The International Ethnographic Film Festival Museo do Pobo Galego nineteenth edition, held from March 20th to 26th in Santiago de Compostela, offered us seven days of programming in four venues in the city –Museo do Pobo Galego, Teatro Principal, NUMAX and the Salón Teatro. Nearly 3,500 people were able to experience it.

The main focuses were the screenings, and more than 65 films from 14 nationalities (Colombia, Italy, Serbia, Puerto Rico, Moldova, USA, United Kingdom, China, France, Portugal, Russian Federation, Brazil, Spain, and Galicia) were screened. Among them, there were two world premieres, four Spanish first releases and six Galician first releases. These films had as a backdrop the ethnographic approach on politics, the theme that supported this MICE edition. Thirteen of these films were competing for the MICE Award for Best International Film. Four of them were made in Galicia, which also aimed for MICE Award for Best Galician Film. These awards were for Taxibol, by Tommaso Santabrogio, and Habitar, by Anxos Fazáns, respectively. The other awards were for El signo vacío, by Kathryn Ramey, AGANTRO Award to Anthropological Excellence; A Revolución (é) Probable, by María Ruido, Paula Barreiro-López, and Lee Douglas, CREA Award; and 12 de maio de 1937, by Mar Caldas, Audience Award.

One of a kind event in the MICE

The opening session was one of the most expected events of the festival, which ended with the Teatro Principal crowded to enjoy 586 cantos, a one of a kind show promoted by the Festival and the Museo do Pobo Galego. It addressed the voices of the Popular Galician Songbook, by Dorothé Schubarth and Antón Santamarina. With music by Richi Casás, Fran Barcia, Tania Caamaño, and Antía Ameixeiras, it was live-synchronisedwith the visual staging Laura Piñeiro and Fran Rodríguez Casal—members of the Memory and Cinema Association—created for the MICE.

The focus dedicated to Cecilia Mangini, the first retrospective dedicated in Galicia to the pioneer of Italian documentary cinema, was also original. It was carried out by Carolina Astudillo with the collaboration of Cineteca di Bologna.

MICE: training programs

Training programs and the creation of spaces for the analysis were other main focuses of this MICE. The session Galician cinema and the Spanish transition to democracy was organised, with round tables and screenings, within the Trazas section framework. It was organised by the Performing, Musical and Audiovisual Arts section of the Consello da Cultura Galega (Galician Culture Council) and the Cineclube Compostela. Filmmakers such as Xosé Xoán Cabanas Cao, Antón Caeiro, Xan Gómez Viñas, Manuel Abad, Manolo González, Milagros Eloy Enciso, José Manuel Sande, Coral Piñeiro, Manoel da Costa, or Beli Martínez, among others, participated in this session.

Once again this year, the discussions with the audience were another key feature of the Film Festival. Among them, one was led by Alejandro Alvarado, filmmaker and researcher. With him, the festival investigated the cinema context in the Transition and the censorship processes suffered by many films of the time.

Lindes, one of the parallel sections of the Film Festival, was also imbued this year with MICE commitment to specialised training. It was thanks to the filmmakers Diana Gonçalves and Iván Castiñeiras, who showed the creative processes of their projects on the Galicia-Portugal border.

In terms of parallel activities, the training activity Audiovisual creation with easy-to-use devices had a good reception. It was given by Coral Piñeiro and Bruno Arias, filmmakers in charge of MICEscola, other teaching project of the MICE. It is aimed at bringing ethnographic cinema to Galician school community, turning students into content creators. Next week, on Thursday April 18th, at the Museo do Pobo Galego, the premiere of the short films resulting from an activity will take place. The participants were the students from the Secondary School Pedra da Aguia (Camariñas), the Multilingual All-through School Cernadas de Castro (Lousame), the Secondary School from Arzúa (Arzúa), and the Secondary School from Cacheiras (Teo).

An inclusive and accessible MICE

In compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, the gender perspective once again played a leading role in this MICE nineteenth edition. 50 % of the films were made by women filmmakers and they had a majority female organising and production team. In the field of accessibility, among other actions, this year the festival focused on hearing accessibility, including specific subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing in several sessions, towards a MICE for everyone.

Family and children’s audiences also had their space in the programming. The MICE Petís included screenings in the Museum and also online. On the festival webpage, several films awarded on the Festival previous edition could be watched, as well as a selection of films related to the Lindes section.

19th MICE was supported by Santiago’s City Council, A Coruña’s Provincial Council Department for Culture, and AGADIC—the Galician Agency for the Cultural Industries of the Galician Regional Government.