PELÍCULA Spanish Film Festival celebrates its 20th edition online and extends from the Philippines to Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia

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From October 1 to 10, 2021, the 20th edition of PELÍCULA-Spanish Film Festival will treat movie buffs from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia to a selection of contemporary Spanish and Latin American cinema. Presented by the Instituto Cervantes in Manila and Sydney and the Spanish Embassies in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia, the PELÍCULA Spanish Film Festival will stream sixteen feature films and four short films for free. 

Since its creation in 2002 by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, PELíCULA has been an annual attraction in Philippine theatres. The Covid-19 crisis, which has closed cinemas in the Philippines, presented the greatest challenge in the history of the Festival, and PELíCULA responded by going online, and even went further by expanding to three other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, making the festival available to Thailand, Australia, and Malaysia, aside from the Philippines. 

The Festival will open on October 1 with El Cover (2021), a musical comedy and debut film of actor Secun de la Rosa. Other films in the line-up are Invisibles (Gracia Querejeta, 2020), Una vez más (Guillermo Rojas, 2020), Tristesse (Ruiz Barrachina, 2020), and the documentaries Oscuro y Lucientes (Samuel Alarcón, 2018), and Antonio Machado. Los días azules (Laura Hojman, 2020). The official entries also include dramas such as 15 horas (Judith Colell, 2020), Ane (David Pérez Sañudo, 2020) and the latest film of David Trueba A este lado del mundo (2020), a bitter and intelligent depiction of immigration. 

PELÍCULA will also feature Latin American films such as the Mexican documentary Observar las aves (Andrea Martínez Crowther, 2019) and Lina de Lima (2019), a feature film directed by María Paz González and co-produced by Chile, Argentina y Perú. All films will be available with English subtitles and for free on the website for 48 hours. 

Just like in the previous editions, spectators may vote for their favorite films in the Audience Choice Awards. Established in 2004, the Award is given to the film that the viewers have voted as the best of the Festival. Since its establishment in 2004, it has been a very popular tradition in the Festival and is kept alive even through its transition online. In its 20th edition, spectators can rate the films right after having viewed them. The film with the highest ratings will receive this year’s Audience Choice Award and will be screened again on October 10 at 6:00 PM, in the Festival’s platform

To celebrate the 20th edition of the cinematographic showcase, there will be a special selection of films that have won the PELíCULA Audience Choice Award. These films are Fuera de carta (Nacho G. Velilla, 2008), El secreto de sus ojos (Juan José Campanella, 2009), También la lluvia (Icíar Bollaín, 2010), Un cuento chino (Sebastián Borensztein, 2011) and Campeones (Javier Fesser, 2018). 


Aside from the film screenings, PELíCULA will be offering through its site free webinars and online talks with the directors of the films presented in the Festival or professionals in the audiovisual industry. 

On October 4 there will be a round-table discussion on the possibilities of coproduction of Asian films in Europe and Spanish films in Asia, in which various Spanish, Thai, and Filipino producers and experts on the topic will be participating. 

Philippine cinema was born in the Spanish language and almost all film-related terms in Filipino are in Spanish (such as pelikulasinedirektoraktorcontrabida, etc.), proof of the strong cultural relations shared between Spain and the Philippines. With this in mind, since its first editions PELíCULA has had activities that served as a space for meeting and interacting with Spanish and Filipino filmmakers. In line with this, on October 7, PELíCULA will be holding the webinar “En corto: Short films in the Philippines, Thailand, Australia and Spain”, an activity which will feature four recent short films, one from each country, and an online talk between the directors of these short films.  

On the occasion of the 20th edition of PELICULA, the Department of European Languages ​​of the University of the Philippines Diliman is holding a contest of film reviews in Spanish, open to students of Spanish in the Philippines. Further info on this page: 

PELíCULA 2021 is an initiative of Instituto Cervantes in Manila and Sydney, the Embassies of Spain in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, and the AECID, in collaboration with ICAA, the Embassy of Mexico in the Philippines, the National Film Archive of Thailand, the Sydney Film Festival, the Travelling Film Fest (Australia), the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the UPFilm Institute, the University of the Philippines, Intramuros Administration, and La Pícara. 

All the movies are in Spanish (or their original language) with English subtitles. For the schedule, film details and further information on the Festival, please visit, or the Facebook page of Instituto Cervantes: