Madrid fest wants to be industry 'reference point'


MADRID -- The inaugural CIM Madrid International Film Festival will run March 28-April 5, organizers said Tuesday as they officially took the wraps off what they hope to be Europe's newest high-profile film festival.

Organized by the CIM & ART Foundation and backed by the Madrid municipal government, the festival is looking to set a high bar and become a world-class must for the industry.

"We're looking to become a reference point for the rest of the industry," said Julio Veloso, one of the founders of the CIM & ART foundation. "To do that, we're relying on our dedication to creating a unique project."

The festival will screen about 20 films across three main sections: an official section, with 10 films; Filma Madrid, with five titles; and Opera Prima, also five. Only the new directors in Opera Prima will vie for a cash prize.

Organizers plan to target cultural heavyweights and film professionals and hope to establish the event as an A-list festival by focusing as much on the standard of the films shown as on the guests in attendance.

"What defines a festival is the quality of the films, and we are looking to only show beautiful, high-level films," Madrid festival director Maria Kanon de Cle said. "One of our objectives is that it not simply be a big party, but that it pay the proper respect to cinema as art."

Kanon de Cle said she is not looking to attract glamorous actors for the sake of bolstering the fest's profile. With her roughly $1 million budget, she expects the glamour to come from the high level of professionals invited to the event.

Special attention also will be paid to art direction, music, costume and photography.

Aware that it is launching amid an already crowded industry calendar, organizers said the festival will focus on premiering original films in a privileged setting, using some of Madrid's most emblematic venues including the Centro Cultural de la Villa and Madrid's Congress Hall.

"We know that it's a crowded festival circuit, but we think that what distinguishes us is our passion and dedication to the project," Veloso said.