The Valladolid International Film Festival started in 1956 as the Religious Film Week. The event was held as a part of Easter celebrations, its main goal was to transmit Catholic moral values via the medium of film. Over the first four years of its existence, the festival preserved its religious orientation, but it had a negative effect of its program. There simply weren’t enough high-quality films with religious themes to fill the program. The organizers realized that they needed to expand the subject matter of the festival for the event to survive.
In 1960, the Religious Film Week was converted into the International Religion & Human Values Film Week. Its program was composed of films that focused on human values and a sense of commitment. In 1973, the festival finally got rid of its religious orientation and was renamed to Valladolid’s International Film Week (Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid). Today, Seminci is dedicated to auteur cinema and independent cinema.
The Valladolid International Film Festival is a competitive festival, its main prize is called the Golden Spike. The first film director to receive the award was Jules Dassin (the USA/France) in 1960. He was awarded for his film He Who Must Die based on the novel Christ Recrucified. In 1979, two new categories, Best Actress and Best Actor, were introduced. Over the years, several more categories have been added to the competition. Seminci also awards a number of special prizes such as the FIPRESCI Award.
Seminci introduced Spanish audience to filmmakers such as Ingmar Bergman (Sweden), François Truffaut (France), Luis Buñuel (Spain), Andrzej Wajda (Poland), Ermanno Olmi (Italy), Federico Fellini (Italy), Yılmaz Güney (Turkey), and Roberto Rosselini (Italy). It played a significant role in launching careers of many Spanish filmmakers including Pedro Almodóvar. As one of the oldest film festivals in Europe, Seminci has always been characterized by its innovative programming and willingness to take risks.
Photo by José Emilio (–jem–)