The Seville City Council has rectified and, finally, it will celebrate the 20th edition of its European Film Festival (SEFF) in November of this year. This has been confirmed by the mayor, the popular José Luis Sanz, after the meeting he held this Tuesday with the main entities of the Andalusian audiovisual sector, after the City Council announced last week that it was going to postpone it until spring of next year . In addition, it has promised to keep that month for the following appointments, following the recommendations of the professionals who had warned that moving it to another date would mortally wound its continuity and its prestige.
This year’s edition, however, “will be special”, as indicated by Sanz, which means that it will be shorter in time and with fewer films, but it will remain in the month of November, the date that the Academy of European Cinema had defended that it was necessary to preserve it in a letter sent this week to the president of the Andalusian Film Academy. That was the proposal with which the sector arrived at the meeting and it is the one that they have managed to start from the Consistory. “The selection will be more careful and enough to present a program that is attractive,” said the president of the Festival, Ildefonso Tito Rodríguez, who was also at the meeting. “With this new possibility of holding the festival, even if it is a special edition, we will try to bring a good selection of European cinema, which has always been seen here. It is not a question of talking about volume, but that viewers will be able to have the opportunity to continue watching quality European auteur cinema ”, he explained in relation to the main lines of what will be his first edition at the helm of the contest. .
“We are going to be able to make a nice selection and that it is set up on its dates it must be like that and it has its reason for being”, he remarked about the fact that the appointment is maintained in the month of November. In addition to the content, the final dates have yet to be specified, something that will be done hand in hand with the Andalusian Film Academy, according to the mayor. But it has been confirmed that it will be at the end of that month, so it would not coincide with the Latin Grammy Awards gala and the week of events that accompanies it, which was the official excuse offered by the City Council when it announced that would move this year’s appointment to spring 2024 for being “incompatible” with the splendor of the Latin Recording Academy awards. This will also allow time to close the necessary contracts related to the organization of the event.
Technical issues and not the Grammys
There are technical planning issues that seem to have been behind the initial decision to suspend this edition. The absence of a permanent structure that supports the main Sevillian cultural programs, including the European Film Festival, means that all the positions linked to its organization have to be put out to tender every year, which in the case of the SEFF means around 90 people. It was at the end of June when the then newly appointed director of the event presented the technical report to the new municipal government team, as he himself acknowledged after the meeting on Tuesday. The deadlines for the tenders were very tight, but a cut in size facilitates hiring and the possibility of maintaining the November date of this year because the personnel needed is less and the items are reduced, indicate municipal sources.
The mayor has made it clear in his speech that he advocates that the SEFF become more linked to the city and “recover the international relevance” that, according to him, has been lost. A premise that Rodríguez also shares, who has conveyed his intention to continue leading the festival for which he was appointed at the beginning of May after the unexpected abandonment of his predecessor, José Luis Cienfuegos. “Any festival wants to continue growing, stabilizing, positioning itself and evolving, that is always the goal. Being more international and being better does not mean showing more films either”, indicated Rodríguez, who gave the latest edition of the Berlinale as an example, in which the number of films has been reduced. “But the idea is that the festival continues to grow and it cannot be otherwise. If I said otherwise, I shouldn’t be here”, he added, making clear his firm commitment to the projection of European and Spanish cinema, especially Andalusian – whose absence in recent editions had been criticized by part of the sector.
The rectification by the Consistory is a victory for the Andalusian audiovisual sector, which, beyond the change of dates, had been surprised and annoyed by the fact that it had not been previously consulted with it. The meeting on Tuesday was attended by the Andalusian Film Academy, various organizations of creators, producers and professionals linked to cinema included in the Andalusian Association of Fiction, Documentary, Animation and Serial Film Producers (Ancine) and the Association of Audiovisual Film Companies (Aedava). They all came willing to find a solution to guarantee the survival of the SEFF and keep its date and they have succeeded: “Seville continues to have its festival. This year we are going to do a special edition and it will continue to maintain its dates, in November 2024 and this year in November 2023,” remarked Marta Velasco, the president of the Andalusian Film Academy.
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