Alcalá de Henares’ film festival (ALCINE), held in November, has acquired its prestige over its more than 40 years of history until turning into one of the most important short-film contests on a nationwide scale, and an obligatory reference for experts and lovers.
Among dozens and dozens of similar festivals, Alcalá’s Film Festival, ALCINE, is a real cultural event, not only on a local level, but also on a regional, the Community of Madrid, national and even an international level; it is not for nothing that it has 44 years of life.
Famous directors such as Santiago Segura, Alejandro Amenábar, Alex de la Iglesia or Fernando Colomo became known in ALCINE. That list of figures gets longer with Fernando León de Aranoa, Isabel Coixet, Mariano Barroso or Juanma Bajo Ulloa, as well as many others, including directors and actors.
The ALCINE festival was born and grew up screening short films, offering a way to enter the film industry and allowing creators to exhibit their first works. The high quality required to be selected for the festival has consolidated its prestige, in as much as the level of excellence participants has always been maintained.
The Short Films City
ALCINE is a leading cultural event where not only national and European contests take place, but also a great number of parallel activities such as film workshops, expositions, concerts, specialized books production and congress of authors, producers and distributors. Hence, the festival meets different aspects of world of cinema, not only the artistic field, but also the industrial and commercial one. During fifteen days, Alcalá turns into a city devoted to cinema, which is easily noticed through posters, advertising, mass media and hoardings.
ALCINE is celebrated, every year, in the middle of November, and it is funded by public administrations, both local and regional, as an overview of the best Spanish short films of each year gathered in a competition. The festival includes a European short film contest, really famous, in which participants of the whole continent take part. All feature films by new directors are presented to society within the section Open Screen, prized by the festival organization and the viewers, who, after the screening, vote in favor of their favorite film in the very same moment of leaving the screening room…
The Best Feature Films
The Muestra Internacional de Largometrajes [International Film Exhibition]—parallel to ALCINE—, shows the best films released along previous year, and, in many cases, offers the opportunity to watch movies that previously impossible to screen. This exhibition was held, until a few years ago, as a second part of the festival; but currently, it takes place the month after, around December.
Years ago, the Muestra Internacional de Largometrajes used to screen a great number of films, many of them ran in Spanish screens for a long time; but, over time, the selection has been reduced—though the quality exigency is even higher, if possible. For instance, in 2012 they skipped the Oscar-winning “The Artist”—in honor of silent movies—, the last creation of Woody Allen: “To Rome with Love”, the highly reputed film noir “Killing Them Softly” and the winners of two Goya prizes “Unit 7” and “The Pirates!”—an animated adventure for kids from the British studio Aardman Animations, Ltd.
More than 1300 Short Films
During the last edition of ALCINE, more than 1300 short movies have been released, which forms an impression of what it means not only to be a prizewinner, but simply to be displayed in the festival—scarcely a hundred films will finally compete in the contest.
The vocation of ALCINE is to be a showcase for the best of Spanish cinema, especially for its new creators, young talents. Thus, the contest has emerged as a real springboard for many of its participants who, with time, become prestigious moviemakers with international careers.
This devotion for cinema reached its goal; ALCINE’s festival has gradually become larger through the years, and that is why, since the eighties’, all kind of tributes have been organized, both to great foreign directors and Spanish ones: like Taviani brothers, the Chilean Raúl Ruiz, or the Spanish Gonzalo Suárez or Iván Zulueta—always looking for the creator the most committed to cinema as an artistic activity, considering that the so-called “main stream” are already present during the whole year on commercial screens.
Tributes to Cinema Figures
By virtue of this artistic character, tributes to the main cinema figures—who make possible its existence—are paid, such as producers (like Emiliano Piedra), set designers (as Enrique Alarcón), musical composers (for instance, Carmelo Bernaola), photography directors of scriptwriters, through important expositions and publications about their work.
Other activities have been symposiums, expositions and books about all kind of commemorations and events. In 1996, when the centenary of Spanish cinema was reached, the ALCINE’s festival theme was centered in the history of Spanish short films, while in 1997, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes birth, the 28th festival published the book “Cervantes en el cine” [Cervantes in fiction].
ALCINE has gradually become larger over time, offering every year more activities so; to take part of the festival in its entirety gets more difficult each edition. Educational workshops about cinema and photography, videos and new technologies applied to cinema have been created, as well as meetings such as the one celebrated in 1984, when directors from the five more important film schools in Europe gathered—Lisbon, Paris, London, Moscow and Rome—; opening a dialog with those institutions that continues today.
Alcalá, Cinema Galaxy
There are plenty of sections, varied over the years, that always try to announce foreign short films, whether Italy, Brazil or China, with retrospectives to numerous figures who marked new ways in each moment of film history and enjoyed the best reviews.
In the same way, there are always heterogeneous expositions about directors, actors, countries or formats, allowing visitors to discover all characters of the cinema universe—further over the names of the “star system”—who, however, have won a well-deserved distinction.
Short and feature films are screened within the classical Teatro Salón Cervantes—that, before being re-allocated as theatre, was a cinema—and also into the Corral de Comedias; a nostalgic milestone in memory of the most veteran Alcalá’s inhabitants, who, before the Corral was discovered and restored, gathered at Cervantes’ cinema, where even morning showings were available.