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by Estival Islantilla
The Hotel Estival Islantilla hosted last night the Opening Gala of the exhibition, which thus begins two months of screenings of the best independent cinema with free outdoor sessions.
Actress Pepa Charro led a ceremony in which figures such as director Benito Zambrano wrapped up the new president of the newly created Andalusian Film Academy.
Last night the gardens of the Hotel Estival Islantilla hosted the Opening Gala and the delivery of the 'Francisco Elías' Award to the producer Marta Velasco within the framework of the fourteenth edition of the International Film Festival under the Moon - Islantilla Cinefórum, an exhibition that during the The next two months will bring to its screens the best independent audiovisual production of the last year in this corner of the Atlantic shared by the Huelva municipalities of Isla Cristina and Lepe.
The ceremony, which started with a performance by the Isleña Musical Band, was conducted by actress Pepa Charro, who has worked under the direction of directors such as Pedro Almodóvar ('The Passenger Lovers'), Cesc Gay ('Truman') , Santiago Segura ('There is no more than one father') or Alfonso Albacete ('America's girlfriend'), and has achieved enormous popularity by giving life to his most media character, La Terremoto de Alcorcón. The Madrilenian, with strong ties to the province of Huelva personally, displayed her generous sympathy before a public with restricted capacity due to the anti-COVID19 security measures that gave herself to a night full of emotions, and during her speech at the head of the Gala launched a plea to the cry of "culture is safe" in defense of entertainment and an industry that has suffered especially the devastating economic effects of the pandemic.
Dressed in a vindictive mask with the rainbow flag in a day marked by the celebrations of Gay Pride Day throughout Spain and part of the planet, Pepa Charro gave way to the Lebrijano director Benito Zambrano, one of the main collaborators in which the career of Marta Velasco as a producer is one of the most brilliant that Andalusian cinema has contributed to Seventh Art.
Zambrano, who has worked with the honoree in the celebrated feature film Intemperie (2019), nominated for a Goya for Best Film, highlighted Marta Velasco's “not only her professionalism, but also her human quality”, and thanked her for giving herself “in body and soul in each project in which she is involved, because although she does not feel such, her work is very entrepreneurial, of obtaining the necessary financial resources so that others like me can make art.
The Andalusian director offered a simile, recalling that “cinema is an industry, it generates wealth, jobs for many people, tax collection, and so on; As an industry, it requires a lot of work, it means getting up very early, setting up structures, building stages, cutting streets… it is not something that is carried out without sacrifice; and as such an industry, the cinema supposes an investment, and implies a risk; but unlike other industries, the result is something intangible, not material ... and even so, it is worth it, because our work serves to feed the soul of those people who when they come home after a hard day at work, they feel to see a movie and they reconcile with life ”.
Benito Zambrano predicted Marta Velasco "many years of work because she is one of the best producers that we have, but, in view of her career, Marta is also one of the best producers that we are going to have, because she is very young."
The winner was also accompanied by the president of the Andalusian Film Writers and Writers Association (ASECAN), Lourdes Palacios, who thanked Marta Velasco for having had “the courage, heart and courage to carry out her professional project taking into account that, as a woman, she has not had any other woman as a reference in which to look at herself; something that thanks to it will change in the future, because many others will be able to look at it ”. Likewise, Palacios recognized the honoree "for having managed to carry out the project of the new Andalusian Film Academy and the Carmen Awards for Andalusian cinema, because without her determination, this enormous task would not have been possible".
Presentation of the 'Francisco Elías' Award to Marta Velasco.
The honored producer received an award from the institutional representatives of the Islantilla Commonwealth, Isabel López and Jesús Toronjo, Deputy Mayor of the Isla Cristina and Lepe Town Councils, respectively.
A visibly moved Marta Velasco addressed the audience to thank the 'Francisco Elías' Award, “a recognition that bears the name of a pioneer of our land, the first to shoot a sound film in Spain in 1928, and that is always a responsibility". Velasco pointed out as a wink of destiny the fact that, precisely, “the last film that Francisco Elías shot was titled Marta.
With her heart racing and tears in her eyes, Marta Velasco wanted to remember her mother at such an important moment for her, “because about a year ago I was with her in a hospital and she finally passed away, but not before pushing me to fight for my dreams and working hard for them, so this award and those that come in the future I can only dedicate them to her wherever she is ”.
The Sevillian production company also wanted to thank the Mancomunidad de Islantilla, the Festival team and the members of the Board of Directors of the Andalusian Film Academy, for their presence on such an important night for her, and also her "life partner and projects, Gonzalo Bendala, with whom I also share a daughter who is, without a doubt, the best of my productions ”.
In addition to Benito Zambrano and Lourdes Palacios, the Andalusian Film Academy has been represented at the Islantilla Festival by the actress Mercedes Hoyos, vice president of the entity, who shared a photocall with other industry professionals such as the producer José Luis Díaz or the representative and specialized journalist Rafa Pontes.
During the development of the Inauguration Gala, the main contents of an edition were presented that will again have twelve feature films and 100 shorts in competition, in addition to several cycles and parallel sections with the Andalusian Cinema, the Centennial of Luis Ciges, the Minifórum children's cinema and the out-of-competition premiere of the documentary Historias del agua, by José Carlos de la Isla and Paco Ortiz, as a complementary offer to its programming.
In addition, the night featured a special performance by the Argentine singer, composer and actor Maximiliano Calvo, who performed several songs, including one presented on a delayed basis by the singer María Jiménez, who sent a funny message of video aimed at all those attending the Gala.
With this act start two months of free screenings, for all audiences and in the light of the moon that will last throughout the entire summer season in what is probably the longest film festival in the world, and that will give start of its Official Competition Section tomorrow, Monday with sessions in the patio of the Islantilla Cultural Center located on Avenida de Río Frío.
The screenings will begin at 10:30 p.m., and will begin tomorrow with the Chilean feature film by Marco Antonio Núñez entitled Al mar. Monday and Wednesday the feature films will take place, while Tuesday and Thursday will be reserved for the screening of the one hundred shorts in competition.
The Festival's program can be consulted on the web


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