Ooh La Mirada!

Even the Rain

Even the Rain

La Mirada Film Festival commences its 2011 program of films, food and frivolity today. This energetic film festival showcases some of the best classic and modern Spanish language films available alongside its popular gala nights, Spanish cuisine and a Mexican fiesta. ACMI Event Coordinator Nic Dorward finds the answers to his most burning La Mirada questions when he speaks to the festival’s founder and director, Rocío García.

Tell us how you manage to secure such fantastic curators year after year. Almodóvar co-curates annually, and year-to-year guest curators have included Woody Allen, Penélope Cruz, Martin Scorsese, Guillermo del Toro etc…
Almodóvar got involved from the beginning. The whole concept of the festival, as its name indicates, involved inviting artists to curate part of the program. He was the first to come on board. He liked the idea of the festival a lot, and decided to contribute helping yearly to promote Spanish cinema in Australia. About the rest of the curators – I have proposed it to all of them, and each one has agreed to participate in the festival with different degrees of involvement and enthusiasm. A couple of them I knew personally, such as Antonio and Penélope, but the rest are artists I admire very much and I have boldly approached. With great results, I must say!

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Eminent La Mirada friends warmly welcome festival-goers at La Mirada 2010’s opening night.

What’s your favourite film festival (aside from your own!)?
In Australia? Or around the world? I think the programs of the international film festivals in Australia are fantastic. Unfortunately I am usually overseas during MIFF, but the program is terrific. I went last year to Sydney during SIFF and I enjoyed it a lot. It was also a great program. I look forward to going to Brisbane in November to check BIFF out. I am sure it will be fantastic too. I go to San Sebastian International Film Festival every year. It is a favourite within the industry – there is always a great atmosphere, the city is beautiful and manageable and the food could simply not be better.

It seems La Mirada gets bigger and bigger every year. How do you manage that growth, and where do you see the festival going in the next few years?
It is a pleasure to witness the growth of the festival. We work very hard to make it happen, although things seem a lot easier now. Fortunately most of our sponsors are happy with our arrangements, so they stay with us for years, which facilitates the process a lot. Working with the same people simplifies things. Our volunteers also return to work with us, so in the end we get to know all the people involved in the festival to a certain extent, which makes the process more comfortable and enjoyable. We will be touring the festival and incorporating part of the program in international film festivals. It is very exciting.

You started La Mirada from scratch. How would you describe the current climate for film festivals in Australia?
Australia is an extraordinarily fertile territory for these types of events. I believe the way La Mirada has developed is quite unique, in the sense that it was extremely successful from the first edition. We were all very surprised by this, since it is more common to build up an audience over years. I could not comment on other festivals because, I am ashamed to admit, I am quite ignorant about the state of other niche festivals. The French Film Festival is enormously popular – a veteran festival with a dedicated audience and the invaluable support of the Alliance Française. I quite like the program of the Japanese Film Festival too. I must say some festivals do operate more as a pseudo-distribution than as a festival per se. I believe that can be counterproductive for the industry and have really negative long term consequences.

What film would you suggest for this year’s festival for a) film buffs, b) first dates and c) first-time festival goers?
I would recommend film buffs see Guest, first dates should try Phase 7, and first-time festival goers should see Abel.

For your chance to win a double pass to any general session of La Mirada (excluding opening/closing gala, Spanish cuisine event, and Mexican Fiesta), tell us who you would like to see guest program La Mirada and why. Post your answers as a comment below. Winners drawn 21 April 2011.

La Mirada Film Festival 2011 screens at ACMI from Thursday 14 April – Tuesday 26 April 2011. For more details see La Mirada’s official website.

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4 Responses to “Ooh La Mirada!”

  1. Natalia 15. Apr, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I would like to see Alejandro González Iñárritu guest program La Mirada. His films are always thought provoking and full of emotion so I’m sure he would select really interesting films to screen.

  2. ACMI 21. Apr, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Thanks Natalia! You are the lucky winner of a free double pass to a La Mirada general session!

  3. Natalia 21. Apr, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Do I pick up my tickets at the box office? Will they be held under my name? Thank you for the tickets.

  4. ACMI 21. Apr, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi Natalia, yep – you can pick them up at the tickets and info desk at ACMI. Enjoy!

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