Catálogo del #CAFF2016


Jury of the Official Section, Jury of the Panorama Section and Young Jury (from film schools) after the latest deliberations of last Sunday 13th November 2016, gave the following awards (for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography). Moreover, they gave the Audience Award for Best Film and Casa Asia Honorary Award.


Official Competition Section:

  • Best Film Award:

Mina Walking | Afganistan | Yosef Baraki | 2015 | 110’ | Drama

  • Best Director Award:

Coldness | Iran | Bahram, Bahman Haj Bol Loo Ark | 2015 | 87’ | Drama

  • Best Screenplay Award:

Journey to the Shore | Japan | Kiyoshi Kurosawa | 2015 | 127’ | Drama

  • Best Cinematography Award:

Paths of the Soul | China | Zhang Yang | 2015 | 117’ | Drama


Panorama Competition Section:

  • Best Film Award:

The Throne | Korea | Lee Joon ik | 2015 | 125’ | Drama

  • Best Director Award:

Partisan | Australia | Ariel Kleiman | 2015 | 98’ | Drama

  • Best Screenplay Award:

Tajrish… an unfinished story | Iran | Pourya Azarbayjani| 2015 | 85’ | Drama

  • Honorary Mention:

Zhol | Kazakhstan | Askar Uzabaev | 2014 | 94’ | Drama


Young Jury:

  • Best Film Award

Mina Walking | Afganistan | Yosef Baraki | 2015 | 110’ | Drama

  • Best Director Award:

Sairat | India | Nagraj Manjule | 2016 | 174’ | Drama

  • Best Screenplay Award

Coldness | Iran | Bahram, Bahman Haj Bol Loo Ark | 2015 | 87’ | Drama

  • Best Cinematography Award:

Paths of the Soul | China | Zhang Yang | 2015 | 117’ | Drama


Audience Award

  • Best Film Award:

Pecoross’ Mother and Her Days | Japan | Azuma Morisaki | 2013 | 113’ | Drama


Honorary Award

  • Honorary Award for social and universal values:

