Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival 2017
Academy award winning director, writer and producer Paul Haggis will be the special guest at this year’s Opening Gala which will take place on the 26th of October at Teatre Principal in Palma. Haggis will be honoured with the Evolution VISION Award, a well-deserved price for this iconic and visionary filmmaker who inspires audiences and has created visionary entertainment that has touched generations.
For this year’s edition, 700 short and feature-length movies from different countries have been handed over and 103 could finally make it to be part of the programme.
Over the past year, Sandra and her team have been liaising with local film-makers, production companies, the Islas Baleares Film Commission, L’Institut d’Estudis Baleàrics, and audiovisual schools such as CESAG. The result is the Producers Club (November 2nd) – a series of panel discussions on topics such as film financing, grant applications, pre- and post-production, and distribution.
Screenings will be at Palma’s Teatre Principal, Cineciutat, and Es Baluard. There’ll be “Café Con Cine“ at Rialto Living, and various networking events in collaboration with their many loyal partners.
Support from the local film community is flourishing and this year’s festival will feature the largest section of Balearic films to date. These are features, shorts, documentaries, and music videos, shot on Mallorca by ‘mallorquín’ film-makers. It’s an important development: “I’m thrilled that EMIFF has formed a true bond with local film-makers and is working continuously to promote local films at the festival, and beyond.”
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EMIFF movies stand for innovative and provocative storytelling. “Our main goal will always be to inspire our audience to be better, more curious, and more adventurous,” Sandra says. “Our audience may be deeply touched emotionally, be offended, or even embarrassed after leaving a screening – but that is OK. It will move something in them, maybe mobilize a new action in their lives, and release a new passion or talent. That is what EMIFF is about.”
Sandra’s expectations for the festival have been high from the beginning, because she believed in it. “It has cost us a lot of sweat and tears, sleepless nights, and countless cross-Atlantic Skype calls, but it’s all been worth it!”
One of the biggest accomplishments this year has been growing their core team with new dedicated members “who have already proven fundamental for the festival’s further evolution.” Sandra hopes to expand their “fun and collaborative team” even further before this year’s festival and invites anyone interested to contact her through the website.
EMIFF has added new elements each year, but also strives to improve what already exists. “Make the Café con Cine 2017 the best and most interesting we’ve ever had,” Sandra cites as an example. “It’s like we now have a recipe of how to do it. Our yearly task is to perfect that same recipe and maybe throw in one or two new ingredients to give it that extra twist.” Sounds like the perfect recipe for a book about setting up a film festival …
Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival runs from the 26th of October to the 4th of November 2017.
About Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival
“There’s no book about setting up film festivals,” says Sandra Seeling about the festival she’d founded in 2012. If there were to be, the Berlin-born actress and film-maker – who grew up on Mallorca but lives mostly in LA – could write it.
Sandra was just 27 when she decided to start an international film festival on Mallorca. Neither her age, nor living in Los Angeles, deterred Sandra – who had lived on Mallorca from the age of nine until, at 18, she moved to New York. She graduated from the city’s Lee Strasberg Theater School, then the Los Angeles Film School, with a film-making degree, in 2011.
By then, she’d already submitted her first movie to the Mallorca Film Festival – as a chance to show her work back at home. The festival didn’t happen, so Sandra – “I’m a very impulsive person” – launched her own, on the island where her parents still live. “I just went out and did it,” she says, as though it were a cinch. In summer 2012, she visited Mallorca to discuss plans; the inaugural Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival was that autumn, attracting around 450 visitors.
The first Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival lasted five days, attracting 100 movie submissions and 450 visitors. On an upward trajectory ever since, the festival has grown to 10 days.
Its kudos has also grown: in mid-August, there had already been submissions (550+) from more than 50 countries for the fifth edition. Last year’s winning films were recently screened at the Los Angeles Film School.
Each festival gets better. “You just try to improve everything for the people who help you, the film-makers, and the audience,” Sandra says. An example is the simpler and cheaper option of submitting films online. “There’s no book about setting up film festivals. It was truly learning by doing, and now I have a sense of what to do, and when.”
Sandra finds that Mallorcan film-makers are not as active online or on social media as others: “It takes me four times to knock on their door so they see what’s happening, but we are knocking, and emailing them personally. I also get that it’s hard: there’s this German blonde in LA who wants to do a film festival on their island. You have to win their hearts!”
Sandra heads a small team who watch and consider every submission. “With documentaries, it’s about the story: what’s the topic? How deep do they go? It’s important that film-makers find a struggle in the story and take the audience on a journey, so they come out of the movie theatre having learned something or been inspired.”
In five years’ time? “I want the festival to have established itself as the cinematic cultural event for the Balearic Islands – with a big corporate sponsor or private investor on board, so I can finally hire the people I need.”
The festival can be a launchpad for promising new talent. Take Jacob Frey and Markus Kranzler: their animated short ‘The Present’ was screened at EMIFF 2015 and has now won dozens of awards; these film-makers have also bagged themselves jobs at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, respectively.