Written for The Local:
The Madrid International Film Festival returns this week with a programme of independent films from Europe, America, Australia and beyond. The event is run by Film Festival International, who also direct sister festivals in St Tropez, Milan and Tenerife. Still in its infancy, the Madrid IFF was founded in 2012, this year marking its fourth edition.
The entire event will be held from July 2nd to July 11th at the arty Dormirdcine hotel, where all-day screenings, networking sessions and masterclasses will culminate in an awards night where the filmmakers will compete for prizes in the Best Film, Best Director and Best Lead Actor categories, among others. The candidates will also have the chance to try and sell their films, as seasoned film distributors are among the industry players who will be in attendance.
This year’s nominees, in a truly eclectic roster of films, include:
Ballet 422 – Best Film
Jody Lee Lipes’ fly-on-the-wall documentary follows young choreographer Justin Peck as he makes his debut creating an original show for the New York City Ballet – the company’s 422nd. In the vein of The September Issue and Dior and I, the film is an intimate account of the peaks and troughs of the creative process – over 72 minutes, the audience bears witness to one man’s vision carried painstakingly through to completion.
Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise – Best Documentary Feature
Filmed over thirteen years, German director Volker Schaner’s Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise is an intimate portrait of the Jamaican reggae artist as he discovers the meaning of life, love, music and everything in between.
A Tangled Web – Best Original Screenplay
JP Thomas’ noir-tinged whodunit, set in the sun-drenched suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, is up for Best Original Screenplay at MIFF thanks to its inventive premise and labyrinthine plotting.
The Last Night – Best Original Screenplay of a Short Film
The Last Night, a timely and relevant short from director David Strong, centres around a single night during which a UN peacekeeper attempts to negotiate with an insurgent leader in Afghanistan. Equal parts empathetic and critical towards the west’s presence in the war-torn nation, Strong draws on his own experiences in the military to create an authentic and nuanced snapshot of international communications in the Middle East.
Seven Lucky Gods – Best Film
Also up for Best Film is Jamil Dehlavi’s thriller about an Albanian immigrant who falls in with a group of British elites and changes their lives forever. Not much has been said about the film, but its absorbing trailer and several nominations make it look set to be a festival highlight.