More and more Spanish women are premiering films, picking up awards and receiving acclaim for their work at international film festivals. Contemporary cinema is however still dominated by men. The turnover of familiar faces is still very slow.
In recent years, efforts have multiplied to promote the visibility of women directors and professionals in the industry: associations of women filmmakers have been set up, competitions held specialised in films made by women, and researchers have sought to describe the situation, analyse the production of women filmmakers and understand the structures leading to their discrimination. In the autumn of 2018, a book sharing these objectives, Emerging Filmmakers. Women in film in the twenty first century, was published. As a result of the publication and the European awareness campaign (https://mujeresycine.home.blog/category/campana/), implemented in 2019, the Women and Cinema association was created, the purpose of which is to enhance the visibility of women in Spanish film internationally.
The faces of actresses appear in magazines and on screens and advertising hoardings, but not those of other professionals working in the industry. Would anybody recognise a female filmmaker, sound technician, editor or director of photography? Óscar Fernández Orengo, a photographer specialised in portraying filmmakers on his journeys all over the world, is here to reveal those faces to us, without artifice and with his usual sense of light and composition. “This time I did not use my valued and recognisable panoramic camera; rather I opted for a digital camera and the illumination of two portable flashes. It was very important that they choose the space or location in which they were to be portrayed because those places also define or reveal something about the women. In my opinion portraits are not about an appearance of beauty; the sitters should feel recognisable when they see themselves in the photo.”
Some of his exhibitions, such as Through my eyes (2007), Filmmakers by number (2011) and The everyday scene (2012), were produced by ALCINE and the Instituto Cervantes. Óscar has also worked as a still photographer on films by Javier Rebollo, Mar Coll, Jonás Trueba and Luis Miñarro. He has published his images in numerous magazines and newspapers: Caimán. Cuadernos de cine, Sofilm, El País, La Vanguardia…
Thanks to the organisation and involvement of the Alcalá de Henares Town Hall Equality Department and the Madrid Region General Management of Equality, as well as support from Hispanex -The Ministry of Culture of Spain-, the Instituto Cervantes and ALCINE, Women and Cinema has set up this exhibition in order to give a face to the invisible women working behind the camera to turn their ideas into universal films. The main objective is to get to know their work, their names and their faces.
The Horizontal Gaze is part of a multidisciplinary project combining a publication, a blog, specific seasons and this exhibition. The publication approaches the topic through in-depth interviews (with the provisional title of “Conversations with professional women in the Spanish film industry”, published by Peter Lang, Colección Romania Viva). The Bitácora de cine y actualidad blog (https://bitacora.uni-regensburg.de/) assiduously publishes interviews with and texts on women in contemporary Spanish cinema. Various seasons showcase the work of the women filmmakers interviewed. And this exhibition constitutes the culmination of the project, providing those women whose work is transforming our cinema from within with a presence and image of their own. In short it is a question of shining the spotlight on them, giving a voice and a role to various generations of women who are stepping out of the shadows so that an industry as excessively masculine and vertical as the film industry at long last has an equal feminine presence and, why not also, a horizontal gaze.
A PRODUCTION OF
ALCINE - Alcalá de Henares / Comunidad de Madrid Film Festival
in conjunction with the Alcalá de Henares Town Hall Equality Department and the Madrid Region General Management of Equality
Activity jointly financed in the framework of the cooperation agreement between the Madrid Regional Government and the Alcalá de Henares Town Hall through the Equality Department, for the implementation of actions to combat gender violence and to promote equality of opportunities between men and women.
Hispanex, at the Ministry of Culture of Spain, and the Instituto Cervantes
Photos: Óscar Fernández Orengo
Alejandra Molina, sound technician, (Elena Oroz), Ana Pfaff, editor, (Alejandro Alvarado and Concha Barquero) Conversation between Begoña Vicario, Isabel Herguera, Izibene Oñederra, animators (between themselves), Beli Martínez, producer (Iván Villarmea), Carla Simón, director (Marina Díaz), Carolina Astudillo, director (Mar Binimelis), Celia Rico, director (Esther Gimeno Ugalde), Isa Campo, director and scriptwriter (Júlia González de Canales), María Zamora, producer (Sonia García López), Neús Ballús, director (Marta Álvarez), Neús Ollé, director of photography (Luisa Martínez), Roser Aguilar, director (Annette Scholz), Virginia García del Pino, director (Laia Quílez and Núria Araüna), Irene Gutiérrez, director (Tamara Moya and Yamila Díaz), Irene Moray, director, Laura Ferrés, director Maria Manero, animator (by students of the University of Ratisbona, coordinated by Julia Sánchez and Annette Scholz)
Concept and coordination: Women and Cinema