Almería Western Film Festival (AWFF), Tabernas Film Festival, will honour director Mateo Gil (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1972) for his film ‘Blackthorn’ (Spain, 2011) with the ‘Spirit of the West’ award. This new award joins the festival’s honorary prizes to recognise the careers of film professionals who have helped to maintain and renew the wéstern in recent decades. During his career, the filmmaker has won four Goya awards and has a wide-ranging filmography of different registers.
Mateo Gil became known thanks to his work as a scriptwriter in films by Alejandro Amenábar such as ‘Tesis’ (1996), ‘Abre los ojos’ (1997) and ‘Mar adentro’ (2004). In parallel, he has developed a career as a film and series director that alternates all kinds of genres: thriller in ‘Nadie conoce a Nadie’ (1999), science fiction in ‘Proyecto Lázaro’ (2017), comedy in ‘Las leyes de la termodinámica’ (2018) and of course, the wéstern in ‘Blackthorn’ (2011). His latest work is the series ‘The Favourites of Midas’ (2020) released worldwide on Netflix.
The award ceremony will take place during the festival’s closing ceremony on 11 October and will be attended by ‘Blackthorn’ screenwriter Miguel Barros, among others. Gil has been one of the few Spanish filmmakers who has dared to take on the wéstern genre, and his film celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The film, shot in spectacular landscapes of the Bolivian altiplano, stars the legendary Sam Shepard alongside a cast that includes names such as Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea and the then unknown Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (‘Game of Thrones’).