Vila do Conde “Curtas” gets underway

The 23rd “Curtas” – Vila do Conde Short Film Festival opened on Saturday with a six-hour film. What may sound like a paradox is actually good news since the chosen film is Miguel Gomes’ highly praised Arabian Nights. Gomes - who was a regular of the festival throughout the years (read news) - is however just one of the many Portuguese directors programmed in promising edition. This year the “Curtas” will also present five new films produced by the festival itself, besides a focus on French director Quentin Dupieux, a film-concert performed by US indie band Lambchop, among many others sections and events.

The National Competition section is inviting back several winners of previous editions, who continue to explore the experimentation potential of the short format. Among its 19 contenders is Jorge Quintela (winner in 2013 with Carosello), who is presenting his new title Sobre el Cielo. Salomé Lamas – one of the winners in 2012 with A Comunidade – is now introducing a coproduction between Portugal, Germany and Moldova named A Torre. Two-time winner Portuguese-Swiss director Basil da Cunha is back with the documentary Nuvem Negra. Sandro Aguilar, one of the partners of production outfit O Som e a Fúria, is also back with his latest project Bunker. Director and producer Rodrigo Areira is unveiling O Guardador. And one of the most promising young directors, Carlos Conceição, is showing his new short Acorda, Leviatã. Conceição, whose previous film Boa Noite, Cinderela was seen in Cannes last year, has shot his new film in Portugal and Angola.

Other Portuguese contenders this year include animation director Rita Cruchinho Neves, writer-director João Rosas, José Magro, Paulo Abreu, Francisco Valente, Francisco Neffe, Margarida Lucas, Alice Guimarães, Mónica Santos, Natália Azevedo Andrade, André Marques and Luís Alves de Matos.

European talent is represented in the International Competition with several titles, among them Urso by Pascal Flörks (Germany), Kiss Me Not by Inês Loizillon (France), Scheinkraft by Philip Widmann (Germany / Índia), Vita Brevis by Thierry Knauff (Belgium / France), Hot Nasty Teen by Jens Assur (Sweden) and One of a Kind by Rok Predin (UK).

“Curtas” has produced several films in the latest years, particularly in the framework of Campus, a project developed with several schools from the northern region. This year’s edition is presenting three of those films, which were directed by Spanish indie filmmaker Lois Patiño and by Portuguese directors Sandro Aguilar and Manuel Mozos. There is room also to the premiere of Vila do Conde Espraiada by Miguel Clara Vasconcelos and Nossa Senhora da Apresentação by Abi Feijó, Alice Guimarães, Laura Gonçalves and Daniela Duarte. The two films were made during a residency of the artists at the Solar – Cinematic Art Galery, in Vila do Conde.

The festival wraps on July 12 with O Sonho do Estivador, a Portuguese/US coproduction directed by Bill Morrission based on archive images from the Portuguese Film Museum. US group Lambshop will play the film’s soundtrack in a simultaneous live performance.

Vitor Pinto

06 July 2015, by Vitor Pinto