Redha | Malaysia | Tunku Mona Riza | 2016 | 115’ | Drama


Awards by Countries


  • Official Section: Best Film Award for

Mina Walking | Afghanistan | Yosef Baraki | 2015 | 110’ | Drama

  • Young Jury: Best Film Award for

Mina Walking | Afghanistan | Yosef Baraki | 2015 | 110’ | Drama



  • Panorama Section: Best Director Award for

Partisan | Australia | Ariel Kleiman | 2015 | 98’ | Drama



  • Official Section: Best Photography Award for

Paths of the Soul | China | Zhang Yang | 2015 | 117’ | Drama

  • Young Jury: Best Photography Award for

Paths of the Soul | China | Zhang Yang | 2015 | 117’ | Drama



  • Panorama Section: Best Film Award for

The Throne | Korea |Lee Joon ik | 2015 | 125’ | Drama



  • Young Jury: Best Director Award for

Sairat | India | Nagraj Manjule | 2016 | 174’ | Drama



  • Official Section: Best Director Award for

Coldness | Iran | Bahram, Bahman Haj Bol Loo Ark | 2015 | 87’ | Drama

  • Panorama Section: Best Screenplay Award for

Tajrish… an unfinished story | Iran | Pourya Azarbayjani| 2015 | 85’ | Drama

  • Young Jury: Best Screenplay Award for

Coldness | Iran | Bahram, Bahman Haj Bol Loo Ark | 2015 | 87’ | Drama



  • Official Section: Best Screenplay Award for

Journey to the Shore | Japan| Kiyoshi Kurosawa | 2015 | 127’ | Drama



  • Panorama Section: Special Mention for

Zhol | Kyrgyzstan| Askar Uzabaev | 2014 | 94’ | Drama





Narratives of genre in the current Asian cinema

A talk with Ángel Sala

Director of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival

by Menene Gras Balaguer


This talk has taken place a few days alter the closing of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, run by Ángel Sala, in which the Asian production has undergone a major role and has been awarded in several areas: Best Direction Award for “Train to Busan” by Yeong Sang-ho, who with this film has made the jump to real image animation; Best Special Effects Award to Jung Hwang-Su; Best Photography to Hong Kyung-pyo for “The Wailing” and Audience’s Grand Award for “The Handmaiden” by Park Chan-wook, which will feature next December 2nd in commercial cinemas. The New Visions Award has been given to “Under the Shadow”, by Iranian Bavak Anvari, and the Focus Asia Award has been given to “The Wailing” by Na Hong-jin. The Korean “Train to Busan”, has received a well-deserved award and it’s an awesome movie that for Ángel Sala reminds him of “The Host” (2006) by Bong Joon-ho, which was also screened in Sitges and got the Best Special Effects Award, without ceasing to be the most grossing film in its own country. In this conversation, Ángel Sala makes a brief evaluation of the Asian cinema and its international successes that he attributes to their narratives and a way of understanding a cinema that doesn’t give up its local precedence, despite being global for its structure, language and elective affinities. It has also been possible to watch the last film of Filipino Khuan de la Cruz, “Alipato – The Very Brief Life Of An Ember”, in the New Visions Plus section, and the Indonesian film “Headshot” by Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel, who studied in Australia, in the Orbit Section. Even though most of the Asian films that were screened in the festival came from Japan and Korea as well as other cinemas like the mentioned ones; and other geographies through urban or rural landscapes from countries like Kazakhstan in “Hunger Diaries” by Anuar Doss and Gabriel Rahbani or from Thailand, Malaysia, Iran, Singapore and Indonesia. The corresponding suggestions have discovered us a significant potential in the genre cinema field, along their contributions to the multiculturality of the festival.

Menene Gras. The weight of the Asian cinema in the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival is a phenomenon that can’t be compared with the presence that it can have in any other Spanish festival. How did all this begin? From long ago, Sitges is the festival that has been the most sensitive to the discovery of non-western cinematographies and particularly those that come from the Asian continent.

Ángel Sala. 16 years ago, the explosion of the Asian cinema emerged in the festival’s programme. It was impossible to keep indifferent to the changes that were happening in the international scenery and overall to the interest that raised their narratives in festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam or Venice. In that moment, this cinema identified itself with Korea and Japan. It was a new cinema that arose from the economical transformation of these countries and the growth that the cultural industries who had made possible its production were experimenting, with a huge difference in relation with others of the same region. Although at the same time appeared other waves like the one of the Thai cinema –with a commercial cinema as well as an author one– and the transformation of a country like China, lead by Hong-Kong. We had to male an offer that integrated these cinematographies that we couldn’t ignore and for this reason we proposed ourselves to canalize what was interesting for the festival, that is, the fantastic, the horror and the action thriller. From Hong Kong we brought films like “Three” by Johnnie To, who is an unavoidable name, “SPL 2: A Time for Consequences” by Soi Cheang, “While the Women are sleeping” by Wayne Wang and “Trivisa” by Frank Hui, Jevons Au and Vicky Wong. I always say that the festival, however, is made by the audience and its reaction.

M.G. Initially, the successive discoveries that Sitges managed to transmit to the audience in general favoured the interest for cinematographies that little by little stopped being marginal to adopt a main role and reaching an unexpected popularity among the public of the festival. To what do we owe this interest, which has also been present in other European festivals in a very straight way?

A.S. With time Sitges has become one of the festivals of reference in the world, concerning the presence of the genre Asian cinema. Indeed, a lot of factors have made it possible, besides the decisions taken these years. The existence of a myth that has consecrated actors, actresses and directors has, without a doubt, helped creating the hobby. To give you an idea, the space that the Asian cinema occupies in the festival is above 30% of the programme, among the fantasy cinema, the author cinema and animation. Sitges got ahead of what later became the BAFF. In 1992, when Xavier Catafalch was the director, I was part of the programming team with Carolina López, who runs from years ago the Anime festival in Lleida, we introduced the Japanese animation, even before Berlin did it. It was a first step that opened the doors to the presence that has reached the Asian cinema in the festival.

M.G. Nevertheless, we talk about a cinema that barely gets any presence in within the circuits of the commercial cinema. There are some Spanish distributors that supported this cinema but without any guarantee. There’s a great ignorance regarding the contribution of these new cinematographies and not so new, whose narratives identify with those cultures that get close to us and end up being familiar despite the distances. As opposed to other countries like France, Germany and England, the Asian cinema in Spain doesn’t have the audience that it has in these countries, who unsurprisingly have an important presence in Asia. How can this keep happening, when there are symptoms of the existence of an audience more and more interested or in appearance keen to the esthetic and narratives of this cinema?

