La Mirada Film Festival was brought to life, for the first time, in 2007. It is the only festival, worldwide, that is co-curated by the legendary film director, screenwriter and producer Pedro Almodóvar. Since his younger years as a prominent member of Madrid’s 1970s-1980s counterculture movement, Almodóvar has become Spain’s leading filmmaker and national advocate on the international stage of cinema.
Almodóvar was born into a small rural town in the province of Ciudad Real, Spain. It was an environment marred by poverty and peasantry, a world away from Madrid and its budding underground arts scene. Due to its lack of educational opportunities, Almodóvar was sent to a nearby town to receive a religious education. It was here, however, that Almodóvar first saw the cinema and the films that became his true form of education. Almodóvar’s eyes had been opened to a new world, and a passion was born. It was this inspiration that saw him relocate to Madrid in an attempt to pursue, through formal study, his newfound dream to make films. However, in addition to the Franco regime’s tight control on cultural institutions, financial problems meant that Almodóvar was unable to engage in any formal study in Madrid. He was forced to secure a job at the national telephone company Telefónica. Despite not being permitted the luxury of formal education in film, one can easily see the natural ability Almodóvar obtains in learning through the medium that is the environment around him. The twelve-year stint at Telefónica, was a period that saw the great story teller learn, extract and gain inspiration from his surroundings. He admits he learnt a great deal from listening to the conversations of the women in his workplace, which one can clearly see represented in a number of his films, as is the obsessive presence of telephones.
Using his self-funded Super-8 camera, Almodóvar continued on his quest to independently learn and to produce short films. He was a star of Madrid’s underground, counter-culture movement. A movement screaming for democracy in a country suffering from a regime so violently opposed to freedom of expression. His fame was increasing throughout the capital as more and more people were gathering to see the screenings of his experimental films, held in bars and various parties around Madrid. At these infamous events, he would perform live all the voices of the characters, songs and dialogues due to the financial and logistical difficulties of adding sound to his films. After ten years of making short films and with an extensive amount of self-taught knowledge behind him, it was in 1980 that Almodóvar made his first 16mm feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom y Otras Chicas del Montón.
Thirty years after the release of his first feature film, Almodóvar has become one of the most respected filmmakers of all time. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) and for Best Original Screenplay for Talk to Her (Hable con Ella) and a nomination for Women on the Verge of a Mental Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios). He is a regular attendee and award winner at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and continues to impress international audiences with his enduring ability to create films that entertain, incite thought and inspire creativity.
It is an honour to have Pedro Almodóvar, and his invaluable knowledge, experience and passion of Spanish and Latin American film, collaborating with La Mirada Film Festival, once again for 2012.
For more information of Pedro Almodóvar and his productions you can visit:
-The Skin I live In (2011)
- Broken Embraces (2009)
- Bad education (2004)
- Talk to Her (2002)
- All about my Mother (1999)
- Live Flesh (1997)
- The Flower of My Secret (1995)
- Kika (1993)
- High Heels (1990)
- Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down! (1989)
- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1987)
- The Law of Desire (1986)
- Matador (1985)
- What have I Done to Deserve This? (1984)
- Dark Habits (1983)
- Labyrinth of Passion (1982)
- Pepi, Luci y Bom (1980)