Judith Colell


“TV3 has to be the hub of our productions again”

Amid times of austerity in the culture sector, the Catalan Film Academy has voted in a new management team headed by film director Judith Colell, who aims to bring a new approach to strengthen the local filmmaking industry

we have to let people know that what we do is fantastic TWO CATALAN PRODUCTIONS ARE AMONG THE THREE PRE-OSCAR NOMINATED FILMS
I think it’s fantastic that a certain percentage of production is protected here IT’S A PITY WE DON’T HAVE MORE FILMS IN CATALAN... THE ONES WE DO HAVE ARE VERY STRONG

On June 14, the candidacy led by Judith Colell won the Catalan Film Academy elections. A little over three months have passed and the new president, born in Sant Cugat del Vallès in 1968 and director of films such as Elisa K, 53 Days of Winter and 15 Hours, has gone to work with her team: Vice President Sergi Moreno (producer); Carla Simón, Alba Cros and Sílvia Quer (directors), Carlos R. Ríos (distributor and director of the D’A festival), actors Maria Molins and David Verdaguer, editor Ana Pfaff and screenwriter Eduard Sola.

Do you stand by what you said in the elections, that you aren’t one to complain about everything?

Yes, totally. I think if we have to complain and ask for things, we have to do it behind closed doors. In front of the public, what we have to do is show our desire for cinema to represent us and help us create a collective imagination, and also to insist on the importance of continuing to make Catalan audiovisual content and in Catalan. And we also have to let people know that what we do is fantastic, that we have a lot of talent: we’re constantly involved in international festivals, winning prizes, the only Spanish representative at the Cannes festival is a Catalan film [Libertad], we won an award at the Locarno festival, we won all the awards in Málaga... two Catalan productions are among the three pre-Oscar nominated films. We have a lot of talent, great producers and great directors and technicians working all over the world, and we have to let the public know that so as to draw them in. That’s what the French do, and I’d like us to be a bit more French about it.

Do you think there’s one point in your election programme that attracted the most votes? Could it be the one about gaining “industrial muscle”?

I think that was an important issue. People were very worried and we saw that maybe we should focus more on that. I don’t know why we won; they trusted us. Also, due to our experience, as I have a lot, both in the Spanish academy, where I was vice-president for six years, and the Catalan one.

What will you do to gain “industrial muscle”?

With the Àgora Gaudí [training programme], with the residences, with financial support and hard work, we hope this will help create new scripts and that these will be developed in greater depth. We’ll have masterclasses, international casting agents... These are small things that can help. Now, the important work in recovering industrial muscle is not something we should or want to do ourselves. First, the producers have to do it, the Proa and PAC associations are fighting in that regard, and there are all the other associations. Obviously we, as representatives of the whole sector, will be there, talking to the institutions, both here in Catalonia and in Madrid, putting on pressure and insisting, talking to everyone... We all share the same aims.

What do you think about the new Spanish audiovisual law that will regulate platforms?

Like everyone else in Catalonia, I think it’s fantastic that a certain percentage of production is protected here. I think it should be higher, I don’t know why France and Germany can ask for a higher percentage of production in their language. Also, it’s worth noting that we have four official languages here, and there are quotas for each of them.

Will you keep the specific prize for films in the original Catalan version, of which there are again very few this year?

At the moment yes. This is a topic that needs to be discussed with academics. This year, we have not made any changes to the rules of the Gaudí Awards because we didn’t have time to consult the assembly. But obviously, for next year, this and many other things will be discussed: the acting awards [whether we continue to distinguish between actors and actresses], new awards we might want to include...

Do you have a position on the specific award for films in Catalan or do you just want to open a debate on the subject?

We want to open the debate. The idea I have is personal to me, it’s mty point of viewn. I hope there’ll be more films in Catalan next year, what we can’t have is that there are so few. Interestingly, the ones that are there are very strong, they’ve been to festivals and won many awards, but it’s a pity that we don’t have more.

Are you making plans for four years or looking further ahead?

Four years! I can only be there for four years, I was on the previous board for four more years, I was the secretary, and that will add up to eight years. I think there are a lot of things that can be done in four years and we’ll get them ready so the next board can implement them.

The previous president complained about TV3 a lot. Do you feel the same?

Our position is basically to listen to the industry. Obviously, TV3 needs more financial support. We always give the example of 10 years ago, when TV3 was the mainstay of our productions. It was the year of Pa negre, a film of mine, Elisa K, and other productions... We need to go back to that TV3, which not only had the big productions, but also the most auteur films like Caracremada or Aíta. TV3 has far less financial support now and this means that they cannot be the main support for Catalan cinema. How can we support it? We don’t know. This is an issue that needs to be addressed as well.

Is giving the Pepón Coromina Award to Cinema en Curs an example of the importance the new board wants to give to education?

It was a coincidence [laughs], a jury decides, but when they told me I was very happy about it, because we’re very committed to this type of educational project. Drac Màgic are honorary members and now this award for Cinema en Curs. One of the important projects of our candidacy for which we already have a commission, and we are working on it, is education and film. We hope to have the support of the Ministries of Education and Culture. Cinema en Curs works, and wonderfully well: they educate new audiences, they teach them to see another type of film... They teach them to watch. We’re very happy with the award, it feels like a statement of intent.

interview FILM

Sign in. Sign in if you are already a verified reader. I want to become verified reader. To leave comments on the website you must be a verified reader.
Note: To leave comments on the website you must be a verified reader and accept the conditions of use.