A.S. The ignorante of the Asian cinema in Catalonia and Spain in general is well-known, excluding followers and fans like the ones who fill the halls in Sitges. The Asian cinema barely circulates despite some distributors have achieved and keep introducing them relying on the festival platforms like the ones we have mentioned –Cannes, Berlín and even Sitges– although at the moment of truth the commercial successes are few. The positive and enthusiast answer is massive in festivals, but when it reaches the theathers, it doesn’t obtain the effect that it should have, as it happens in lots of cases with the author cinema. For instance, the cinema of Hirozaku Koreeda (“Our little sister”, 2015) or Naomi Kawase (“Still Water”, 2014; “Sweet Bean”, 2015), which seems to guarantee box-office success because both directors have lots of followers, but then, when they reach the cinemas they turn out to be baffling failures.

M.G. You’ve put two examples that correspond to the most popular Asian cinema, not only because Japanese cinema already has a presence in the west from decades ago and a tradition but because they are intimate films but with a very close theme and thus, it was easy to foresee that the success these films have had abroad would reproduce in Spain and it’s not the case. There are other cases that show it even more radically.

A.S. In this sense, an even clearer example is the “The Assassin” (2015) by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, an action drama from the IX C. where martial arts played an important role. Even though it got the Best Director Award in the Cannes Festival, the press’ answer was full of controversy. Not to mention the failure it had in commercial theatres. While some critics highlight the overwhelming beauty of the film, others regretted its slowness or aestheticism and didn’t want to support it. The film had a good distribution here but didn’t get for one bit the expected response and was a commercial failure. Fifteen years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. The passion to explore and know other cinematographies was amazing.

M.G. For what reason? What happened before that doesn’t happen now? Shouldn’t it be the other way around, coinciding with the most knowledge ever had about Asian cinema?

A.S. I mean the time when the first Films by Wong Kar-Wai appear, “Days of being wild” (1991), “Happy Together” (1997) or “In the Mood for Love” (2000) to the most recent one “The Grand Master” (2013); or the ones from Yang Zimou like “Red Sorghum” (1987), “Ju-Dou” (1990), “The Red Lantern” (1991), “Live” (1994) or Happy Time (2000), and the following –“The flowers of War” (2011) y “Coming Home” (2014). I also think of the South Korean director Kim Ki-duk and what did signify some of his films such as “Spring, summer, autumn, winter… and spring/ Life Seasons” (2003), “For love or for Desire” (2004), “Time” (2006) or “Amen” (2006). What occurred with them is difficult to happen again. They produced a unique experience: suddenly there was a cinema that opened new horizons and maintained an expectant audience that looked forward to the new productions that were released in all European cities. All this has been lost. The only cinema that works is good vibes, such as the films I named before from Naomi Kawase or Hirozaku Koreeda.

M.G. However, I insist there is an Asian Cinema that is more present in the commercial cinemas and upon which there is great curiosity and increasing interest. The fact is that a great amount of time is required until this cinema reaches general audience and the benefits obtained compensate the investment of the distributors, without which this cinema would never have got this far.

A.S. Asian Cinema, such as cult cinema or genre cinema reaches good results in festivals, yet not in the commercial sphere: the distributors support this cinema, but the response of the audience leaves much to be desired. For instance, in France anime films can raise 4 million Euros, when in Spain it is not even a quarter. We cannot compete with this data.

M.G. I would like to have your opinion about Indian Cinema, because the current picture is very controversial and wide in all its aspects. What would you point out in particular of all the genres of film production of this country and what you find most interesting?

A.S. The cinematography of this country is unmanageable. On the one hand, it has the acceptance of wide local audiences, or comparable to the local of other countries in Europe. In Great Britain and EEUU is very demanded, and not only because of the emigrations of Indian populations to these countries. The phenomenon of Indian Cinema is adopting new dimensions that are unknown due to the emergence of a new wave of young directors more opened to the exterior. It is a cinema that always gives responses with a high production level. I follow some of them and try to be updated. There are always surprises. On the other hand, it is important to recognize that they have done a lot to regulate the system of distribution and fight against piracy. This year, the last film of Anurak Kashiap has been screened, the director of the two sequels of the “Gang of Wasseypur” (2011-2014), in which a virus turns human beings into non feeling beasts with great hunger, of Shakti Soundar Raja, one of the most representative directors of Kollywood, similar to the Bollywood industry but in Tamil. It is also important to mention Rohit Mittal’s “Autohead”, whose main character, Narayan, works with a cycletaxi, until the apparent normality of his life turns into a uncontrolled violence when he is rejected by his girlfriend and receives the visit of his mother.

