Seville European Film Festival managed to break its ceiling of 60,000 spectators at this year’s recently ended edition, with 60,769 people in the cinemas during the nine days of the SEFF. The transfer of the headquarters to the Nervión Cinemas and the consolidation of the Alameda Theatre as a screening venue and of CineZona for films in the Europa Junior section all received the support of Festival audiences, and the resulting figures made it possible to maintain the earnings from last year’s edition (which had increased 20% with respect to 2012 and 40% with respect to 2011) with an overall figure of 92,000 euros in box office takings.
These takings from direct sales to the public meant an average daily occupation in cinemas of 78% for films in the Official Section, and a figure of 14,502 attendants at all the parallel activities at SEFF 2014 (including the concerts held in the Sala Monasterio, the Sala X and the Casino de la Exposición) and industry activities, with a total figure of 75,271 spectators.
SPECTATORS AT THE OFFICIAL SECTION
The Official Section is still not only the flagship of the festival’s line of programming, but also the block of screenings with greatest acceptance by SEFF spectators. Once again, the films which competed for the Gold Giraldillo won the public’s favor, with a total attendance of 16,276 people. Of the 18 feature films in the section, nine were sell-outs, with almost 100% occupation. That was the case with LEVIATHAN, A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE, MR. TURNER, AIMER, BOIRE ET CHANTER , BIRD PEOPLE, LA SAPIENZA, TOURIST, HUNGRY HEARTS and LA IGNORANCIA DE LA SANGRE.
On examining the number of cinema spectators, the 2014 edition registered 60,769 spectators, of whom, as mentioned above, 16,276 attended screenings of films in the Official Section, 7,489 the EFA selection, 6,828 The New Waves section, and 2,879 Resistances. Along with those competitive sections most representative of SEFF, which drew the majority of spectators, it should be mentioned that Andalusian Panorama had 2,974 and Special Screening had 3,813.
WORLD PREMIERES, FIRST WORKS AND INDUSTRY
The Seville European Film Festival screened a total of 199 films, of which 109 were feature films and 90 medium length and short films. Among all these, it should be noted that 25 films had their world premiere at SEFF, 6 had their European premiere and 91 their national premiere. There was a total of 410 screenings (as opposed to 380 last year) over the nine days of the festival in the various venues in the city. The programming line defended in previous editions was strengthened with the creation of synergies between filmmakers and spectators. 25% of the screenings were complemented with presentations and Q&A sessions with directors, actors and members of the casts of the films screened. A total of 110 presentations and 76 talks and Q&A sessions offered the public a closer look at some of the most notable creators in the contemporary cinema panorama.
Another important feature is that in this edition SEFF has given firm support to the new talents in European cinema, screening over 30 first films in the main competitive sections, where they have participated in equal conditions with the great names of European cinema who have been in Seville in 2014, including Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent), Pedro Costa (Cavalo Dinheiro), Jessica Hausner (Amour Fou), Eugène Green (La Sapienza) or Pascale Ferran (Bird People), among others. This figure is increased significantly when extended to sections out of competition, with a total of 63 first films.
These data show a move towards a greater internationalization of SEFF, which was also strengthened with the numerous activities held within the INDUSTRY FORUM. Here, particular note should be made of the Extenda symposium or the talks at Europa Creativa, where audiences and their treatment were analyzed from the producer’s point of view. The Fundación AVA participated in the FORUM with various talks, including the Symposium on Financing in the Andalusian Audiovisual Sector or the XII Conference on Animation and Videogames. Seville also welcomed the presentation of the Unión de Cineastas, a projected coordinated by, among others, Mar Coll and Jonás Trueba, and whose founding objectives are connected with the defence of auteurist cinema which is carried on from SEFF.
Mention should also be made of the activities organized jointly with Europa Cinemas, which makes up the largest international network of cinemas dedicated to the circulation of European films. They held, in the headquarters of CICUS (University of Seville’s Center for Cultural Initiatives) their Laboratory of Innovation and Development of Audiences with 60 participants from 14 countries (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Greece, Czech Republic…) where we heard the ideas of exhibitors who are responsible for innovative initiatives for developing audiences and new forms of events in cinemas and from experts on social and digital platforms.
SEFF’S INTERNATIONAL PROJECTION
Undoubtedly, this edition has consolidated Resistances as the reference section, at a national and international level, for the premiere of Spanish independent cinema of the greatest quality and repercussion, self-produced and self-distributed in most cases, with 8 world premieres and one European premiere (as opposed to the 3 world premieres and no European premiere in its first edition, in 2013). Through this competitive section, as well as the other sections in the programme, the festival is consolidating its objective of becoming a focus of interest for programmers of festivals, film libraries and cultural spaces around the world, helping with the subsequent circulation of films by Spanish and Andalusian independent filmmakers (four films by directors from Andalusia could be seen in the Resistances section).
In 2014, SEFF was visited by the artistic directors of international festivals such as San Sebastian, Rotterdam, Buenos Aires (BAFICI), Vila do Conde, Crossing Europe (Linz, Austria), Bradford or IndieLisboa, among others. Other visitors included programmers and advisors for festivals such as Cannes (Cannes Classics), Locarno, FICValdivia, VIENNALE, Marseilles, Nederlands FF, La Roche-sur-Yon or Lima Independiente, and also for young festivals in Italy, Rumania, Serbia or Macedonia. Of course, the festival has continued to support the essential work by film libraries (Seville welcomed directors and programmers from Filmoteca Española, Centro Galego de Artes e Imaxe, the Filmoteca de Valencia and the Filmoteca de Andalucía), and also delegates from international institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in London or the Film Library in The Hague, along with programmers from the main venues on the alternative distribution circuits in Spain.
One of the most notable sections of the Seville European Film Festival is that aimed at children and youngsters, organized in collaboration with the Department of Educational Programmes in the Education Service in the Area of Culture, Education, Sports and Youth of the Seville City Council. The 2014 edition of Europa Junior is notable for the important increase in the number of youngsters attending screenings, with a record of 17,554 spectators (as opposed to 14,333 last year, which was double the figure for 2012), and also for the educational aspect of the section, through which the Seville Film Festival is working to create the bases for educating future spectators.
We should also mention the significant increase in the number of attendances from outside the city of Seville: 5,470 in 2014 as opposed to 3,355 in 2013.
ICAA AND MEDIA PROGRAMME
To conclude, we must mention the renewal of the aid from CREATIVE EUROPE MEDIA to the Seville Festival of European Cinema. The aim of the MEDIA Programme is to strengthen even more the cross-border cooperation between creative sectors in the European Union. Through Europa Creativa, film festivals are an essential tool for contributing to cultural diversity, and also to growth and employment in Europe in line with "Strategy Europe 2020" for intelligent, sustainable, integrating growth. Of the 316 requests received this year, SEFF was the Spanish festival which received greatest recognition, with an evaluation of 93 points out of 100. It should be mentioned that the subsidy to the Seville European Film Festival has increased by 18%, going from 50,000 euros in the 2013 edition to 59,000 euros in this latest edition, placing it among the 15 festivals with the largest subsidy in Europe.
As regards aid from the ICAA (Institute of Cinematic and Audiovisual Arts), of the 139 subsidies granted by this body dependent on the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, SEFF is among the most highly rated Spanish festivals, with 90.5 points out of 100, and its aid has been renewed and increased for another year, with a final contribution of 6,000 euros.