The third edition of the Saraqusta Film Festival held in Zaragoza, Spain, was a resounding success. The festival showcased some of the best international films, and the winners of the various categories were announced at the closing ceremony. The event was attended by renowned filmmakers, actors, and cinephiles from around the world, and the atmosphere was electric.
The festival’s top honor, the Golden Dragon for Best Feature Film, was awarded to Petr Vaclav’s biographical drama ‘Il Boemo’. The film tells the story of Josef Myslivecek, a renowned composer of opera in 18th century Italy, who inspired great musical figures such as Mozart. The Czech Republic’s submission was praised for its powerful storytelling and outstanding performances.
In the Best Documentary category, Pedro de Echave and Felip Solé’s ‘Urraca, cazador de rojos’ took home the Golden Dragon. The film explores the life of Pedro Urraca, a Spanish policeman and Gestapo agent who led the persecution of Republicans exiled in France during the Nazi occupation. It features archival footage, animations, and the testimony of Urraca’s granddaughter, Loreto Urraca. Pedro de Echave also won the award for Best Screenplay for his work on the film.
Ilona Bachelier and Omar Sy, both French actors, won the Best Actress and Best Actor awards, respectively. Bachelier won for her role in ‘La historia de Annette Zelman’, directed by Philippe Le Guay. The film follows the story of Annette, a Jewish woman who is sent to Auschwitz during the German occupation and the deportation of Jews, which truncates her love story. The film also won the Jury Young Award, given by students from various educational institutions. Sy won for his role in Mathieu Vadepied’s ‘Padre y soldado’ (‘Tirailleurs’), which takes viewers back to 1917 in the French colony of Senegal, where a father enlists in the French army to stay with his son recruited to fight in World War I on the front lines in France.
Sebastián Moreno won the Best Director award for his work on the documentary ‘Sergio Larraín, el instante eterno’. The film delves into the life of Larraín, the only Chilean photographer to become a member of the prestigious Magnum agency.
The festival’s Jury President, Steve Miller, praised the quality of the films in competition and the difficulty the jury had in selecting the winners. He noted that war was a recurrent theme in historical fiction, but the jury was impressed by the brilliance of ‘Urraca, cazador de rojos’ in its montage and quality of storytelling.
The festival also recognized the contributions of outstanding artists in the industry. Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida received the Saraqusta 2023 award for his outstanding career in historical audiovisuals. He joined this year’s other awardees, Alfonso Bassave and Salomé Jiménez.
The festival’s success was a testament to the passion for cinema in Zaragoza and the commitment of its organizers to showcasing the best of international cinema. It provided a platform for filmmakers to share their stories, and audiences to experience a range of cinematic styles and genres. The festival has become a highlight of the cultural calendar in Zaragoza, and cinephiles are already eagerly anticipating the next edition.