Two awards and several nominations at the latest edition of the Goyas -the Spanish Oscars- are proof that the Mallorcan audiovisual sector is going through a good period.

Pau Ferragut | Cristian Montoro

Every year Spanish cinema celebrates its big night at the Annual Academy Awards. At the glittering ceremony, the motion picture arts and sciences institution recognise the best national productions, together with the professionals who have made them possible, presenting them with a bronze bust of Francisco Goya.

Precisely by the surname of the Aragonese painter, Goya, is how these awards are popularly known. If we measured it with a thermometer, we could affirm that the health of the island’s audiovisual sector is excellent, judging by the recent awards.

The last two editions have seen three Mallorcan names adorning the statues. This year it was Carles Bover, co-director of Gaza, who received the prize for the best documentary short film. In 2018 it was the turn of Jaume Carrió and Laura Gost, director and screenwriter respectively of Woody & Woody, to go up on stage and collect the award for best animated short film.

Not to mention the nominees, who are equally worthy winners. Bover competed in the same category as Kyoko. Another production with island roots from the duo of directors comprised of Marcos Cabotá and Joan Bover. It was Cabotá’s second nomination; the first time was in 2016 for the documentary film I am your Father, which he co-directed with Toni Bestard.

The motivation behind Gaza was to “break the media silence that had occurred during the Israeli occupation of Palestine with respect to the violation of human rights,” says Carles Bover. Bover, who holds a degree in Audiovisual Communication from CESAG, became inspired by the project when he and co-producer, Julio Pérez, met a Spanish International Brigade who showed them “testimonials and images that were absolutely nothing like those shown in the media,” he explains.

He is gratified at “having chosen this cultural sphere to reach many people.” A fact that has also brought us as a consequence, “a lot of pressure and attacks through extreme Israeli right wing propaganda accusing us of anti-Semitism – but we never attacked their religion, we only highlighted the Zionist ideology before the international community,” the 27-year-old Palma man tells us.

Laura Gost explains that Woody & Woody started life as a play presented as part of a proposal for a thematic theatrical production, allowing me to work “with the humour, irony and long dialogues of a thirty-something Woody Allen set in the present day,” adding that once it was selected, they decided to make it into an animated short film.

The screenwriter from sa Pobla shares with Jaume Carrió, director of the animated short film, a huge admiration for the New Yorker. “He has always been one of Laura’s great intellectual references, and in my case, I was always clear that I wanted to thank him publicly for the past five decades of his brilliant professional trajectory,” says the Spanish film maker.

The Communications graduate and Audiovisual Communications graduate, respectively, had the privilege of coming full circle by personally handing a copy of their work to the man who was their source of inspiration. In the words of Gost, the big goal “wasn’t to win a Goya but to give this gift to the real Woody Allen.” Carrió also declared his satisfaction at the fact that the cinema legend let them know that he had memories of Mallorca, “as he came to play here with his jazz band.”

Marcos Cabotá, who is currently working on his latest film project in Los Angeles, has received two Goya nominations throughout his career. I am your Father is a full-length documentary that tells the story of the actor David Prowse who played Darth Vader in Star Wars. “It came about after a very mundane conversation with Toni Bestard about what had happened to the actor behind the character’s mask,” explains the Cinema Academy member.

He received his second nomination this year for Kyoko. The 38-year-old director, working alongside another Mallorcan, Joan Bover, set the film in the 1970s to tell the story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s involvement in the kidnapping of Ono’s daughter on the island. “On my way back from Las Vegas I remembered a story told to me by journalist Miguel Soler about when he had worked as a chauffeur on the island,” says Cabotá. When the Palma born director was seeking financing for the production, he teamed up with Bover and they set out together on this adventure.

Laura Gost praised the fact that the latest nominations for Goya Awards “include stories of international personalities that permit us to overcome our complex of localism,” adding that it proves that “us Mallorcans are capable of creating reality that is far removed from our lives.” In a similar vein, Jaume Carrió extols the fact that Mallorca’s great audiovisual work has led to the Goyas, stating that “the island isn’t just about tourism and sports; but also about culture.”

Marcos Cabotá is gratified by the “golden age” that the Balearic Island cinema industry is experiencing but warns that “when your strength fails in your work, it satisfies you more than any Goya to think that we have a future generation of film makers behind us, looking up to us.” Carles Bover, for his part, claims that in the audiovisual culture “not everything is measured by awards, nominations and festivals,” stressing that what is important is “to pursue objectives and take a good story to the public.”

Marco Cabotá is missing from the photos illustrating this article; he is currently working in Los Angeles, as previously mentioned.

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