Spanish film agency ICAA, under its Just Spainted label, is presenting its 2cool4school shorts selection at Cannes’ Short Film Corner. The showcase includes graduation works from Spain’s freshest talents, trained at its most prestigious cinema schools such as Madrid’s ECAM, Barcelona’s Escac and UAB, Valencia’s Fine Arts University and the Basque Country’s Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, among others.
Bellow, a drill down on the titles in the new Spanish talent showcase:
“A Dance for the End of the World” (Paula González, Gloria Gutiérrez, Andrés Santacruz Diaz)
It’s summer 2020 and Madrid is one of the world’s strictest lockdowns after having been hit hard by COVID-19. Two young people, a boy and a girl, are stuck at home during the state of emergency and meet online before setting off on an imaginary journey through place and time, envisaging dance clubs and 17th century smallpox medical facilities while getting to know one another through exchanged messages. The story is told explicitly through onscreen text, and we never actually see the film’s protagonists, only their imagined selves. The “Dance at the End of the World” was choreographed at Madrid’s ECAM film school.
“Big Box” (Nuria Torreño)
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Shot through with an occasional Looney Tune sense of physical comedy, an animated short that is bursting with buoyant whimsy – from its pop-out colors to jangling jazz score and its concept: What if feelings could be dispatched, DHL-style? A messenger guy gets to deliver the biggest box ever seen at his company, carrying a huge amount of rebellious hurt feelings to a man living a reclusive life at the top of a towering mountain peak. Directed by Torreño, at the Polytechnic U. of Valencia.
“The Cloudy Sky” (Santiago Bravo Escudero)
Santiago Bravo follows a truck driver on a trip after the population has been confined to their homes during the pandemic. As he crosses the Spanish peninsula’s lonesome landscapes, the driver’s concern for his loved ones grows, mirrored by his sense of forlornness. A documentary chronicling these gray times through the daily life of a worker, the depiction of his psychological evolution elevates the film narratively and dramatically, produced out of the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (Elías Querejeta Film School).
“Goodnight Mr. Ted.” (Nicolás Solé)
Written and directed by Nicolás Solé, from the Escola de Cinema de Barcelona, an ambitious B & W hand-drawn animation, channeling “Toy Story” vibes, as it recounts how a young boy’s teddy bear wages epic battles every night with a monster with needle claws who wants to kidnap the teddy’s child, while his young master sleeps on obliviously. “It’s a movie about purpose, beauty and, in the end, disappointment,” says Solé.
“The Journey, 1988” (Claudia Pineda Mesquida)
Trained at Vigo’s Fine Arts University, Claudia Pineda plunges into the H8 footage shot by her grandmother on a trip to China in 1988, a year before the Tiananmen massacre. An experimental work in the wake of Nuria Giménez Lorang’s master work “My Mexican Bretzel,” “The Journey” is “a personal meditation of the meaning of travelling” –per director’s words– which manages to establish an intergenerational wistful dialogue through a first and agile essay.
“The Lost Frisbee” (Miguel Galván, María Pareja)
Soft toned 2D animation is used for this rural tale set in a house in a pine forest, as a near-to-tears daughter gets her frisbee stuck in the upper branches of a tall tree and her father determines to do anything to get it down. A situational comedy with an undeniable quality to its animation, it was made by Miguel Galván and María Pareja at Madrid’s U-Tad University Center of Technology and Digital Art, which produced the short.
“Madrid, Bad Life” (Ignacio Ruiz, Isabela Bianchi, Pablo Adiego Almudévar, María Gómez)
A fresh coat of paint is applied to the 1901 book “La mala vida en Madrid,” a classist, outdated text that sadly doesn’t sound unfamiliar to modern day ears. Passages from the book are narrated over images of modern-day Madrid, particularly its lower-income neighborhoods. In the text, originally commissioned as a sociological study at the turn of the 20th century, people are compared to vermin and parasites, and it is proposed that the dredges of society are predictable based on several superficial criteria. The short is shot and framed as if it were being seen through a slide projector, giving a sense of timelessness, giving the impression that judgmental bigotry is timeless.
“Silence Club” (Irene Albanell Mellado)
From Barcelona’s Escac Irene Albanell follows 10-year-old Martina spending time with her mom Alejandra. All between them is harmony and chemistry. However their relationship muddles because of Alejandra’s calamitous acquaintance with drugs. Family drama is depicted with tenderness and detailed naturalism. Approaching to the point of view of the child, a heartbreaking story that manages to ellude social radiography or simple sentimentalism.
“In Spite of Ourselves” (Olatz Ovejero Alfonso, Clara López, Aurora Báez, Sebastián Ramírez)
In 2020, a chemical explosion at the Industrias Químicas de Óxido de Etileno (IQOXE) ethylene oxide facility in Tarragona killed two and injured eight. This documentary short combines archival footage of the incident with recordings made of subsequent protests organized by workers at the plant. Over the top of video footage, audio is played including bits of conversations about the futility of the protests and weaknesses of the workers unions. It seems everyone has an opinion on changes that need to be made, but few can agree. The short was produced as part of a master’s program for creative documentary filming at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
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