M.G. But, how do you position yourself regarding the production categorized as Bollywood Phenomenon and what future do you foresee for its development? For a lot of people only Bollywood exists and most ignore not only the existence of a realist Indian Cinema but also Satiajyt Ray or Mrinal Sen and the production of this new wave of directors, that you identify with the new directors you refer to.

A.S. The film industry known as Bollywood is a brilliant invention, as it has connected with the great audience and turned into a mass-appeal cinema. To occidental perception it might seem unusual or ironic. Yet it is a cinema with an important emotional potential, very commercial. Its popularity does not mean it is a plain cinema, because frequently it incorporates big productions in which the musical element cannot be randomly introduced as it contains an important role in the narration. There tends to be in the origin an extraordinary romantic history I name methalinguistic, as it is the case of “Sairat” (2016) of Nagraj Manjule, although there are many titles we could comment. I try to follow this director, because we should consider all surprises that might occur.

M.G. What do you think about Australian cinema? I think the promotion in Spain is scarce although there are some titles which have made history, but it’s hard to watch contemporary Australian cinema in commercial theatres. It usually is a very narrative cinema and in some way, epic, without ceasing to be an open cinema.

A.S. I’m an enthusiast of Australian cinema, starting from the 70s and 80s cinema, due to the way of narrating and the topics that are dealt with. Even only thinking about the fantastic, the influence of a film such as “MAD MAX” (1979), directed by George Miller, who became the model of a dystopian society, with no future, who was followed by “MAD MAX 2 (The Road Warrior)” in 1981, “MAD MAX Beyond the Thunderdome”, and “MAD MAX: Fury Road” in 2015, was decisive to lead the gaze to a cinema that was emerging strongly in the international scene. The sceneries of destruction belong to this isolated territory found in the edges of the world and which is one of the less populated countries on the planet like Australia. In contrast, there is a director who has been one of the greatest founders of what was the new Australian cinema that cannot be omitted, as is the case of Peter Weir, with “Gallipoli” (1981), “The year of living dangerously” (1982) or “Dead Poets Society” (1985). But before all this there is a film that still fascinates me which I consider a masterpiece like “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975), which not long ago I showed my students in class.

M.G. What could you add regarding New Zealand cinema? In the 90s, with the film “The Piano” (1993) by Jane Champion, coinciding with the rise of the audiovisual industry and the localizations that have been done in the country of films like “The Lord of the Rings” or the trilogy “The Hobbit” and “The Last Samurai”, the cinema of this country has reached a spectacular development.

A.S. Unfortunately, no importance has been given to New Zealand cinema neither has been valued as it should. Obviously, it is a great cinema in the different genres it is produced but here it has not had neither the diffusion nor the distribution it could have had. Some festivals have shown sensitivity for incorporating this cinema in the different specialties and genre, as the Sundance Festival, yet this is not enough. In Sitges arrived a fake documentary on vampires, from this country, that was delusional. We should be alert in order to always be aware of what occurs. Last year we screened “Restoration” (2015), a short film on a psychological drama of the New Zealand director Tim Tsiklauri, based on the fact that all paintings conceal their secrets. It was such a surprise.

M.G. The most peripheral cinematographies also occur in Sitges; and actually Asian Cinema is present in all the sections of the festival, regarding its contents and genre, and in fact the European festivals have never ceased to explore them. In this sense, Cannes has opened new horizons to cult cinema or to minority authors that a few years ago would never have had a response, followed by La Berlinale, Rotterdam, Locarno, Venice and why not Sitges, considered by many the first world festival devoted to the fantastic genre. Among its discoveries, I would highlight Thai Cinema.

