From the 4th to the 12th July, Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival will once more be the privileged window for the most recent productions in short film through its competitions: National, International, Experimental, Music Videos, Take One! and Curtinhas.
Portuguese cinema, despite its natural economic weaknesses, has given clear signs of a great creative vigour, showing its filmmakers possess a remarkable freedom. Curtas’ Portuguese Competitionpresents that creative freedom by a set of films that place Portuguese short films again on the international festivals’ radar. 2015 will be the year of filmmakers like Sandro Aguilar, Salomé Lamas, Filipa César, Jorge Quintela, João Rosas, Basil da Cunha or Luís Alves de Matos, all of them connected to Curtas Vila do Conde’s history.
The best National competition film will be awarded with the BPI Award, worth 2000 euros and the Pixel Bunker Award, worth 2500 euros in services. The SPA – Portuguese Authors Society, will award with 1500 euros the Portuguese film that receives the highest number of votes from the audience. The best Portuguese filmmaker will be appraised by Digimaster with an award worth 3000 euros in services.
In turn, Curtas Vila do Conde’s International Competition presents a remarkable diversity, both geographical and thematic, with films from Virgil Widrich, Bill Plympton, Antonin Peretjatko, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Sergei Loznitsa, amongst others.
The best film in this competition will win the Jameson Great Prize, worth 2000 euros. The best short film in each competing category will also be distinguished: Animation, Documentary and Fiction. The most voted film by the audience will receive the Niepoort Audience Award, worth 1000 euros. Still within the International Competition, the Best European Short Film will be announced. It includes the nomination for the European Film Awards, yearly organized by the European Film Academy.
The Experimental Competition will continue to defy conventions presenting artists and filmmakers who dare to look ahead. Curtas Vila do Conde’s selection offers an opportunity to rediscover the great authors of this genre, like Volker Schreiner, Johan Grimonprez, Peter Tscherkassky, Ken Jacobs, Johan Lurf, Bill Morrison, Jennifer Reeves, Louise & Jane Wilson, Jay Rosenblatt and Deborah Stratman. With a deluxe set like this the Teatro Municipal’s room, like in past years, will sell out. The best experimental film will be awarded with 750 euros.
The Music Video Competition returns to Curtas Vila do Conde in an exclusive Portuguese production format with artists like Clã, X-Wife, PZ, Gala Drop and Linda Martini. These films will win an entirely different dimension when displayed on the Teatro Municipal’s big screen. The best competing video will receive a 750 euros prize awarded by FNAC.
Exclusive for student films, the Take One! Competition will present a new generation of talents straight from film and audio-visual schools. The best film will receive three prizes: the Smiling Award, worth 1500 euros in equipment rental services sponsored by Smiling/Nova Imagem; the Restart Award consisting on a coupon for training and/or production and post-production means (equipment or technical spaces) worth 500 euros at Restart – Escola de Criatividade e Novas Tecnologias and the Agência da Curta Metragem Award, which will guarantee the film’s submission to an international film festivals circuit.
In Curtinhas Competition the jury, formed by 15 children with ages between 6 and 12, will vote for the best film. This film will be awarded a prize worth 1000 euros sponsored by Mar Shopping. This section of the Festival also has a play area and several workshops, allowing the youngsters to take part in a week of cinema with their family.
In addition, there will be a Canal + Spain acquisition award for a National Competition film. From the competing films, the cable channel TVCine & Séries (a Festival partner) will make a choice for acquisitions.
Hence, Curtas Vila do Conde’s different competitions will again ensure the Festival’s most diversified and frequented screenings with films of unquestionable quality, most of them a Portuguese premiere, that show the current state of the world and the best of what has been produced recently.
“Arabian Nights”, a film by Miguel Gomes, will open the 23rd edition of Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival. The three-volume film was applauded in its world premiere at Cannes Festival and will have its Portuguese premiere at Vila do Conde.
Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival starts on July 4th with the long-awaited “Arabian Nights”, Miguel Gomes' new film, in a Portuguese premiere. The feature is a fresco on contemporary Portugal and on the contradictions caused by the economic crisis, using an epic structure that adapts Scheherazade’s classic history in three independent volumes: “The Restless One”, “The Desolate One” and “The Enchanted One”, in a combined six-hour long feature.
The first part, “The Restless One”, “shows the unsettling curses that overcome a country in crisis, inhabited by rich and poor, powerful and powerless, workers and unemployed, thieves and honest men.” On volume two, “Scheherazade tells how desolation invaded men” and, in the last part, “The Enchanted One”, the narrator doubts she can still tell stories that might please the king.
