ESFF 2021 returns online and in-person

tención! The return of the Edinburgh Spanish Film Festival is nigh. In just over a week’s time, this hugely popular celebration of Hispanic cinema will return to Scottish shores – and to cyberspace – in a hybrid format of itself for its eighth incarnation.

After the pandemic forced ESFF into an online-only edition last time around, the festival organisers have taken the ingenious step of combining in-person screenings with online access, gifting Hispanophiles the opportunity to watch the goodies on offer in whichever method suits them best. As always, the festival will have its headquarters in the Edinburgh Filmhouse, though it will also be appearing at other venues across the capital and indeed across Scotland.

The physical screenings are set to take place from the 1st to the 10th October, while its online counterpart will occupy the 14th to the 17th of the same month. With that in mind, there’s still time to pore over the programme and sink your teeth into tickets for whatever takes your fancy. This year, the programme features an exciting blend of debut features, theatrical adaptations and directorial homages. With 21 full-length and eight short movies on offer, there’s bound to be something for everyone.

The opening gala will showcase the debut of renowned Basque actress-turned-director Mireia Gabilondo. In The Hive, we follow a group of female friends who reunite for a hen party in a remote location. With alcohol flowing freely, old feelings and unspoken feuds are brought to the fore in one explosive and unpredictable weekend. One of several films based on plays, The Hive joins Game of Power by Mariana Barassi and One Careful Owner by Bernabé Rico as theatrical adaptations on the schedule.

As mentioned above, one of the major themes of ESFF each year is bringing the work of first-time directors to new audiences. Other debut features on offer at the 2021 festival include Ane Is Missing by David Pérez Sañudo; The Awakening Of The Ants by Antonella Sudasassi; The Blameless by Guillermo Benet; Camila’s Awakening by Rosario Jiménez-Gili; Girlfriends by Carol Rodríguez Colás; and Karen by María Pérez.

As well as fledgling new talents, ESFF consistently pays tributes to the best and biggest names in contemporary Hispanic and Latino cinema. This year, the spotlight will fall on Alejandro Amenábar with While at War, Cesc Gay with The People Upstairs and David Trueba with On This Side of the World. Meanwhile, many of the aforementioned filmmakers will be in attendance to discuss their work via post-screening Q&As, while academic experts will look into the techniques and tropes employed in the festival’s films, as well.

Tickets have been affordably priced for all comers, with students and young people receiving special discounts of just £5 for any of the titles in the Students & Young Audiences Programme. Meanwhile, the online incarnation of the festival, taking place days after the in-person version has finished, is available to view in its entirety for the bargain price of just £30. Further details and tickets can be snapped up on the ESFF website.