A.S. One of the filmmakers I follow is the director and screenwriter Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, graduated in Pratt Institute in New York who in a short period of time has developed into one of the main representatives of the “New Wave” of Thai Cinema along with Vivi Sasa nateng. Ratanaruang is a good director, with a long career since he produced “Last Life in the Universe” (2003), preceded by his successful debut film “Fun Bar Karaoke” (1997). This film counted on the participation of Takashi Miike and the Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano who interpreted a member of Yakuza. Ratanaruang has presented his cinema in Venice, Berlin, Cannes, Rotterdam and other festivals, obtaining different awards. His documentary “Total Bangkok” (2006), censored in Thailand for its sex scenes, was presented in San Sebastián and the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs de Cannes. On the other hand, “Nymph” (2009), worldwide released in Toronto and then in the section Un certain Regard de Cannes along with “Headshot” (2011), an adaptation of a crime novel of Win Lyovarin, twice awarded with the Southeast Asian Writers Award, which we have screened this year, culminates a worldwide trajectory.

M.G. Nevertheless, there is another cinema in Thailand that you also promoted from the platform of the festival that I think is important to remark, the figure of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, architect, plastic artist, director, producer and screenwriter, who in 1999 founded the company Kick the Machine, devoted to experimental and independent cinema. In 2010, he won the Gold Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival and in the same year he obtained in Seoul the Asian Arts Award for his artistic trajectory. In Sitges, he is also one of the most repeated names.

A.S. In 2004, we presented “Tropical Malady” in Sitges. It obtained the Jury Award in Cannes and was a discovery for our audience. He is considered a cult director and the greatest exponent of very differentiated narrative textures, that characterize his entire trajectory. With “Uncle Boomnee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” (2010), awarded with the Golden Palm and the Critics Award, in Sitges, this director and artist was acknowledged as one of the representatives of the New Wave of independent cinema of the region. Then, he produced “Mekong Hotel”in 2012, a 60’s film also screened in Cannes, in the Special Section, and in other festivals such as Rotterdam, Göteborg, Buenos Aires, Taipei and Fukuoka. His most recent film, “Cemetery of Splendour” (2015), was also screened last year in the Auditori. In this film, the hallucinations and strange dreams of the protagonist are recreated in a dreamlike atmosphere, where we perceive the fascination of the filmmaker for science fiction and for a kind of phantasmagoria that copes with reality and memory. Apichatpong is a cult director that has undoubtedly contributed to place Thai Cinema in an international scenario and to promote the poetic side of fantastic experimental and independent cinema, whose career goes beyond those films previously named.

M.G. Filipino Cinema is neither disregarded in Sitges. You have always shown interest for the least commercial cinema of this country and for directors as Brillante Mendoza, Lino Brocka, or Ismael Bernal and Mike de Leon, just to cite a few names, that have contributed to the development of an experimental and independent cinema that has been presented worldwide in international festivals, away from a more commercial and local cinema that has not achieved equal distribution.

A.S. Obviously, I am interested in the Filipino Cinema you mention and the tradition this independent cinema has generated presenting itself worldwide as cult cinema from the 70’s and the 80’s of the last century. Yet if we refer to the last wave of the Filipino Cinema, there is a director I specially point out for her contribution to an individual understanding and conception of cinematographic language. I am referring to Raya Martin, who in a short period of time has achieved a stellar career since “Island at the End of the World” was screened in 2004, a work that combines documentary and fiction, for narrating the isolation of the indigenous community of Itbayat, in one of the northern islands of the Filipino archipelago, that continues to be held by its colonial past and social structure up to the XIX century. To this film “Autohystoria”(2007), other hits such as “Independencia” (2009) or “Manila” (2010), where he pays tribute to Lino Brocka’s “Jaguar” and Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila by Night”, its predecessors. Martin incorporates narratives that belong to the history of his country and explore the heritage of the contemporaneous Filipino society. His dominance of the cinematographic language has allowed him to make the more experimental films of his career with “Track Projections”, “Ars Colonia” and “Buenas Noches España”, the three of them from 2011. This last film screened in Spain contains the most common elements that constitute the imaginary that reconstructs the postcolonial relationships between Spain and Philippines from 1898. For me, he is one of the young directors we need to pay close attention to because he can give many more surprises.

