Festival founder and director Sandra Lipski. | Humphrey Carter


The curtain is all ready to go up on the eleventh Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival and festival founder and director Sandra Lipski admits she is “bursting at the seams” and is so excited about this year’s festival.

Last year, its tenth anniversary marked a milestone for the festival, and she told the Bulletin that the event would be entering the next decade with a bang.

“We’ve spent the past ten years building the festival up both at a local and international level and we’re now ready to step into the big shoes,” she told me on the eve of last year’s festival.

With less than a week to go before the opening night of this year’s event, the festival is embarking on a new chapter at the very top of its game.

Having already been regularly rated by the global industry as one of the best 50 film festivals in the world worth paying to enter by leading industry magazine Moviemaker, the Guardian recently hailed it as one of Europe's top ten and fastest-growing film festivals; it continues to gather worldwide acclaim and fame. The philosophy of the festival has always been “bridging cultures - bridging people”, and Sandra said that this applies to people in the industry and society as a whole.

“This year the festival has really stamped its mark on the global festival circuit; we’ve never had so many top professionals from all over the world wanting to come. For example, we have 250 filmmakers and members of the industry coming from New York - that’s insane - and many more are coming to the festival and making a holiday around it. Some are coming a few days before, others staying on, some want to experience Mallorca, while others are coming to check out the island as a location.

"I know of many who are either considering or planning to film here next year, so they want to meet members of the local film industry, which is highly professional and experienced, and to see what the island has to offer. Which, from a filmmaker’s point of view, is pretty much everything. And we’ve now got the local authorities and the Mallorca Film Commission on board, along with the Council of Mallorca, because they can see the value and importance of the festival on the global stage. This is all great news, but it means that the team and I have to throw all of our resources and more at the festival. We’ve set the benchmark and we’ve got to keep raising the bar, and this year we have.

“One thing about this business is that you’ve always got to be flexible. People are filming, on set, moving from one festival to another, so plans can change very quickly, and we have to adapt. The perfect example is that the opening night at the Teatre Principal will star this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, Ruben Östlund, who will present his film Triangle of Sadness. I pitched the idea of him coming and he loved it. He’s only just won Cannes and is in big demand, but he has always wanted to attend the festival and what better time for him and us,” she said this week at the festival headquarters the Hotel Portixol, the Official Festival Hotel and Gold Sponsor.

The festival has also announced its new Evolution Cinematography Icon award, which this year will be presented to US filmmaker Ed Lachman. The Oscar-nominated cinematographer, whose credits include Carol and Far from Heaven, will be in attendance at the festival to accept the honour.
Also participating will be Los Angeles-based indie film producer and actress Lee Broda, vice president of LB Entertainment, whose credits include Call Jane. Directed by Phyllis Nagy, Call Jane makes its Spanish premiere at EMIFF. Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver and Chris Messina star in the 1960s-set drama about a woman seeking an abortion and the underground clinic she turns to for help. It screened at Sundance and Berlin earlier this year.

Also being showcased is UK director Tim Lewiston’s There’s Always Hope, starring the award-winng Irish legend Colm Meaney, and Marie Kreutzer’s Oscar hopeful Corsage from Austria.
The festival will also include The Producers Club and the new Cinematography Focus will include a conversation with DoP Ed Lachman, an Oscar nominee for Todd Haynes’ Carol and Far from Heaven. Lachman will pick up EMIFF’s inaugural Cinematography Icon award and Carol will screen.

“We talk so much about directors, producers, cast etc., but one has to remember that without a cinematographer there would be no films. They play a vital role in filmmaking and I thought it was time we showcased them and brought them to the forefront. The director directs the cast, it’s the cinematographer and the director of photography who are responsible for actually filming the productions,” she explained.

“For that we have teamed up with British Cinematographer and Camera & Light magazines to collaborate, and Larry Sher, the DoP whose credits include Joker, is lined up for a virtual Q&A about Todd Phillips’ film. He wanted to come but is locked in pre-production of Joker 2, so he’s pretty busy. But he is going to join us by zoom on the night of the screening.

“Also this year we’re organising a location tour so industry members from around the world can see what the island has to offer as a location, and the Film Commission has been very helpful with that. The local authorities now see what we’re doing and that leading industry chiefs are talking about the Mallorca festival as they move around the world and meet. The global industry wants to come here and that’s great for us, the island as a whole and Mallorca’s film and audio-visual industry.

“This year, the Made in Baleares category has a record number of films, two of which are feature films, one shot in Ibiza and the other in Mallorca during the pandemic. The latter is called Ghost Island. It was shot when the island was empty, everyone was indoors, something we will never see again, it’s an amazing piece of work.

“Again, we had over 1,500 entries for the festival and we’ve selected what we consider the best in the various categories. The Spanish premiere of Colm Meaney’s new film is going to be very exciting. He will be with us; he’s lived here for many years now so is no stranger to Mallorca. The film will be screened in English, as they haven’t got round to the Spanish subtitles yet. Plus, the director Tim Lewiston is planning on shooting a feature in Mallorca next year.

“Another interesting film is Call Jane, which stars Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver. Ironically, despite being set in the ‘70s in the States, it has suddenly become very topical as a result of the changes to the abortion law in the United States. We have a real mix of exciting, thought-provoking and entertaining films, features and shorts this year, plus a host of extra activities going on throughout the festival. Nastassja Kinski will be on the red carpet as well; she is being presented with a new award to be given by the Mallorca Film Commission.

“And I can’t stress enough that this is not a festival aimed exclusively as the industry; it’s open to all.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for people who love film, may have a slight interest in getting involved in the industry and don’t know where to start, or who want to improve their skills and learn more or simply want to enjoy a unique experience of being part of a leading global festival in Mallorca. The island’s film industry is very much alive and the future is looking very exciting.

“I just can’t wait to get the festival rolling. It’s extremely hard work but it is paying off, and we’ve managed to capture the attention and focus of the global industry, which is a major achievement for us and the island.” Evolution festival - I think it’s evolved.

For more information, tickets etc. visit https://www.evolutionfilmfestival.com