Bringing together the big stars of the big screen

Del Toro picked up the Malaga-SUR prize at the weekend.
Del Toro picked up the Malaga-SUR prize at the weekend. / ÑITO SALAS
  • Guillermo del Toro and Juan Antonio Bayona have been the star attractions so far at the Malaga Film Festival this week

Red carpets, selfie sticks and major names in world cinema have all come together in Malaga this week for the annual Malaga Film Festival, a meeting point for the Spanish-language film industry on both sides of the Atlantic.

This year in its 21st edition, the festival got under way last Friday with the gala opening at the Cervantes theatre, attended by Spanish cinema's great and good who maintained their glamour despite the rain, as well as representatives from the local, regional and national government.

Rain couldn´t dampen the opening gala.

Rain couldn´t dampen the opening gala. / ÑITO SALAS

Between then and this Sunday, the ten-day event has hosted multiple premieres, workshops and prizegiving ceremonies across various venues in the city, including the Cervantes and Echegaray theatres and the Albéniz cinema.

All of this will draw to a close this weekend with the presentation of the prized 'biznagas' (awards inspired by the flower arrangement typical of Malaga, made from jasmine) for best picture and best direction, among others.

Giants of cinema

However, it is the honorary awards that have attracted the most attention this year, thanks to the festival's two major international guests. Spaniard Juan Antonio Bayona, director of the upcoming Jurassic World film for which promotion will begin in the coming days, claimed the Retrospective award.

The man responsible for The Orphanage, The Impossible and A Monster Calls received tributes at the Cervantes theatre on Monday, following in the footsteps of his mentor, Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (director of the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water) who received the Málaga-SUR Prize on Saturday.

Ron Perlman promoting Sergio y Serguéi.

Ron Perlman promoting Sergio y Serguéi. / FRANCIS SILVA

“A critical time for humanity”

The affable Del Toro, who met with a number of fans between various commitments as he explored the city and sampled the famous 'boquerones', explained that he was taking a year out and was humbled by the SUR award. “It's always important to grateful,” he said ahead of the award ceremony on Saturday night. “We are living in a very critical time for humanity because we are more often choosing hate over empathy.”

For Del Toro, his Oscar win went “against the narrative created by Trump” as his film, like may of his others, promoted “sympathy, dialogue and understanding”.

Del Toro transmitted his particular vision of cinema at a workshop later the same day at the city's Palacio de Congresos. This was following the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the occasion on the Antonio Machado seafront promenade.

At the prizegiving itself, numerous big names, including Paz Vega and Eduardo Noriega shared anecdotes about working with the “giant”, as he was described by Ron Perlman.

Perlman, who played the title character in Del Toro's Hellboy, later told SUR: “Filmmakers are generally crazy - and I mean that in a good way. There was never a normal day [working with him], nor is one ever like another. It's crazy.”

Juan Antonio Bayona received a prize on Monday.

Juan Antonio Bayona received a prize on Monday. / ÑITO SALAS

The American was in Malaga to promote his latest venture Sergio y Serguéi, a Hispano-Cuban independent film in which he starred and was executive producer. “In Hollywood they are obsessed with genre,” he said. “Independent cinema is much more interesting because you can explore more themes and have multidimensional characters.”

Strong public interest

As with every year, there has been a lot of interest from the general public, with large crowds outside the major venues of fans waiting to catch a glimpse of their idols of the silver screen.

Tickets for a number of screenings and the gala events sold out quickly but a limited number is still available to the general public and can be purchased through the festival's official website (