M.G. Malaysia and Indonesia are two countries that do not either stay out from Sitges, even though to a lesser extent than Japan or Korea do, whose presence in the festival is overwhelming. When we check the programme of this year and we see the number of Japanese and Korean films, we cannot believe the number of titles presented and directors such as etsuya Nakashima (“Confessions”), Kyoshi Kurosawa (“Creepy”), Takashi Miike (“Crows Zero”), Na Hong-Jin (“The Wailing”), Akira Nagai (“If Cats disappeared from the World”), Hiroaki Miyamoto (“One Piece Film Gold”), Yeong Sang-ho (“Seoul Station”), Kim Seung-hun (“Tunnel”), Johnnie To (“Three), Kinji Fukasaku (“Los invasores del espacio”), y Kim Sang-chan (“Karaoke Crazies”), among others. Your passion for the cinema takes you to discover cinematographies of certain countries the audience is not very accustomed to and to turn them into proposals for Sitges that never reach other festivals.

A.S. Obviously, my incursions in, so to speak, more marginal cinematographies always bring me surprises. Yet, Indonesia as well as Malaysia, are giving interesting results that can be omitted. Indonesia, for instance, has experimented an extraordinary change in the last few years and Malaysia, on the other hand, has also experimented a change that does not go unnoticed. This explains the presence of some paradigms of the growth of the cinematographic industry in both countries, in Sitges, as it is the case of the film “Interchange” (2015) of the director Dain Iskandar Said, in the Fantasy Official Section for Competiton. The argument begins with the investigation of several murders that perform a detective and a photographer, who will end up discovering that there is a secret city within the city, inhabited by shamans and supernatural creatures from centuries ago. Asian Cinema belongs to the future of cinema, and is impossible that it is not taken into account, as it has been proved from almost two decades in all Asian festivals – Hong Kong, Busan, Tokyo, to name just a few – and occidental – Cannes, Sitges, Locarno, Rotterdam, Berlin and Venice.



Asian Cinema in the San Sebastián Cinema Festival

Conversation with José Luis Rebordinos, the Festival Director

by Menene Gras Balaguer


The last day of the festival and before announcing the prize winners, José Luis Rebordinos told me this year had achieved an important representation of Asian cinema and that this was going to contribute to a major circulation of this cinema in our country. In the course of the conversation we maintained, Rebordinos made clear what were, in his opinion, the most developed films of the Asian continent and the ones that were making a major contribution to the multicultural scenario identified with the festival. La Concha de Oro of this edition awarded to Feng Xiaogang’s film “I am not Madame Bovary” was not announced yet, neither was La Concha de Plata for best actress to Fan Bingbing, the protagonist of this film. Neither was known la Concha de Plata for best director that received Hong Sang-soo for “Yourself and Yours”. These awards confirm the arguments of Rebordinos, even though they are not the favourites movies, as rumoured. Director and actress had presented last 18th September this film in the Kursaal and returned yesterday to receive personally the following awards; on his part, Hong Sang-soo, a “classic” contemporary of the Korean cinema, was awarded the prize by Jia ZhangKe, who was part of the Official Section Jury of this edition. In this edition, Asian cinema has crowded movie theatres with an heterogeneous audience, addicted to a cinema that usually does not have the chance to be screened yet that is interesting for the discovering and the exploration of other languages and cultures.

Menene Gras. Regarding the whole programming, how would you evaluate the presence of Asian cinema in the festival and the audience here in San Sebastián?

José Luis Rebordinos. The presence of Asia in this edition has gained force and has consolidated. Asian cinema has a significant position in the international scene that we try to display in the programme. Special efforts have been made to achieve this.

M.G. Asian Cinema has been present in almost all the sections in exhaustive form, taking into account the festival must make various options compatible, such as presenting the last Spanish cinema, devote a section as Horizontes Latinos exclusively to Latin American Cinema, and bring cinematographies from Europe, the USA and other countries. I wonder to what extent Asian cinema can occupy more space than the one is already occupying in the programme.

JL.R. Asian films have had a good representation in this edition of the festival and I believe the audience has welcomed our proposal. As you might have seen, in the official section we had two Japanese films, one Korean film and the Chinese film awarded with la Concha de Oro. Proportionally to the whole amount of titles that were part of this section, twenty five in all, though not all of them into competition, the representation of this section is not bad. The same happens with the section “Nuevos Directores” (New Directors), with two Chinese films “Something in Blue” by the very young director Yunbo Li, and “One Hundred and Fifty Years of Life” by Liu Yu; and with one Korean film, “Our Love Story” by Lee Hyun-ju, among the sixteen ones that the section contained. The representation of Asian films has also been taken into account in the “Perlas” section, in “Zabaltegi Tabakalera” (ZT), in “Cine and Gastronomía”, and in “The Act of Killing” (AK).

