The XXI Almería International Film Festival, FICAL 2022, was officially presented today in Madrid, in the Flagship Store building of Movistar Plus+, on Gran Vía in the Spanish capital. The event was attended by a large number of prominent national audiovisual professionals, including actors, directors and producers, who showed their support for the province’s main film event, organised by the Almería Provincial Council.
FICAL has surprised in Madrid with its competitive proposal that integrates sections featuring the main audiovisual formats such as feature films in ‘Opera Prima’; series, with the national competition and the international ‘Almería en corto’ (Almería in short). The presenter of the event, Jaime Astrain, emphasised that “the Provincial Council, the first Spanish institution to create a specific Culture and Film area, shows its commitment to this art form through the most ambitious FICAL, with more screenings and guests than ever before”.
The President of the Provincial Council, Javier Aureliano García, said that “being here today is essential because it confirms our festival as one of the most important in the country and one of enormous international prestige”, and thanked “our host, Movistar Plus+, who made a commitment to FICAL years ago, and the other sponsors, collaborators, institutions, companies and individuals who make the great film festival of Almería possible every year”.
In this regard, the president highlighted the variety and quality of FICAL’s activities and the three major tributes with this year’s ‘Almería, tierra de cine’ Award, which will be received by the actresses Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Elena Anaya and María de Medeiros, adding a star with their names on the Almería Walk of Fame in front of the Cervantes Theatre, and the Award of Honour in the series competition for the actress Loles León.
Finally, Javier Aureliano García stressed that the history of the festival, its comprehensive programme, the films in competition and the stars taking part “have led us to be the prelude to the Goya Awards and a veritable talisman for the films competing for the New Director Award. Up to 6 winning feature films from FICAL went on to win this Goya. I invite you to experience this edition of FICAL, we are working with enthusiasm to make it the best in history”.
The Mayoress of Almería, María del Mar Vázquez, has stated that “betting on film is betting on an industry that in Almería creates jobs, creates wealth and is an excellent promotional platform for viewers from all over the world to come to know and enjoy our land. Thanks to the work of many professionals, the collaboration between administrations and the showcase provided by FICAL, Almería is experiencing another golden age of filming. In 2022, 62 productions have been shot in some of the incredible natural areas of our province, which is 24% more than last year. Of these, twenty have included the streets of our city. For this reason, the Almería City Council is providing more facilities to production companies, and we have signed two collaboration agreements for the exemption of municipal taxes corresponding to filming permits.
Finally, María Vázquez confessed that “we are very excited about this twenty-first edition of FICAL, and with the luxury of being able to count on three actresses of such stature as Aitana Sánchez Gijón, Elena Anaya and María de Medeiros, to brighten our Walk of Fame with their respective stars”.
For his part, the delegate of Tourism, Culture and Sport of the Junta de Andalucía, José Vélez, said that “cinema is an opportunity to continue generating employment, as well as being a very important pillar for projecting our destinations internationally”. Furthermore, Vélez stressed that “the Andalusian Government supports this Festival from different perspectives because it is a benchmark within the film industry and the world of cinema”.
The delegate wanted to publicly “congratulate the Provincial Council of Almería for continuing to promote FICAL year after year, making it an unmissable event for lovers of the seventh art”. Finally, he added that “Andalusia is firmly committed to the audiovisual industries and Almería is one of the most important driving forces not only in our region but also at national level”.
The director of FICAL, Enrique Iznaola, also spoke in the same vein, underlining the variety and quality of the film-related proposals promoted by the festival as a meeting point for industry professionals, the public and the people of Almería in the sector. He also recalled that the round tables and other activities are broadcast live on the institution’s social networks, enabling FICAL to go beyond the borders of the province to reach a much wider audience.
The presentation of FICAL in Madrid was attended by renowned film and television professionals such as Juan Diego Botto, Ana Álvarez, Mercedes Sampietro, Montxo Armendáriz, Nerea Barros, Vicky Luengo, Irene Arcos Mina El Hamani, Ruth Gabriel, Ruth Díaz, Ana Fernández, Borja Cobeaga, Javier Pereira, Rosario Pardo and Eva Almaya, among many others.
Four galas and four tributes
FICAL 2022 will feature four spectacular galas, each of them paying tribute to an actress, with the festival highlighting the role of women in film this year. The Opening Gala will be held this Friday, 18 November, from 21:00 hours in the Maestro Padilla Auditorium with Elena Sánchez as host. At this gala, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón will receive the ‘Almería, tierra de cine’ Award and, in the morning, she will unveil her star on the Walk of Fame. Sánchez-Gijón filmed in Almería ‘El pájaro de la felicidad’, by Pilar Miró, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
The next gala will be on Wednesday 23 November, from 21:00, at the Teatro Cervantes with the Almeria audiovisual night presented by Jaime Astrain. The accent of the land and the talent of its professionals will be the protagonists of an event that will have an exceptional guest, the actress Elena Anaya, who will receive the ‘Almería, tierra de cine’ Award and, that morning, will inaugurate the star with her name on the Paseo de la Fama de Almería. Anaya starred in Imanol Uribe’s ‘Lejos del mar’ in Almería.
On Friday 25 November, at 21:00 hours at the Teatro Cervantes, the gala of the ‘Almería en corto’ International Short Film Festival, the parent section of FICAL, will be presented by Elena Sánchez. The actress Loles León will be honoured with the Special Honour Award of the National Series Competition.
Finally, the 21st edition of FICAL will bid farewell on Saturday, 26 November at 21:00 with the Closing Gala with the awards of the ‘Opera Prima’ section and the National Series Competition, presented by Cayetana Guillén Cuervo. At the closing ceremony, the ‘Almería, tierra de cine’ Award will go to the actress and director María de Medeiros, who starred in the Italian film ‘Honolulu baby’ in Almería.
Awards for ‘La Unidad’ and ‘Amar es para siempre’.
The Filming Almería Award recognises the work of dissemination of the province of Almería as a set for the filming of any audiovisual format. In 2022 it has been awarded to the third season of the series ‘La Unidad’, which was filmed in different locations in Almería last September. This action series is produced by Buendía Estudios for Movistar Plus+ and its cast includes performers such as Nathalie Poza. Other special awards will also be presented at FICAL 2022, such as the award for the series ‘Amar es para siempre’, and the Canal SUR Award for director Alexis Morante.
The Honour Award in the Series Competition went to ‘Amar es para siempre’. This award recognises a television production that has made history in the Spanish audiovisual industry. This Atresmedia series, produced by Diagonal TV, is a must-see from Monday to Friday for millions of viewers all over the country.
Tabernas Desert Award
The European Film Academy (EFA) has awarded the Desierto de Tabernas the title of ‘Treasure of European Film Culture’. With these awards, the EFA highlights places of a symbolic nature for European cinema and of historical value that should be preserved and protected not only now but also for future generations. The unveiling of the monolith will take place on 19 November at 11 a.m. at the Oasys Mini Hollywood.