For many years now, ALCINE has been bringing educational short films into primary and secondary schools along with activities such as Language in Short Film, Cinema and Young People and ALCINE Kids. We are convinced that short films are of interest to diverse audiences and also that they can be of great use for discussing certain issues with kids and young people. They can inspire debate and involvement, and, why not, broaden the mind and viewpoints of younger generations. And lastly, they work as a point of entry to the language of cinema and the audio-visual world, which is finally becoming democratic and within the reach of everyone with domestic media equipment.
This year with this same philosophy, we are embarking on a new adventure. This time round, we are going to the Madrid II prison and taking short films whose themes and values could be especially interesting in a space that is always complex, often ignored and, perhaps, too far removed from society.
The title of the section, Short Prison, is no coincidence. In the mid-1980s, the inmates of the former Carabanchel prison launched a television channel made by them and for them: TV Prison. Many images from its archive have disappeared and those responsible suffered reprisals because TV Prison served to denounce the harsh living conditions they suffered in prisons at the time, which were overcrowded and provided with very few resources. As a result of episodes like this and also of the enactment of the first organic law of democracy, since then, cultural services for inmates have been initiated and hygiene and health care have been improved in this and other centres. In 2019, the documentary 'Prison Television Stories', by Adolfo Garijo, won the audience award at the 2019 Catalan Social Film Festival. This documentary is presented as a vindication of 'the image as a tool for coexistence in the most extreme situations', not in vain, they say, while its broadcasts lasted, violence inside the prison was reduced.
The activity of that television station was of great importance for the life of the prisoners in that centre and at that time. The entry of the image into the prison produced such positive effects that they still survive today and from that channel and its spirit we inherited part of the name.
We are not looking to do an isolated activity, we want it to be repeated year after year and to be an integral part of the programme of activities and workshops at the Madrid 2 Prison. The idea is simple: to screen a series of short films and stimulate debate among the inmates and the creators and festival team members. As per normal, we will be looking to bring people into contact with diverse and controversial issues, and with cinema itself; its forms and language.