget in the face of any adversity, perhaps stands as a hallmark of their success then, the triumphs of these new directors, of those unknown films or short films, in some way, they become the triumphs of the Ficcab.

At the same time, the Benalmádena  Festival also awards La Niña de Benalmádena, an icon of the city, to distinguished celluloid personalities. Last night, the precious Niña benalmadense went to the house of the great Madrid actor, screenwriter and director Carlos Iglesias.

Sometimes one thinks: Blessed coincidences! And we say it because that is how Iglesias entered the world of acting, by pure chance. A friend fell ill and asked him to replace him in his role in an independent theater group and from there they already know the story: from the successful television series Manos a la obra, who broke audience records, at his acting in movies like El caballero Don Quijote, Ninette, Holmes and Watson: Madrid Days or Abuelos, until his job as director of Un Franco, 14 pesetas, 2 Francos, 40 pesetas -both on the life of emigrants outside of Spain-, La suite nupcial, who also stars, or Ispansi!.

The Ficcab rewards the talent but also the courage of those who invest their money and, their time, in the art of telling stories through the big screen. The public does not get to see that part behind the celluloid, especially the alternative. Iglesias himself did not hesitate to reveal that “there are people who have gone bankrupt, who have sold their house, but have not had enough money for publicity and the film has died even before it was born, losing their home, their savings …”.

He confesses that, even being a public figure, “it took me five years to get a movie out. If no one knows you, nor do they read you… “. The Madrilenian did not hesitate to put on the table the lack of public investment in Spain in matters of Culture and he gave an example to France, which before the pandemic “supported its cinema, through the French Ministry of Culture, with 638 million euros, and Spain provided that same year, on behalf of Culture, 27 million euros. We want to participate in the same festivals and same awards, but it is impossible ”.

The Madrid-born filmmaker did not hesitate to affirm that “our cultural world in Spain is a shame”. However, in relation to the trade, he acknowledged that “no one has forced us to choose this profession and, once you are inside, there is no other more beautiful.”

When collecting the award Iglesias joked that “he did not know if the award was given to him for having introduced the gotelé – in reference to his famous role as Benito in the series Manos a la Obra- or for having made films”, thanked Ficcab for the recognition and returned to vindicate the need for more support from governments to the artistic world.

Last night, the winners of the official section of Ficcab also passed through the red carpet of the Benalmadense House of Culture. Regarding the cinematographic record of this year, Mirage by Sil van der Woerd, monopolized four of the awards. Specifically, the Award for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Screenplay and the Second Award in the Official Short Films Section.

Its director, who could not travel from the Netherlands, was present through a video in which he greatly appreciated the jury’s recognition and congratulated the winner of the short film contest, an award that went to Imposible decirte adiós of Yolanda Centeno, and that it was delivered by Pilar Ramírez, Benalmádena councilor for Popular Celebrations and Traditions.

Centeno collected the award accompanied by her co-writer and partner, Jesús Luque. Together they explained that this work was born from a personal experience. He is divorced with a son and, as he explained, “one day my son asked Yolanda what would happen if we separated and that was when we thought about telling the story of those people who land in families with children and break up after years, and what happens to them if that child disappears from their lives ”.

Actor Jaime Ordóñez received the Best Performance Award for his role in Mi condición, directed by Coke Arijo. The interpreter thanked his director “for his persistence in participating in the work because he caught us shooting the first, second and third waves of the pandemic, but even with all the obstacles that occurred along the way, he bet on me.”

The Premio al Mejor Cortometraje Malagueño –sponsored by the Cine Club Más Madera– fell on At Last  of José Vega, who thanked “Ficcab’s generosity and hospitality” and dedicated the award to his in-laws and his partner, who is also the producer, “for unconditionally supporting him in all his projects.”

For his part, Councilor for Culture, Pablo Centella, returned to emphasize the importance of the Ficcab for Benalmádena as a strong point of the local culture “on the way of establishing the city as a reference and cultural capital of the Costa del Sol” and  highlighted the need  that the festival “has a long life and do not depend, as happened at other times, on the political ups and downs ”.

And here came the closing gala of this edition of Ficcab, presented with art and acid humor, which made the winners and the public laugh out loud, by comedians Paco Calavera and Kikín Fernández. Those present said goodbye to the 20th edition of Ficcab with the viewing of Ispansi!, directed by and co-starring Carlos Iglesias, and they left the Casa de la Cultura wanting more cinema, wondering with what surprises the great Ficcab.

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