• The Festival’s strong international presence is demonstrated by the exponential growth in the number of subscriptions, surpassing 100 in 2017 to more than 1,600 in 2018
  •  The program includes ten feature films, seven of which are premieres in Spain, and 20 short films from the Official Section, originating from the four continents

Almeria, September 13th 2018-. The Almeria Western Film Festival (AWFF), taking place from October 9th to the 13th in Tabernas and the Western villages Oasys Mini Hollywood, Fort Bravo Texas Hollywood and Western Leone, has presented the contents of its 8th edition. The Festival has a strong international presence, being unique of its kind in Europe, which is demonstrated by the exponential growth in the number of subscriptions surpassing 100 in 2017 to more than 1,600 in 2018. The program includes ten feature films, seven of which are premieres in Spain, and 20 short films from the Official Section, originating from the four continents. In total, around five hundred educational and cultural activities will take place – this offer, open to the public, is suitable for all audiences and free of charge.

The Alcazaba of Almeria was chosen as the location to present the programming for the next edition, which relied on the presence of the delegate of the Government of Andalucia, Gracia Fernández, the delegate of tourism, Alfredo Valdivia, the provincial deputy of Culture in Almeria, Antonio J. Rodríguez, the mayor of Tabernas, José Díaz, and the Festival director, Juan Francisco Viruega. In addition, representatives from the different entities that have collaborated with the festival were present, as well as filmmakers and Western film enthusiasts from the area. The presentation included a musical interpretation of soundtracks of well-known films by Almeria saxophonist, Juanma Linde, accompanied by singer, Mar Venzal.

In the official sections taking part in the competition, the presence of women continues to be outstanding in the direction, production and interpretation. The show is composed of feature films, Western and Neo-Western short films, Retrospective films, and a new section called “Panorama”, which includes three documentaries that won’t take part in the competition and whose premiere will take place at the Festival. As it has done before, AWFF hosts the presentation of literary works, discussion tables, and meetings with the audience, concerts and activities for children.

After several months analyzing films, the result is an official section that achieves a balance between the classic Western and modern stories based on Western archetypes. This is one of my objectives, to modernize the festival’s programming, keeping the Spaghetti Western in the Retrospective Section, and honoring the Official Section like a window for the screening of films showing the new directions of the genre, such as the post-modern languages of the 21st Century, the hybridization and the adaptation of traditional western topics to new social questions”, the Festival’s director said.

In the sample of feature films, there are three films of American origin, two Spanish, two Australian, one French, one Dutch and another from Germany. “This is the most ambitious programming so far, including an Official Section whose films and judges panel adhere to the guidelines and rules of the best international festivals. For this reason, some feature films have been excluded because they have already had a commercial career in the Spanish box office, and we have given priority to authored works and to those works that haven’t yet been distributed in Europe”, Viruega said.

Gone and the days”, by Mark Gould, will be the opening film of the Festival, excluded from the competition, and premiered for the first time in Europe. The following films will also premiere for the first time on the continent: “Cassidy Red”, “Dead men”, “The Decadent and Depraved” and “Ultravokal”. Several directors and producers have confirmed that they will attend the premiere of these films in the Festival.

Official list of films competing for the Judge’s Prize and Audience Award:

Brimstone’ (Martin Koolhoven, Netherlands, 2017).

Cassidy red’ (MattKnudsen, United States, 2018).

Deadmen’ (RoystonInnes, United States, 2018).

Dhogs’ (Andrés Goteira, Spain, 2017).

Sadhillunearthed’ (Guillermo de Oliveira, Spain, 2018).

Sweet country’ (Warwick Thornton, Australia, 2018).

The decadent and depraved’ (Jordon Prince-Wright, Australia, 2018).

Ultravokal’ (ChirstopherKarabache, France, 2018).

Western’ (ValeskaGrisebach, Germany, 2017).

Excluded from the competition (Opening film):

Gone are the days’ (Mark Landre Gould, United States, 2018).

The Panel of Judges for the Official Section will be headed by Blanca Portillo, actress and director, and will be accompanied by Andrés Torres, photography director and president of AEC; Rafael Cobos, screenwriter; Eduardo Torres-Dulce, screenwriter, historian and critic; and Moisés Rodríguez, journalist and film critic. In addition, the Festival will include the participation of a professional panel of judges for the Official Section of Short Films, the RTVA Prize, and the Film School category.

Judges Panel | Official Feature Film Section:

Blanca Portillo (president): actress and director. Winner of the Best Performance Awards at the Cannes and San Sebastian festivals.

Andrés Torres: photography director and president of the Spanish Association of Authors of Cinematographic Works (AEC). He has participated in more than forty Western films throughout his career.

Rafael Cobos: screenwriter of “Grupo 7”, “La Isla Mínima”, “Toro” or the TV series “La Peste”. He won two Goya Awards.

Eduardo Torres-Dulce: screenwriter, historian and Western film critic, who has taken part in several film programs with José Luis Farci. He was Attorney General from 2011 to 2014.

Moisés Rodríguez: journalist and film critic. He is the presenter of the film program sequences in channel 24h of RTVE.

