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Judith Colell Says Our Film Model Is Not French It Is Danish

On June 14 Judith Colell (Sant Cugat del Vallès, 53 years old) signed the minutes of the elections to the presidency of the Catalan Film Academy as secretary of the board, upon entering, and as president, upon leaving. His candidacy, Cinema and Future, was imposed on that of the also director Neus Ballús, ‘An open door academy’ .

Colell has been a member of the institution since it was created in 2008. Four years ago she joined Isona Passola’s board as secretary and has been secretary of the Spanish Film Academy, in addition to directing the degree in Audiovisual Communication at the Ramón Llull University . “I thought that, of course, after so many years of an academic master’s degree, it was time to put all this experience at the service of my colleagues in the Catalan film industry,” she explains.

“I find myself a fantastic academy, with a team that I know well,” he says. “I think that, despite the pandemic situation, the Academy is strong: the Gaudí Awards are in fantastic health; the Gaudí Cycle, a great project that came out of the previous meeting, is already in more than 100 rooms, including Northern Catalonia; We have just organized the meeting of the Iberian academies; in September we will do the Gaudí-Goya exchange again, in which in Madrid they pay a tribute to our honorary Gaudí , Carme Elies, and we will do it Angela Molina ”.

Colell’s team, of which the producer Sergi Moreno is the vice president, is not that they bet on total continuity. “No way,” she says energetically. “The first novelty will be the creation of commissions to study and debate specific issues.

From the gala itself to the relationship with other academies, to education, to the relationship with platforms, to animation, to the commitment to young people and to bring cinema closer to schools. At the Academy there is a lot of talent and a lot of desire to work so that people who are dedicated to the film industry feel represented ”.

The director assures that the fundamental thing is: “That the spectator feels challenged by our cinema. The cinema explains to us as a society, who we are, how we relate to each other, what language we speak.

We have a fantastic cinema, very good, that has been awarded in all the festivals, that travels a lot. We have to get our viewers to believe it, because it’s true. They just need to go to see it, get to know it and value it. I am envious of the French, how chauvinistic they are with their cinema ”.

Colell considers that this problem happens with all Spanish cinema and a good part of European cinema. “France is where they have done better, and I think that the Catalans can also have that chauvinistic point of the French.

Our cinema is very good. We have to breastfeed. If we go to Malaga and we win everything! ”He says, with humor, recalling the recent successes of the Andalusian festival of El ventre del mar , by Agustí Villaronga, Destello Bravío , Chavalas or 15 hours , by Colell herself .

10 years ago, films with a higher budget were made in Catalonia: Pa negre ate all the Goyas in the world!
But is French the model to follow in Catalonia? “I don’t think so,” he replies. “Catalonia has no state, we are smaller… We must look at the cinematography of countries similar to Catalonia. Denmark, for example, except because it is a State and we are not, it does have, like us, a minority language and they shoot both in their language and in English.

They make great cinema, many series, they interact with the countries around them to co-produce. That can be a good model for us. “

There is talent in Catalan cinema, but success depends on funding… “I hope that the new aid from the Generalitat will allow more films to be made in Catalan and films with a higher budget than 10 years ago: Pa negre ate all the goyasof the world! It is important to bet on cinema in Catalan.

And, of course, if someone wants to shoot in Catalan, they don’t have to do it in Spanish because the funding comes from elsewhere; If someone wants to shoot in Spanish, let them do it, or in English or whatever language, but if someone wants to shoot in Catalan, they can.

I usually shoot in my language, Catalan. At first I shot a movie in Spanish, thinking that this way I would have a greater commercial career, but I no longer think about it. My film with the greatest impact was in Catalan. Furthermore, I am convinced that when a film reaches you, it reaches you the same in Spanish, Catalan or Swahili ”.

Convinced that vaccines will help end the pandemic, she is confident that movie theaters will return to normal: “They urgently need 100%. Because they have had a very bad time. We cannot allow more cinemas to close ”. What many see as a threat to theaters, Colell is not scared: “Cinema will never disappear.

Obviously there are some platforms that are here to stay, and we all watch movies in other formats, but the magic of going to the cinema, in community, with the concentration that a theater gives you, is incomparable ”. On the other hand, platforms give work. The Academy is clear about it: we want them to come and shoot here, to settle here and to make series in Catalan (we are watching series that happen in Barcelona and in which not a word is said in Catalan!). In this I will be, more than optimistic.

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