Ulrich Seidl took top honors for “Rimini” at the 60th Gijón-Xixón Film Festival in Spain on Saturday after hitting back at German magazine Der Spiegel’s allegations of impropriety and exploitation of children on the set of “Sparta”, the accompanying piece of “Rimini”.
World premiere at the Berlin Festival, “Rimini,” a “compelling, unsettling Ulrich Seidl that burns slowly, electrified by a stunning central bend,” said Variety, follows washed-up crooner Richie Bravo (Michael Thomas) who is suddenly opportune for money by his estranged daughter.
“Sparta” focuses on Richie’s wayward brother, Edward, who buys an abandoned school in Romania’s Transylvania and converts it into a compound called Sparta, teaching young children self-defense. That gives him the chance to photograph them naked.
Germany’s largest news website Der Spiegel also alleged that Seidl did not reveal “Sparta’s” focus on pedophilia to his young non-professional actors aged 9-16, nor to their guardians, and that the young actors were exposed to alcoholism, nudity and violence during production without adequate preparation or support.
Allegations of child abuse are “fabricated,” Seidl said in Gijón, answering a question about the allegations at a “Rimini” press conference. “Sparta” was shot for so long that if anything unusual had happened on set, the child actors’ parents would have known about it, Seidl added, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Among other awards, Romanian Alexander Belc’s fiction debut Metronom won the Best Film award in Gijón’s Retueyos section, reserved for first and second features.
A “handsome, heartfelt debut,” wrote Variety Cannes’ Best Director winner Un Certain Regard centers on a teenage girl, Ana, who writes a letter to a pirate radio in Bucharest in 1972, bringing Ceausescu’s secret police to her doorstep.
“Anhell69,” by Colombia’s Theo Montoya, “a haunting, cinematic portrait of the young gay scene in Medellín,” said Varietywon in Gijón’s Tierres en Trance Latin American contest.
Mexican Claudia Sainte-Luce (“The Realm Of God”) got nods from both Acción’s Spanish directors’ organization and the CIMA Women’s Association for the coming-of-age story “The Realm of God,” which bowed to the Generation Kplus sidebar of Berlinale before sweeping this year’s Guadalajara Film Festival in June.
Festivals, regardless of their size, now have to serve an industrial purpose. Gijón is not that small these days, with eight world premieres and 41 Spanish premieres.
Three 2021 competition titles were not distributed for Spain by Gijón, including “Intregalde” by Romanian Radu Muntean, acquired by A Contracorriente Films, one of Spain’s top distributors.
This year’s Gijón has expanded its industry remit in several ways. FICX Pro, the festival’s branch, looked into new training initiatives, Semilleru Campus – a three-week program for producers and filmmakers – and Semilleru LAB, a project platform where five titles also competed for post-production awards, including an invitation to the growing Mecas market of the Canary Islands.
Gijón from 2022 was also part of what is evidenced by a prolonged recovery of the industry after the pandemic.
Beatriz Navas, head of the Spanish ICAA bureau, hosted a closed session on pan-regional Spanish co-production, now common practice in larger national art house films. “If you want to co-produce, you have to get to know your partners,” she argued. “So any excuse to get together is good,” she added.
Full list of 2022 Gijón-Xixón International Film Festival winners:
“Rimini” (Ulrich Seidl, Austria, France, Germany)
Special Jury Prize
“The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft” (Werner Herzog, France, UK, Switzerland, US)
“The Novelist’s Film” (Hong Sang-Soo, South Korea)
“Metronom” (Alexandru Belc, Romania, France)
AISGE Award, Best Actress
Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”, USA)
AISGE Award Best Actor
Marc Maron (“To Leslie”)
“Estertor” (Sofía Jallinsk, Basovih Marinaro, Argentina)
TIERRES AND TRANCE
Fipresci best feature
“Anhell69,” (Theo Montoya, Colombia, Romania, France, Germany)
Accion Best Director
Claudia Sainte-Luce, (“The Kingdom of God”, Mexico)
Principado de Asturias Best Short Film
“La niña mártir,” (María Pérez Sanz, Spain)
Youth Jury Prize, Best Feature Film, Retueyos
“Bread and Salt”, (Damian Kocur, Poland)
Youth Jury Award, Best Short Film
“Shine,” (Ken Rischard, Luxembourg)
Best Spanish Feature Film
“A Foreign Song” (Cesar Souto, Spain)
RCservice Award, Best Spanish Feature Film Director
DAMA Award, Best Script, Spanish Feature Film
“Hilos,” (Tito Montero, Spain)
Deluxe DCP Award
Rocío Mesa (“Secaderos”, Spain, USA)
“Mision a Marte,” (Amat Vallmajor del Pozo)
CIMA Prize Female Director Feature Film
“The Kingdom of God”
RTPA Award for Best Asturian Feature Film
“O Corpo Aberto,” (Ángeles Huerta, Spain, Portugal)
RTPA Asturies Curtiumetraxes Competition Prize
“Europe,” (Lucas del Fresno, Spain, Switzerland)
RTPA Asturies Curtiumetraxes Competition Special Mention
“Vas a ser mi memoria siempre,” (Marina Munarriz, Spain)
Laboral Cinemateca Short Film Award
“8 films sobre la guerra,” (Pablo Casanueva, Spain)
Enfants Terribles Award for Best Feature Film
“Bigman,” (Camiel Schouwenaar, Netherlands, Germany)
“The Fire Within: A Requiem for Katia and Maurice Krafft”
Audience Award, Tierres and Trance, for Distribution
“Hilos” (Tito Montero, Spain)
Prize for Young Europe
“Cabeza y corazón,” (Ainhoa Andraka, Zuri Goikoetxea, Spain)
Proyecto Corto Movistar+, Pecera Estudio, Free Your Mind 2022
“Largo viaje,” (Héctor Herce, Kabiria Films, Spain)
New drivers, Asturias prize
“Cantar un batallón,” (Inés G. Aparicio, Spain)
Special 60 FICX award
Maria de Medeiros
Price Semilleru Lab Asturias Paraíso Natural Film Commission
“Los Andares,” (Isa Luengo, Sofia Esteve)
“Tres Canciones” (Adrià Guxens)
“Guía de Confección sin Patrón” (Carmen Menéndez, Gusano Films)
SEMILLERU LAB award for post production
“Yo tenia una vida” (Octavio Guerra)
Open ECAM Price
“Los Restos del Pasar” (Luis Soto, Alfredo Picazo)
Gran Canaria Mecas 2023 Prize
“Los restos del pasar” (Luis Soto and Alfredo Picazo)
DCP Deluxe SEMILLERU Lab Award
“Yo tenia una vida”
John Hopewell contributed to this article.