M.G. When you talk about Asian cinematography, which geography do you refer to exactly? Which field of view is ranged? To Casa Asia, especially the Casa Asia Film Festival, the geographic area that is of our competence comprises Central Asia and the ex Soviet Republics –the six tanes– Meridional Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

JL.R. To me, nor Australia neither New Zealand are Asian countries, strictly speaking. The truth is that it is not easy to reach nor these countries neither others that do not have a developed cinematographic industry, just the opposite as China, Korea and Japan, which have created a real huge industry. These three countries have many things to offer us. The film making of these countries compete in the main international festivals against different local industries of Western countries, which, until a few years ago, were the leaders in the market.

M.G. Might the geography of the festival be expanded to other countries in future editions? And I do not refer to Iran cinema, which has never been excluded in the festival, but to other cinemas of Central Asia, like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh; and South East Asia, like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, for example. I guess that this would be the tendency, bearing in mind that this year the film by the Cambodian director, Rithy Panh, has been included, one of the film makers more politically committed, “S-21 La Machine de mort khmère rouge” (The Red Killing Machine), produced in 2003, in the section of The Art of Killing (AK).

JL.R. We have never discarded any of these options and obviously, we are opened to take advantage of these possibilities. But, as I said before, it is not easy to reach these countries: and by reaching I mean to receive the information that is needed to know what is going on. To this should be added the difficulties in obtaining the rights for screening, translating and subtitling and the fact that they should be films that can compete with the best selection that comes from other countries.

M.G. However, there is a big absence, which is the one of India, one of the countries in which the industry is competent and well developed. What is the cause? I would like to know why and, at the same time, it seems interesting to me that you are taking sides by some film industries rather than some others and that this is reflected in the programme.

JL.R. I watch quite a lot of Indian cinema but we are less in touch with its directors and distributors. What is understood for Bollywood cinema does not interest me. It is pure exoticism and there is no space for it in our festival. Even though, I also want to clear up that the fact that in this edition there is no presence coming from this country it does not mean we have never screened Indian cinema in past editions nor we are not going to do it in the future.

M.G. However, not all Indian Cinema is made by Bollywood. There is an independent and realistic cinema that practically lacks of commercial distinction and that it may be adjusted to the selection guidelines applied in the festival. There is a tradition that goes back to Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, Tapan Sinha, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Chetan Anand, Guru Dutt and V. Shantaram, who belong to the Golden Era of Indian Cinema and that keep on influencing filmmakers who distance themselves from Bollywood and who try to give continuity to the cinema of whom they consider their predecessors.

JL.R. The lack of distribution of this particular cinema, given the popularity of Bollywood Films that triumph in the market, might be one of the decisive factors when it comes to programming. Moreover, I will take this opportunity to let you know that in a country dominated by inequality, exploitation, abuses, violation of human rights, battered women, caste system and many other issues related to a society extremely complicated, waiting for a modernization that does not process, a response at all levels should occur. But I can not see a compromised cinema as the one which should correspond to educate all audiences of the need of changes that prevent the continuity of the facts people know through media that still seem to be unpunished. It disconcerts me, in a word, that there is no denounce cinema, when there are clear precedents in this country of its possibility and impact.

M.G. The development of the postcolonial speech in India is not new –the reflection of the subalternity as it is introduced in “Can the Subaltern Speak?” by Gayatri Spivak dates from 1985, among other precedents, and it is extended in “The Location of Culture” (1994) by Homi K. Bhabha –neither philosophy, nor literature nor cinema. A correlation of powers exists between each of all these disciplines. There is a cinema that inherits the tradition I mentioned before, simultaneously influenced by the Italian realism, but it is obviously less well known and less developed as a result of its inexistence International distribution for its screening in other landscapes.