The “Arabian Nights” cast has important names of Portuguese cinema, such as Crista Alfaiate, Luíza Cruz, Américo Silva, Adriano Luz, Gonçalo Waddington, Joana de Verona, Teresa Madruga, João Pedro Bénard, Carloto Cotta and Rogério Samora.
The work made its world premiere at Cannes Director’s Fortnight and the international press welcomed it with great enthusiasm. The film made the front page of “Libération”, the French newspaper, and was described as “epic”. The “Le Monde” has considered the feature as “a fantastic epopee, a love song to the defeated of History, as are the Portuguese inside a Europe in crisis.”
In a poll usually held during Cannes Festival, the critics considered “Arabian Nights” as the best film in the 2015 edition of the biggest film festival in the world.
The feature is a coproduction between Portugal, Germany, Switzerlandand and France and will premiere in Portuguese theatres in august/september. Produced by Luís Urbano and Sandro Aguilar through O Som e a Fúria, “Arabian Nights” is, in recent years, one of the most ambitious projects in Portuguese cinema.
Miguel Gomes is one of the main personalities in Curtas Vila do Conde’s history. The Festival screened most of the filmmaker’s works. His first short film, “Meanwhile” was screened at the 7th Festival (1999) where it won the Best Director and Best Cinematography awards. Later, in 2002, Miguel Gomes received an Honourable Mention at Vila do Conde for his short film “31”, and in 2006, he won the National Competition with “Canticle of all Creatures”. Curtas Vila do Conde also screened “A Christmas’ Inventory”, “Kalkitos” (a film commissioned by the Festival), “Our Beloved Month of August” and, in 2014, “Pre-Evolution Soccer’s One Minute Dance After a Golden Goal in The Master League”.
Born in Lisbon, in 1972, Miguel Gomes studied Cinema and worked as a film critic for Portuguese press until 2000. He belongs, along with other Portuguese directors, to the entitled “Geração Curtas”, an important piece of contemporary Portuguese cinema’s history at the turn of the century. It opened the doors to a new generation of very young filmmakers that have become important names of the Portuguese cinema nowadays. Miguel Gomes showed his iconoclasm since an early point, reinventing himself in every film and forging a method of collective work, aware to the unpredictability of filming. That method was refined and is one of “Arabian Nights” most visible features.
Curtas Vila do Conde is supported by Vila do Conde City Council, Secretário de Estado da Cultura, Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual, Creative Europe - Media Programme and other partners.
The American band Lambchop is going to perform at Curtas Vila do Conde - International Film Festival in July in a film-concert that sets the start of the band's European tour. The group lead by Kurt Wagner will hit the stage on the last day of the Festival, 12th July, at 22:00 at Teatro Municipal de Vila do Conde. It will be one of the band's rare performances in Portugal.
The Nashville band known for their alternative country-rock sound and gloomy tone is going to score live a Bill Morrison film produced by Curtas Metragens CRL. Using his found footage re-montage technique, Morrison takes a trip through Portuguese silent films between 1910 and 1930, making use of the abundant archive of the Cinemateca Portuguesa. It will be the world premiere of this filmmaker's surprising work.
On the second part of the show Lambchop fans will have the opportunity to listen to some of the band's songs. With over two decades and 11 studio albums Lambchop stands out internationally by defying conventions with a mix of rhythms and experiences that result in unique performances of rare beauty.
Tickets cost between 12 and 18 euros and are already available at Bilheteira Online and at the Teatro Municipal.
Lambchop's concert is a part of Curtas Vila do Conde's Stereo section, endorsed by FNAC. In this film-concert section, bands are invited to score and perform live, merging film and music. For the 23rd edition several shows from various musical genres are already confirmed with artists like You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown; Frankie Chavez; Garcia da Selva (with guest Norberto Lobo) and Bruno Pernadas & Ensemble.
Portuguese band You Can't Win, Charlie Brown is going to score a 1914 silent film called "War is Hell" (Maudite soit la guerre) directed by Alfred Machin. The film, a unique hand-painted copy, tells the amazing story of war's rivalry and an impossible love. Frankie Chavez will continue the stroll through history scoring Allan Dwan's film "The Good Bad Man" dated from 1916. The work starred by Douglas Fairbanks scrolls the American West history and was supervised by D.W. Griffith. Bruno Pernadas Quinteto in turn, will perform over a Buster Keaton classic film, "Steamboat Bill, Jr.", dated from 1928. These three shows are also Curtas' homage to the history of Cinema. Garcia da Selva, along with Norberto Lobo will score a selection of film excerpts called "Framed by a Second", built from material from authors such as Cláudia Varejão, Gabriel Abrantes, João Nicolau, João Onofre, Julião Sarmento, Miguel Soares, Natcho Xeca, Salomé Lamas, Sandro Aguilar e André Trindade.
