Trans-Iberian

Trans-Iberian

Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

"Make it yours, this festival is for you" Evolution Film Festival opens in Mallorca.

Por: | 03 de noviembre de 2014

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I went to meet a very impressive woman this week: Sandra Seeling Lipski. She is the founder and director of the Evolution Film Festival which is held next week in Majorca.  The festival will feature movies and documentaries (long and short) in English or subtitled in English, which have been created by film makers from all over the world. Sandra was born in Berlin, grew up in Majorca and then moved to New York and then LA to study and then work professionally in the acting and film making industry.

So why did you decide to start a film festival back on your island? “When I started I was 27 and very naïve and I just did it. An innocent! This thought had occurred to me why isn’t there a film festival in Majorca? Why not, it’s the perfect place, it’s central in Europe, the connections to get here are amazing. I just thought: I’m just going to do it, and that’s pretty much what I did. I’d never even done an event before, I just had that feeling that I needed to do this. My parents live in Majorca, and my brother has a business here as well so I was coming here regularly anyway, so I thought why not just bring a bit my LA life with me?

“The first year went pretty well: we had around 450 guests. I thought nobody would come, but somehow these people found about it, and it was a very international audience. And then I started to have people contact me asking if we would be doing a second year, even I wasn’t sure. But then I thought, okay, let’s do it again, and we had 1500 guests. The positive response was just overwhelming. There was a real festival spirit. People would go to the cinema and watch the movies and then go to the bar afterwards and talk about the films. It’s a conversation that gets started, which I love. And then meet up again and talk over coffee at the free morning events that we do. We will be doing some at Rialto Living this year: directors come, actors come and you can talk to them and be in this very casual environment and meet people that maybe you have always wanted to talk to. So I created these little get togethers and brought all of these movies here and somehow it just blossomed.

Tone Adsero, Director of Hotel Cort, Esperanza Crespí and Sandra Seeling


It’s not easy to do something like this is it?
“Of course, there’s also been the point where I’ve thought, well maybe I’m going to have to quit as there’s not enough money and not enough help and this, and this, and this. But somehow, it kind of just wanted to happen again. We have a fantastic new graphic designer who has come on board who has helped us to revamp our new logo and look, and that has helped us to attract new private sponsors who are really important. This year we have Hotel Cort sponsoring the rooms for the film makers, they are making it possible for them to have accommodation whilst they are here. We have Mercedes who are doing all of the transport for us, Rialto Living who are hosting the Café con Cine mornings. The Ayuntamiento have given us twenty bus stops where we can put our posters. And we have a fantastic relationship with the people at Teatro Principal, and Cine Ciutat. They love us and support us, it’s pretty amazing. They love the event, that’s it is young people and that it’s fresh and new. I’m not there yet where I want it to be, I need to be able to have a budget to pay the people who work on the festival next year so we’re looking for 2015 sponsors.”

Helium, the Oscar winner for Best short film 2014, showing at the festival.

What’s the process? “I start to choose the movies in March, and then come over to Majorca in May and speak to the sponsors, and then I come back for the six weeks prior to the festival. And I also organise the Los Angeles edition of the festival which is terrific promotion for the island, it introduces the island to film makers who may come over here and shoot a movie.”

How do you choose the movies? “The first year we had about 100 submissions, the second 150 and this year we’ve topped out at 230 submissions. I watch them all and choose from the programme from this. In this year’s festival we have 43 films! We have feature films, short films and documentaries, so we have a bit of everything. It’s an international festival. We are going to show three movies from local Majorcan film makers: Pep Bonet, Toni Bestard and Nofre Moyà. The films fall under the theme of “Cultural Differences”, how our society treats senior citizens, our relationships between humans and animals and nature, the power of music and an extensive offer of genres including drama, comedy, suspense and musicals.   They are all unique, and forty of the films are premiering for the first time in Spain. I chose them because they are socially and environmentally relevant, that touch upon themes which are in the news right now. ”

Druid Peak. The festival's opening film. PHOTO CREDIT Evolution Film Festival
What can we do to help?
“We’ve created this festival for you, please talk about it, get involved, come to the screenings, tell other people about it, make it yours, it’s for you”.

There will be a “warm up screening” on Sunday November 2nd at Es Baluard. The festival officially opens on November 6th with a gala at Teatro Principal. The festival screenings are all at Cine Ciutat until November 10th. There will be three “Café con cine” meetings at Rialto Living on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the festival. You can see the full programme of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival and buy your festival tickets online at www.evolutionfilmfestival.com. Tickets are 5€ or you can buy a festival pass for the entire event for €45. To read more articles about people on the island visit www.mallorcastories.com. 

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only English language daily paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki. 

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Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of Andalucia.com and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at korenhelbig.com.

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area perelloplus.com. @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check: www.lookingfordrama.com.

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