Neil Jordan, Isabelle Huppert, Sergei Loznitsa Honored at 12th Atlantida Mallorca Film Fest in Spain

The 12th Atlàntida Mallorca Film Fest (AMFF) in Spain is reeling in a bevy of luminaries led by Neil Jordan, Isabelle Huppert and Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa who will be recognized with Master of Ceremonies honors.

Jordan is attending the festival’s inauguration to receive his award and is also presenting his Oscar-winning “The Crying Game,” which marks its 30th year since its acclaimed debut. Other leading lights attending the festival include Gaspar Noé (“Vortex”), Annie Ernaux (“The Super 8 Years”) and Alain Guiraudie (“Nobody’s Hero”) presenting their respective films.

Launched in 2010 by leading Spanish independent film streaming platform Filmin, the festival opens July 24 with “Ramona” the debut feature of Madrid-born Andrea Bagney, shot mostly in black and white on 16mm. Fest wraps July 31 with Goya-winner Kike Maillo’s docu-feature “El Falsificador” about the Catalan artist Oswald Aulestia Bach, considered one of the greatest art forgers in history. In all, the AMFF has programmed 70 films and 12 concerts as well as panels and industry events.

The screening of the “El Falsificador” is preceded by a piano concert composed by Spanish singer-songwriter Amaia for the festival, which has made it its mandate to intertwine music, literature and film.

“We don’t just present concerts for the sake of it,” said Jaume Ripoll, festival director and co-founder of Filmin. “By scheduling a film before or after a concert, we give people a chance to see a film they would otherwise not see,” he said, citing last year’s edition when they screened “Mogul Mowgli,” co-written and starring Riz Ahmed, about a British-Pakistani rap artist. “We programmed one of the most famous rap singers in the country, and the audience of around 1,000 who came to see the artist also saw the movie they would otherwise not have had the chance to see and were blown away,” he recalled, adding: “When the film premiered on Filmin, it was one of our biggest hits of the year.”

In introducing the literary component, Ripoll said: “We don’t want directors talking about their films, instead we bring in experts to discuss the themes of the film.”

In presenting Loznitsa’s doc “The Natural History of Destruction,” we want to open up a discussion among experts on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for example,” he said. “This could then lead to more interest in Loznitsa and his body of work,” he noted. The festival also spotlights author Patricia Highsmith in the documentary “Loving Highsmith” by Eva Vitija, which is complemented by a round table discussion led by Oscar-winning Spanish director, Fernando Trueba.

The Atlàntida Mallorca in many ways is a pioneer. It began as an online event – the second its kind in the world, only after MyFrenchFilmFestival, says Ripoll. It introduced a hybrid format seven years, way before the pandemic forced many festivals to go the same route. It continues as a hybrid: a week in the Baleares island of Mallorca over July 24-31, followed by a month on Filmin from July 24 to Aug. 24. “We wanted to stage the festival in unique spaces, not only in movie theaters, but in such emblematic Mallorca venues as an old prison, history and contemporary art museums, a medieval cloister, a castle. It adds a uniqueness to the viewing experience,” said Ripoll.

This year, AMFF introduces an official competitive section with a unique set of jurors made up of both professionals – – and film students. The selection of 13 titles vying for a $10,000 cash prize reflects the festival’s driving theme on the dilemmas and conflicts faced by new generations. These are led by the vibrant psychological thriller “Heartbeast” from Finland’s Aino Suni; “Jusqu’ici, tout va,” the directorial debut of Catalan actor Francesc Cuellar; double-Locarno winner “Soul of a Beast” and graphic novel-based Holocaust impact animation feature “My Father’s Secrets,” by Vera Belmont.

The festival also includes the LGBTIQ+ sidebar led by such gems as Zaida Carmona’s Eric Rohmer-inspired romcom “La Amiga de mi Amiga”; Eva Garrido’s documentary “Fail Better”; Lebanese filmmaker Eliane Raheb’s “Miguel’s War,” a Berlinale Teddy best film winner which tells the story of a Lebanese exile in Spain, Miguel Jelelaty, who escaped gay oppression in his native Lebanon; and Adrian Silvestre’s “Mi Vacio y Yo,” a Malaga festival special jury award winner about the sex-change journey of its subject, Raphaëlle.

The Atlàntida Premiere section underscores the power of the festival at large, picking up on some of the flagship debuts and new films of the last 12 months, some high-profile, others pretty much under the radar: Albert Serra’s Cannes competition player “Pacification,” whose screening is one of the events of the festival, says Ripoll; “She Will,” Charlotte Colbert’s triumphant addition to the U.K.’s building canon of distinguished female genre pic directors; “Runner,” Lithuanian filmmaker Andrius Blaževičius’ sophomore feature, a “dynamic but deeply felt drama,” according to Variety’s review; and Jan Gassmann’s “99 Moons,” a standout at Cannes’ ACID sidebar this year.

With the pandemic somewhat at bay, AMFF expects a record turnover. Last year, it lured an in-person audience of 12,000 while its online version recorded 750,000, historical numbers for a private cultural event.

John Hopewell contributed to this article.

Official Competition

“Heartbeast,” Aino Suni (France, Finland, Germany)

“Farha,” Darin J. Sallam (Jordan)

“Magnetic Beats,” Vincent Maël Cardona (France)

“Code of Silence,” Francesco Costabile (Italy)

“Rhino,” Oleg Sentsov (Ukraine)

“The Hill Where Lionesses Roar,” Luàna Bajrami (France)

“Bruno Reidal, Confession d’un Meurtrier,” Vincent Le Port (France)

“Other People,” Aleksandra Terpinska (Poland)

“Jusqu’ici, tout va,” Francesc Cuéllar (Spain)

“Softie,” Samuel Theis (France)

“Soul of a Beast,” Lorenz Merz (Switzerland)

“Runner,” Andrius Blazevicius (Lithuania)

“My Father’s Secrets,” Vera Belmont (France)

Atlàntida Premiere

On-Site

“Leave No Traces,” Jan P. Matuszyński, (Poland)

“The Score,” Malachi Smyth (U.K.)

“As in Heaven,” Tea Lindeburg (Denmark)

“She Will,” Charlotte Colbert (U.K.)

“Pacifiction,” Albert Serra (Spain, France, Switzerland)

“Vortex,” Gaspar Noé (France)

“Kung Fu Zohra,” Mabrouk El Mechri (France)

“Nobody’s Hero,” Alain Guiraudie (France)

“The Emigrants,” Erik Poppe (Sweden)

Atlàntida Premiere 

Online

“After Blue,” Bertrand Mandico (France)

“Animals,” Nabil Ben Yadir (Belgium)

“Atlantide,” Yuri Ancarani, (Italy)

“Cop Secret,” Hannes Þór Halldórsson (Iceland)

“Earwig,” Lucile Hadzihalilovic (France, U.K.)

“Girl Picture,” Alli Haapasalo (Finland)

“Kung Fu Zohra,” Mabrouk El Mechri (France)

“Matar a la madre,” Omar Ayuso (Spain)

“She Will,” Charlotte Colbert (U.K.)

“The Score,” Malachi Smyth (U.K.)

“99 Moons,” Jan Gassmann (Switzerland)

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