Also in this framework, we would like to outline the Music Video Competition, now centred on Portuguese production. The winner will receive the FNAC Best Music Video Award in the amount of 750 Euros. Constantly trying to keep up with genre evolution and filmmaking, Curtas Vila do Conde has been including in its programme music video screenings from some of the most prominent Portuguese artists who stand out on this field.
In its 23rd edition Curtas Vila do Conde will continue to present the best of contemporary cinema in special screenings that will be announced soon. The various competitions will continue to offer the Festival's most diversified screenings, expressing the current state of the world through short film. Curtas Vila do Conde will take place between the 4th and 12th July at Teatro Municipal de Vila do Conde. The Festival's free pass is available for 33,75€ until May 31st, and 40,50€ after that date. During the Festival the price rises to 45 euros. This general pass guarantees a 50% discount on tickets to Lambchop's concert and free access to all of the remaining screenings and film-concerts.
Curtas Vila do Conde is supported by Vila do Conde City Council, Secretário de Estado da Cultura, Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual, Creative Europe - Media Programme and other partners, which were vital to carry out the Festival.
We considered him immortal. A filmmaker has died with 106 years old and with a work that spans almost the entire history of the twentieth century. A filmmaker with an oeuvre extended along 80 years, between “Labor on the Douro River” (1929-1931), his first film, and “The Old Man of Belém” (2014), his closing work. Manoel de Oliveira has died! The great Portuguese filmmaker is one of the most respected directors in cinema’s history and also a dear friend of Curtas Vila do Conde.
At the Festival, Manoel de Oliveira was a constant presence over the years. He patronized the event since its first edition and was precisely with his films that the 1st Curtas Vila do Conde began in 1993, devoting a special retrospective. There were screened: "Labor on the Douro River" (1931), "Famalicão" (1940), "The Artist and the City" (1956), "O Pão" (1959), "As Pinturas do meu Irmão Júlio" (1965) and "A Caça" (1963). The Documentary Award, which is given annually, has his name.
He was often in the festival to present his films. Several of these visits he had direct contact with the audience through conversations or debates. Manoel de Oliveira enjoyed very much talking to the public to share his love for cinema. For example, in 1995, by the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Portuguese cinema, during the 3rd Curtas Vila do Conde, he participated in a debate about contemporary cinema in a panel also composed by Gus Van Sant, Mikhail Kobakhidze and Jon Jost.
And Oliveira was also very curious, observant to what was going on in the new cinema. For him, the Festival was also a place for the discovery of authors. It was with this cinephile curiosity that Manoel de Oliveira came to Curtas Vila do Conde in 1997 – in a retrospective dedicated to Alexander Sokurov –, with a voracious desire to know the work of the Russian author. As part of this special program, the two filmmakers had a long conversation about film, art and religion, which was recorded on video.
It is this conversation - later published in the book Pure Cinema: Curtas Vila do Conde 20 Years After – that we make available in a PDF file (version in Portuguese and English): http://curtas.pt/eflyers/ConversaOliveiraSokurov.pdf
Presenting films, discussing them with the audience, seeing with curiosity everything new that appeared in contemporary cinema, Oliveira was a frequent spectator, often accompanied by his dear friend Father Prof. João Marques, another beloved figure of Curtas Vila do Conde and who died also three weeks ago. Another curiosity the is that it was indeed with "The Divine Comedy", that was held the first screening of the Vila do Conde Cinema Club in a newly opened Auditório Municipal, still and always with Oliveira physical presence.
There are many other stories, submerged by time, but Manoel de Oliveira will always be with us as living memory of cinema and as a symbol of a great artistic freedom. This freedom will always be primary objective of the Festival.
Farewell, master. We will continue to see your films.
Submissions for the International, Experimental and Curtinhas competition at the 23rd Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival, are reaching the deadline: 10th April 2015.
Taking place from 4 to 12 of July 2015, the festival accepts new short films produced in 2014 or 2015; within the duration limit of 60 minutes (unless noted exceptions) ; film (35 or 16 mm) or video.
You can submit your new films in the following competitions:
- International (fiction, documentary and animation);
- Portuguese (Portuguese films of fiction, documentary and animation);
- Experimental (films that defy narrative and technical conventions);
- Music Videos (music videos from portuguese artists/producers);
- Curtinhas (films for kids until 30 minutes);
- Take One (productions until 30 minutes by Portuguese film students).
The Romanian Radu Jude won the Silver Bear for Best Director of the 65th Berlinale - Berlin Film Festival with the film "Aferim." The filmmaker was in the International Competition of Curtas Vila do Conde in 2008 with the short-film "Alexandra" and, last year, with "It Can Pass Through The Wall".
Photo: Richard Hübne