The Official Short Film Section, composed of 20 works of fiction, animation and documentary, is divided in Western and Neo-Western. The films originate from Spain, France, Italy, United States, England, Australia, Germany, Mexico and Argentina. Furthermore, for the first time the Festival includes works from Iran, Nepal, South Korea and Costa Rica. The Judges Panel who will evaluate these works and will award a Prize to the Best Western Short Film and to the Best Neo-Western Short Film will be made up of Belén Bernuy, producer and interim director of the Spanish Film Academy; Emiliano Allende, Marta Rodríguez, Jara Yañez and Ismael Martín.

Official Western Short Film Section:

A banjo and A bullet’ (MaxwellRousso, United States, 2018).

The Custer wolf’(Chris Heady, United States, 2018)

Draw your gun’ (Wouter Jansen, England, 2018).

Five o’clock’ (James Di Martino, Australia, 2018).

The good, the bad and the cactus’ (AdibCherit, Mexico, 2018).

Horse on fire’ (Scott Gist, United States, 2018)

Open fire’ (Olivia Swords, England, 2018).

Somewhere in Kansas 1884’ (Moritz Fortunat, Germany, 2018)

Tan lejos de dios’ (Ismael Capistrán, Mexico, 2018).

Western movie’ (Hyung Suk-Lee, South Korea, 2017)


Official Neo-Western Short Film Section:

72%’ (Lluís Quílez, Spain, 2017).

Bailaora’ (RubinStein, Spain, 2018).

Calvin’ (Camille Tello, France, 2018).

El duelo Weird’ (Fabio Serpa, Italy, 2017).

Z (Gya)’ (PatrishShrestha, Nepal, 2018)

Niemandsland’ (MilanStrobanek, Germany, 2018).

Notmyfather’s son’ (Pietro Cercone, Costa Rica, 2018)

Returnee’ (SaeedAlipour, Iran, 2018).

La sombra quema’ (Ezequiel Yoffe, Argentina, 2017).

Tomorrow’ (Andrew Tarbet, Spain, 2018).


Judges Panel | International Short Film Section:

Belén Bernuy: producer and interim director of the Spanish Film Academy.

Emiliano Allende: director of the Medina del Campo Festival.

Marta Rodríguez: journalist specializing in cinema and theatre.

Jara Yáñez: writer and editor of the short film section in Cahiers du Cinema (Spanish edition).

Ismael Martín: short film distributor and blogger.


For the third consecutive year, the festival will award the RTVA Prize to the Best Audiovisual Western Creation in Andalusia. In this section, four films from the provinces of Almeria, Malaga, Cadiz, Huelva and Sevilla have been selected. Additionally, in the Film School category, six films coming from the centers in Barcelona, Madrid, Alicante and Sagunto will compete. The works in both categories will be evaluated by the following Judges: Alberto Gómez Uriol, Piluca Querol, Luis Francisco Pérez and Manolo Carretero.

Judges Panel | Official Section RTVA Award and School Film Category:

Alberto Gómez: director and producer, documentary filmmaker.

Piluca Querol: president of the Andalucía Film Commission.

Luis Francisco Pérez: screenwriter, director and film editor.

Manolo Carretero: journalist.


Retrospective Section

Once Upon a Time in the West”, by the great Sergio Leone, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary since its filming in Tabernas, will be the festival’s honorary film and will be screened after the opening gala. In order to commemorate this event other activities have been designed, such as a mural made by the artist Nauni or the staging of some film scenes in the Western Village Leone by the group “Hijos de mil padres”, as well as several presentations.

The Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, protagonist of Leone’s work, will return to Almería to receive the “Tabernas de Cine” Award. Cardinale, born in Tunisia in 1939 and with Italian nationality, is considered to be one of the best actresses of European cinema, developing her career together with directors such as Sergio Leone, Mario Monicelli, Pasquale Squitieri, Luchino Visconti, Richard Brooks, Franco Zeffirelli or Federico Fellini. Some of her last productions are ‘El artista y la modelo’ (Fernando Trueba, 2012) and the Bulgarian feature film ‘Twice upon a time in the West’ (Boris Despodov), for whose filming she returned to Tabernas for in 2014. In this film, which was presented in the 6th edition of the AWFF out of competition, the actress played herself touring the landscapes where she shot some of her first films.

The Festival will award the Leone in Memoriam Prize to the set and costume designer for the Dollar Trilogy and for “Once Upon a Time in the West”, Carlos Simi (Italy, 1924-2000). The award will be received by his widow and his daughter in a memorial ceremony for the production and costume designer who worked assiduously with Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci, giving their Spaghetti Westerns a sublime aspect. “This Award is a symbol of unity between the three Western villages of Tabernas, since they owe a big part of their original designs to this great professional. This award arrives just in the year of the joining of the three film sets in the AWFF”, Viruega said. Simi’s creations will be displayed in an exhibition of the wardrobe and set designs he prepared for “Once Upon a Time in the West”, which will be open to the public at the Local Theatre of Tabernas.

