When, at the dizzying speed of a tracking shot, more than two decades have passed since the beginning of this Ponferrada International Film Festival, it is not only consolidated, but is a national reference. We Ponferradians could not feel more proud of their collaboration in a sector that, although it is an industry, fundamentally becomes culture for everyone. That is why it is fair to begin by congratulating and simultaneously thanking the Cultural Association “Mi Retina me Engaña” for having reached its 21st edition. Those beginnings as a short film competition are far away and we are already celebrating a decade of the international nature of the Festival. Internationality that opens Ponferrada to the world and brings the world closer to Ponferrada. More than twelve hundred films received is a prodigious figure, but if it is connected with their origins, more than forty countries, the open character of our city, of which the Festival is the best business card, takes on true meaning. That is why our collaboration between the city council and the Festival is a door to new sensations, to renewed images, to other cultures. I cannot agree with Visconti in his statement that cinema is never art, but rather a work of craftsmanship, sometimes of the first order, second or third at most, because cinema takes us to thousands of other people’s lives, to hundreds of feelings. unknown, to other realities that in Ponferrada we do not want to be alien to on a screen. Rather we appreciate with Jean-Luc Godard that if photography is true, cinema is truth twenty-four times a second.

This Ponferrada International Film Festival brings together existences that are not ours, but that we do not want to be ignored. As Ettore Scola stated, cinema is a painted mirror, a mirror that reflects the realities of worlds sometimes so close and so unknown that they shake our senses and our consciences only when we perceive them through the eye of a camera. So many times a single shot, just a sequence, is enough to leave an indelible mark on our spirit. Hence, the prominence that the Festival gives to the public seems vital to us, through which viewers become an active part of the Festival with their votes for the Retina Awards; If so many times the public has become an inexorable jury in commercial theaters, this jury has been more lenient and participatory in Ponferrada.

Above all, I do not want to fail to highlight three notes that justify public involvement in the Festival. First, the promotion of Bercian audiovisuals, focused on our environment or by authors from our land, because it tries to break that closed circle that is so difficult to break that is the film industry. Second, a specialization by section that expands the scope for very varied artistic, cultural and social orientations, avoiding a monotonous vision of reality. And third, through the children’s film section, introduce the younger generations to the artistic quality of cinema and the interest in the lives of others with whom we share the planet. These are not only the viewers of the future, but most likely the members of the film industry of the future. For all this, thank you for the effort to organize this 21st edition, thank you for bringing the world closer to Ponferrada and bringing its magic to our lives because, as Coppola stated, we are attracted to cinema by its magical component. I end with a phrase from Alex de la Iglesia: “Cinema makes you be in impossible places”, with our Festival, Ponferrada is a possible place in the world.

D. Marco A. Morala




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