The opening film is Who Killed Bambi? (¿Quién mató a Bambi?, Spain 2013)
The opening film is Who Killed Bambi? (¿Quién mató a Bambi?, Spain 2013)

It’s an important year for ¡Viva!. The festival comes of age with its 21st edition as its Cornerhouse base gears up to move to HOME, Manchester’s spiffing new multi-arts venue. The festival team have therefore devised an ingenious plan to offer ¡Viva! 2015 in three long weekenders. The first runs from March 5th to March 9th and offers five films with accompanying Q&As and introductions. Four of the films are playing twice and all the screenings and other events are listed on the Cornerhouse website.

We’ve been a supporter of ¡Viva! for many years and you can see reviews of earlier festival screenings via this tag. ¡Viva! is often the only way in the UK to see important films from Spain and Latin America which will not receive UK distribution. It’s only the hard work of ¡Viva!’s staff (and the support of sponsors) that enables the festival to bring in prints and filmmakers. This first weekend includes films from Spain as well as from Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina.

The second ¡Viva! weekender will focus on six Mexican films in June in the new venue at HOME and the third part will focus on Spanish cinema in the Autumn. Festival programmer Rachel Hayward spoke to the Northern Soul website and explained:

“We absolutely wanted to make sure we took the audience with us on the journey from Cornerhouse to HOME and showcase the festival in this way. It’s perhaps a more manageable way to do it, given such a relatively small team working on it here, but we also thought it was important for audiences to be able to see such a popular festival in HOME rather than waiting almost a full year.”

“Next year, 2016, we’ll definitely be going back to the standard format. But we’re very interested to see how these weekenders work, of course.”

We hope to be at the screenings over the weekend and to report back next week.