MARTA VELASCO, 'FRANCISCO ELÍAS' AWARD FROM THE ISLANTILLA FESTIVAL: “THE NEW ANDALUSIAN FILM ACADEMY WAS ALREADY AN UNACCEPTABLE TOOL TO PROJECT THE ENORMOUS POTENTIAL OF THE ANDALUSIAN AUDIOVISUAL INDUSTRY.”
The constituent president of the new institution that will mark the future of the Seventh Art made in the south of Despeñaperros will receive tonight the highest award at the Huelva exhibition. The Sevillian producer Marta Velasco held a meeting with the press this morning a few hours before the Festival International Film Under the Moon – Islantilla Cinefórum pays tribute to him in the context of the Opening Gala of its fourteenth edition, which will take place tonight in the gardens of the Hotel Estival Islantilla, official headquarters of this film exhibition stranded on the shores of the Huelva Atlantic , between the municipalities of Isla Cristina and Lepe.
Velasco, who has been supported in this event by the island's Deputy Mayor, Isabel López; by his lepero counterpart, Jesús Toronjo; and by the director of the Festival, Esteban Magaz; She was visibly moved when she expressed her gratitude for a recognition “that bears the name of a pioneering Andalusian like Francisco Elías, the first Spaniard to shoot a sound film, which is a symbol and a responsibility,” and she dedicated this award “especially to the person who has supported me the most in my career and who has believed in me the most: my mother; She told me that if I was clear about my dream, I should fight and work hard for it; Today, with this tribute to my professional career, I can't help but remember her.”
The one who is also the constituent president of the recently created Andalusian Film Academy, has referred to this new institution as “a tool that was already unavoidable to position the Andalusian industry in the place it deserves due to the enormous national and international that it has”, and has also had words of gratitude for the members of its Board of Directors, some of them attending the event, such as its vice presidents, the actress Mercedes Hoyos and the president of ASECAN, Lourdes Palacios; or the director Benito Zambrano.
The Deputy Mayor of Isla Cristina, Isabel López, thanked the honoree “for having accepted this award from a young festival, with only fourteen editions behind it, but which in a very short time has been able to take the pulse of the industry and project the name of Islantilla to the five continents, with figures as compelling as the more than 1,400 works registered in its Official Competition Section in the midst of a pandemic, when film production has been reduced throughout the world.
For his part, the Deputy Mayor of Lepe, Jesús Toronjo, has reiterated “the support of institutions such as the Commonwealth of Islantilla for cinema and the professionals of the Andalusian audiovisual industry, because from the first moment we understood that the pandemic could not paralyze the culture and that this Festival had to go ahead, even if its security measures had to be adapted, because today it is the most important cultural offering on the entire coast of Huelva.”
Finally, the director of the exhibition, Esteban Magaz, recalled the brilliant professional career of Marta Velasco through production, “in which she began in 2004 with the help of her partner Gonzalo Bendala with the production company Áralan Films, leaving for the posterity outstanding national and international works.” Magaz has defined her as “a true producer, on set,” and has expressed her admiration “for a woman who fights for each of the projects she embarks on, feeling that they are hers.”
Among Marta Velasco's most celebrated works are titles such as Intemperie, by Benito Zambrano (2019); Who will sing to you, by Carlos Vermut (2018); Gold, by Agustín Díaz Yanes (2017); The Wild Children, by Patricia Ferreira (2012); as well as the two titles by Gonzalo Bendala: When the Angels Sleep (2018) and Innocent Killers (2015). Velasco is currently immersed in the production of the feature film The Turtle Maneuver, by Juan Miguel del Castillo, a work that she combines with the creation, starting in 2022, of the Carmen Awards, which will be awarded by the new Andalusian film institution, and of which he has declared that “it was born with great enthusiasm and great desire, but above all with the most beautiful thing we have: the love we have for cinema.”
Marta Velasco was chosen in 2014 by the European Film Promotion and the ICAA as the Spanish representative on the Producers on the Movie platform, participating in the Cannes Festival among a total of twenty-four emerging European producers. In 2019, the Association of Film Writers of Andalusia (ASECAN) awarded her the Josefina Molina Prize, an award that highlights the work of Andalusian women filmmakers. Other notable awards for his filmography are the Biznaga de Oro at the Malaga Festival for The Wild Children (2012); the Feroz Zinemaldia Award from the San Sebastián Festival for Quien Te Cantar; or the Goya nomination for Best Film for Intemperie (2019).