In this edition, the Desert of Tabernas Prize, which awards an active professional who has contributed to the spread of the natural environment of Tabernas as a cinematographic icon, will be given to Toni Novella, producer and director of production responsible for Pedro Almodóvar’s films over the last decade. Likewise, he has been the head of the Spanish unit of international filming for “Asterix in the Olympic Games” by Frédéric Forestier (2008) and “Exodus” by Ridely Scott (2014), among others, for a total of more than 60 film works. He has been nominated five times for the Goya Awards, winning the Award for Best Production Direction in 2015 for the film “El Niño” (2014).

The actress Kiti Mánver will receive the ASFAAN Award (Andalusian Film Festival Association). She was in Tabernas during the filming of one episode of “Curro Jiménez”. The actress, originally from Malaga and whose real name is María Isabel Ana Matecón, won a Goya for the Best Supporting Actress in 1992 for “Todo por la pasta”. She has worked with directors such as Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, Pedro Almodóvar, Alex de la Iglesia and José Luis Garci, among others.


Tabernas de Cine’ Award: Claudia Cardinale, actress.

Desierto de Tabernas Award: Toni Novella, production director.

Leone in memoriam’ Award: Carlos Simi, art director and costume designer.

ASFAAN Award: KitiMánver, actress.


Feature films / Retrospective Section:

Once Upon a Time in the West” (Sergio Leone, Italy, 1968): 50th Anniversary Honorary film.

Back to the Future III’ (Robert Zemeckis, United States, 1990): Teen film (live cinema).


Panorama Official Section:

El camino desierto’ (Alejandro Herrera, Mexico, 2018).

Goodbye, Ringo’ (Pere Marzo, Spain, 2018).

¡Viva Kino! Atravesando el desierto sin fronteras’ (Lia Beltrami, Italy, 2018).


The Festival has completed the cinematographic offer with some parallel activities. “In the educational part we can highlight the presentation of the book “Se busca: tras la pista de Sergio Leone”, by writer and investigator José Enríquez Martínez from Almeria; and also the presentation of the comics Johnny el Rápido” by Alberto Mateos, from Murcia, and “Superjoven: regreso al Oeste”, by Rafa Amat “AleS”, from Almeria, who will also teach a master class about creation and development of comics”, the director of the AWFF explained. Other activities include expressive lighting classes for the Western genre, by Andrés Torres; the distribution of short films, by Ismael Martín; and the presentation of the platform “Andalucía Destino de Cine”, with Piluca Querol.


Presentation of the Literary Works:

Se busca: tras la pista de Sergio Leone’ (José Enríquez Martínez, Almeria, 2018).

Johnny el rápido’ (Alberto Mateos, Murcia, 2018).

Superjoven: regreso al oeste’ (Rafa Amat ‘AleS’, Spain, 2018).

One of the most attractive round tables will be the one organized with the members of the cultural association SAD HILL from Burgos, which defends the touristic and cultural value of the landscapes of Burgos used by Sergio Leone. They will show the audience the feat of unearthing the cemetery designed by Carlos Simi where the emblematic final scene of the film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was filmed. It is located in Santo Domingo de Silos.

The program includes a series of fun activities suitable for all audiences. “The western returns to the streets of our town with a big parade that we organize with different groups in the town, from schools to associations. After last year’s success, the Mini Chef Western cook-off will celebrate its second edition in the Western village Oasys Mini Hollywood. As a new activity this year, a live cinema activity will take place. In this activity the audience will interact with the film “Back to the Future II”, which is related to “Once Upon a Time in the West” giving some glints of the film in different scenes, and also a spaghetti western workshop with smartphones by Nico Fernández”, the mayor of Tabernas, José Díaz emphasized.

Music will also be present during the 8th edition of the AWFF. “This year we will rely on the presence of great bands like The Jake Levinson Band, Suso Díaz’s Band, Javier Arnal and Vera Acacio, as well as the “San Indalecio de La Cañada” musical group, which will pay tribute to the musical composition by Ennio Morricone for the film “Once Upon a Time in the West”. Other stage performances including theatre can also be enjoyed including the show “YeeHaw” by La Banda del Otro, as well as line dancing by the Level Up company and activities for children”, Díaz said.

As in previous years, a tapas contest will be celebrated from September 21st to October 11th in the pubs and restaurants of the town. A characterization contest, a short story contest and a drawing contest will also take place during the festival. This year the City Council of Tabernas will once again provide a free bus service that will connect the capital and the town from October 9th to the 13th, including stops in the Western villages Oasys Mini Hollywood, Fort Bravo Texas Hollywood and Western Leone during the days that activities are held, thus facilitating the attendance of the public.

The City Council of Tabernas is the main promoter of this Festival that continues to grow, after seven consecutive years, as one of the great events for the cinematographic and cultural diffusion of the town and of the province of Almería. The event, supported by the Governments of Junta de Andalucía and the Diputación de Almería, has as its main purpose to promote Tabernas and its environment as a natural stage for films in the national and international film industry. For the second time, Senator Hotel & Resorts is the platinum sponsor of the Festival.

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