Assessment of an extraordinary autumn of cinema in Granada

In just three months, five feature-length documentaries and one fiction film about local topics have been released

Between September and November, Granada hosted the premieres of six film productions with the collaboration of the Provincial Council of Granada, through the film office Film in Granada and the Provincial Tourism Board. They are five feature-length documentaries and one fiction project, which promote the province’s appearance, both nationally and internationally, and more specifically, the heritage, traditions and personalities of Granada’s culture. The construction of the Alhambra, life in the Vega of Granada, the origin of the 1922 Cante Jondo Competition and the biographies of Ibn al-Khatib, José Val del Omar and Mariano Fortuny Madrazo are some of the topics covered.

Director Rocío Mesa introduced her film at the Isabel la Católica Theatre in Granada on Tuesday 25 October. Photo: Eva López / Film in Granada

The only fiction project is the film “Tobacco barns”, the first work of the local director Rocío Mesa, which deals with two parallel stories that take place between tobacco barns during a summer tinged with magical realism. Produced by La Claqueta PC, Amplitud, La Cruda Realidad, Secaderos La Película A.I.E. and Un Capricho de Producciones, it had its world premiere on 18 September in the New Directors section of the 70th edition of San Sebastian International Film Festival, where its director received the Dunia Ayaso Award.

Shooting crew of the cast of “Tobacco barns”. Photo: Eva López/ FIG

It was also the opening film of the 28th edition of the Granada Film Fest on 25 October. “Tobacco Barns” was shot over six weeks during the summer of 2021 in various locations in the Vega of Granada and was supported by the Provincial Tourism Board of Granada and the collaboration of the film office Film in Granada of the Provincial Council.

Institutional photo with the President of the Provincial Council, José Entrena, the Provincial Deputy of Culture, Fátima Gómez, and the mayors and councillors of the Vega of Granada. Photo: Eva López / FIG

In the documentary genre, “The builders of the Alhambra“, a feature film directed by Isabel Fernández and starring the Egyptian actor Amr Waked, describes the construction of the Nasrid monument and deals with the social, cultural and economic context of Granada in the 14th century, through the politician, vizier and poet Ibn al-Khatib (Loja, 1313- Fez 1374). Produced by Al Pati Produccions and Polar Star Films, with the sponsorship of the Provincial Tourism Board and the collaboration of Film in Granada, it was released in cinemas on 25 November, following its screening at the Valladolid International Film Festival (SEMINCI) and its preview in Granada on Thursday 17 November.

Premiere at Ocine Serrallo in Granada, on Thursday 17 November. Photo: Lucía Rivas / PAG
Institutional photograph with the Provincial Council of Culture, Fátima Gómez, the Provincial Council of Tourism, Enrique Medina, the director Isabel Fernández and the actor Amr Waked. Photo: Eva López / FIG

In addition, “Val del Omar, poeta audiovisual“, a documentary directed by Jesús Ponce and produced by Magnetika Films, with the collaboration of Film in Granada, premiered on 27 October as part of the Granada Film Fest and explores the influence on cinema of one of the most important Andalusian filmmakers of the 20th century, José Val del Omar (Granada, 1904- Madrid, 1982). The film was selected in November for the Panorama Andaluz section of the Seville European Film Festival.

The director Jesús Ponce talks with the musicians Antonio and Ángel Arias. Photo: Eva López / FIG
Opening at the Palacio Condes de Gabia with the Provincial Council of Culture, Fátima Gómez, the director Jesús Ponce, the producer Pilar Crespo and the heads of the Val del Omar Archive, Gonzalo Sáenz de Buruaga and Piluca Baquero. Photo: Eva López / FIG

Local filmmaker José Sánchez-Montes has brought two new creations to the big screen, both with the help of the local production companies Siesta Producciones and Rokyn Animation and with the collaboration of Film in Granada. On the one hand, “Cante Jondo, Granada 1922“, a feature-length documentary that combines live action and animation and traces the history of flamenco, on the occasion of the centenary of the Cante Jondo Contest organised by Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca. The documentary was presented at the Lorca Centre on 29 September before its premiere at the Seville European Film Festival, in the Panorama Andaluz section.

Opening at the Lorca Center on Thursday 29 September. Photo: Eva López / FIG

On the other hand, Sanchez-Montes has also premiered “El universo en una caja“, a biographical documentary about the figure of the artist Mariano Fortuny Madrazo (Granada 1871-Venice, 1949) born in Granada and considered the Leonardo Da Vinci of the 20th century. The Lorca Centre hosted its preview on 16 September and the Granada audience were the first to see the performance of Nerea Barros, winner of a Goya award in 2015, and the choreography of the dancer Eva Yerbabuena. The documentary was broadcast on La 2 as part of the programme “Imprescindibles” (RTVE) on Sunday 13 November.

Institutional photograph at the Lorca Centre with the president of the Provincial Council, José Entrena, the Provincial Deputy of Culture, Fátima Gómez, the Delegate of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía, Fernando Egea, the director José Sánchez-Montes, the actress Nerea Barros and the historian María del Mar Villafranca. Photo: Eva López / FIG

Finally, with Granada as the setting and the flamenco dancer Fuensanta “La Moneta” as the protagonist, the film “Frente al Silencio” by Emilio R. Barrachina is halfway between documentary and fiction. The film, based on a book by Félix Grande, places the spectator between the beauty of flamenco and the horror of the Holocaust as a language that liberates the most intense emotions. Produced by Hemisphere Films together with Tolocha Producciones, the premiere of the film in Granada took place on 3 October in the Sala Máxima of the Espacio V Centenario at the University of Granada. The feature film has the support of Film in Granadaoffice and has been screened at around twenty international film festivals, where it has won several awards and has received a warm reception from the audience.

Presentation at the Sala Máxima of the University of Granada on Monday 3 October, with the presence of the director Emilio R. Barrachina, Fuensanta “La Moneta” and the rest of the cast. Photo: Eva López / FIG