JL.R. As I was telling you, India is a really big country, whose productions should cover social issues in greater depth, as women circumstances and the violation of fundamental human rights. The endemic social inequality, the territorial conflict engendered by partition, whose repercussion in population of both sides of the border has generated tensions that have no end, as a result of India and Pakistan’s complaints towards Cachemira, of Muslim majority. When it comes to Afghan cinema, the same happens to me as with Palestinian and Syrian cinema: why there are not more audiovisual witnesses in these countries? Fundamentalism is another current issue that is not covered. Keep in mind that nowadays cinema can be made with cameras that fit in one hand, so it is not because of a lack of resources that it is not done. None of these three countries that I have just mentioned are in the festivals. We do not receive productions which show the world conflicts that affect us globally; however, we have received thousands of movies about emigrants in the Mediterranean, but ultimately we are not a festival of human rights. As well as we do not devote to a world region nor an exclusive theme.

M.G. However, there is an Afghan cinema, as an example, in which the women’s situation denounce, even though it is still insufficient, is starting to perform an important role, which was not considered until now. It is a cinema that uses to be in the suburbs of distribution’s circuits and that only can be watched in festivals such as the ones of Berlin, Locarno or Rotterdam. Despite being more peripheral, it is really active and more present in international festivals than Bangladesh cinema, even though it has a big local cinematographic industry, or the Pakistan cinema. The same happens with the cinema of Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia or Vietnam. In Casa Asia Film Festival, we are trying to have space for these cinematographies, attending to what today is meant by the cultural turn of geography.

JL.R. It is a matter of time. These cinematographies start to develop and to have a bigger presence in the Western world, as the economies in developing countries from which they come are consolidated. However, I insist again on the need to receive information about the respective productions that are taking place and that are within our reach.

M.G. Japanese and Korean cinema are awaited by the public of the festival. As regards this present edition, “Iraki” / “Rage” by the Japanese of Korean origin Lee-Sang-il, to me it looks like a good film with an unconventional narrative structure and despite that, it keeps the tension and intrigue from beginning to the end. “Yourself and Yours” by the Korean Hong Sang-soo is another of the films that have attracted the biggest attention, since both film industries are not unknown to the general public.

JL.R. It is a great movie. With the Japanese Cinema we have established a lot of contacts and as in Japan as in Korea, we try to go to explain them who we are and what the festival is. We are interested in maintaining and that this country, as well as Korea and China, keep on having an important presence in San Sebastian. What is more, Hong-Sang soo is a classic and his cinema import certain recognizable characteristics. It is not surprising that this movie narrows the gap between cultures when addressing very common and domestic issues, as well as very global.

M.G. We have not talked about Philippine cinema, whose uniqueness clearly differs from other film industries of Southeast Asia, because it is clearly identified with the origin culture and a tradition that dates back to the 70s and is still in force nowadays. I mean an independent cinema, not the most commercial productions that have their own market in the country. Names like Lino Brocka, Brillante Mendoza, Raya Martin, Lav Diaz, Mike de Leon or Ishmael Bernal among others, thoroughly familiar in Cannes, Berlin, Locarno and Rotterdam, are part of a film industry that should be taken into account. Obviously, without excluding the presence they have in Busan or Vietnam festivals.

JL.R. In effect. It is a film that interests me, because there are very good filmmakers like the ones you have mentioned and because it is a film that talks about the new urban realities and the transformation of large cities. This year we have screened in Zabaltegi-Tabakalera the film, by Lav Diaz, “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery” (2016), which duration of almost eight hours is a challenge for many of the audience. He is a representative director of the new Philippine cinema and he has been repeatedly awarded in European and Asian festivals. On the other hand, the theme of the film affects us directly since it is a story shared by the Philippines and Spain, during the Philippine revolt against Spain in 1896 that ended with the independence of the Philippine archipelago. In any case, it is a cinematography that we always consider when it comes to programming.

M.G. San Sebastian festival is known in many Asian countries and is part of the most visited European festivals circuits, and with the greatest affluence of public and media coming from all over the world. I guess what has been achieved is the result of a series of efforts in programming that are being made for years.

JL.R. That’s right. But we want to reach more places; to expand our connections and our contacts to strengthen relations with all these countries with whom we have spoken. It does not only happen to us with Asia; we would also like to have more contact with the film industries of North Africa and Arab countries, although the production there is generally low. Returning to the presence of Asian cinema this year, I think it has been particularly wide in almost all sections, taking into account the number of participant countries, and we look forward to expand it in future editions, because it is a cinema that fosters our vision of the world and promotes tolerance and multiculturalism.