Cornerhouse waves adios to ¡Viva! film festival for another year as directors wowed by visit to Manchester

The curtains have closed for the 20th ¡Viva!: Manchester’s Spanish and Latin Film Festival.

Over the 16 days, Manchester film buffs have been treated to an array of cinematic delights branching across a range of genres.

¡Viva! is the UK’s largest and most popular film festival of its kind and is dedicated to celebrating the best of Spanish speaking cinema from across the globe.

Discussing the importance of holding an event such as ¡Viva! in Manchester, festival coordinator Jessie Gibbs told MM: “The consistently high audience figures reflect the fact that Manchester has a very strong cultural base, ideal for a film a film festival such as this one.

“Anecdotal evidence points to the wide geographical range of our attendees, who have often travelled from all across the North West and even beyond. Our audience are both loyal and discerning.”

Since its conception in 1994, ¡Viva!, has changed its format as time as passed.

Gibbs said: “From 2000-2009 we arranged a tour of selected titles to independent cinemas across the UK.

“In 2009, after audience consultation, we decided to reduce the number of screenings and extend the duration of the festival, enabling attendees to see even more of the programme on offer.“

She added: “In 2010 we introduced the art exhibition element to the festival, which was not possible this year due to the timetable for our transition to HOME in 2015, but the art exhibition element will return on an even larger scale next year.”

This year’s programme included films from Spain and all over the South American continent with Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and Peru all represented.

For the time being, ¡Viva! is concentrated purely on Spanish and Catalan0speaking cinema. When asked about this decision Gibbs said: “It started as a purely Spanish film festival and then we expanded our remit to include Spanish-speaking Latin America.

“Our scope is limited (if you can call it that) to Spanish-speaking territories and people do sometimes ask why we don’t expand it to include Brazil, with its undeniably vibrant film industry, but to be honest we just don’t have the hours in the day or the space in the programme!”

Alongside the cinema, there has been a wide-ranging selection of alternative events which celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture and also offer visitors exciting look into the Spanish-speaking film industry.

Jessie thinks that these kind of events have been some of the most well-received: “In my opinion, the highlights this year have been the guest Q&As.

“The three in the first few days of the festival in particular were very well-attended – Pelo maloDías de vinilo and Cazando lucíernagas.

These events are not just interesting for those who want to get there fix of Spanish cinema and wish to explore the ideas behind the films.

The film-makers themselves also take a lot from the experience – many impressed by their visit to Manchester.

Gibbs revealed: “Having the filmmakers over from Latin America was a great experience for all concerned, including for the film-makers themselves – none of whom had been to Manchester before.”

“Gabriel Nesci, the director of Días de vinilo, was particularly pleased to present the UK premiere of his debut film as this is the home of so many of his cultural icons, from the Beatles to The Office and Monty Python to Morrissey!”

Image courtesy of trash world with thanks

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