Sandra Lipski, founder of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival.

There is still plenty of work to do for Sandra Lipski and her team ahead of the gala opening of the 11th Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival (EMIFF) at the Teatro Principal in Palma on October 26. However, this weekend Sandra got things rolling with a cocktail party for local friends and media to celebrate the fact that the festival has been named, for the fifth consecutive year, as one of the best 50 film festivals in the world worth paying to enter by leading industry magazine Moviemaker.

Not only does the jury lavish the festival with praise, it also loves the location - Mallorca. “It’s a great achievement for the team and a great boost as we emerge from the pandemic and the festival enters into a new decade.

“Now, into our eleventh year, we can not only get back to normal, we are going to be bigger and better than ever, and the annual Moviemaker rankings are a big help. The jury reaches its conclusions by asking people from all sectors of the industry who attend the festivals what they think. They gauge the opinions of those participating and attending the festivals, so the feedback from Mallorca must be good, and I’m really proud what we’ve managed to achieve over the past decade. Last year, despite Covid, we managed to stage our tenth anniversary festival. So, nothing has stopped us yet.

“What is also important to point out is that the festival is the only one in Spain which made the top 50 and one of only six in Europe, so to have been able to have continued to raise the standard of the festival consistently for the past years is a real milestone for everyone involved,” she added.

“Key to the festival’s success is its location. Everybody in the world wants to come to Mallorca. Once they have, if they’ve never been to the island and the festival before, the majority return year after year, and that has not gone unnoticed by the local authorities.

“Initially, when we first embarked on this journey 11 years ago, they were rather sceptical. I don’t think they really understood what we were trying to do and how the festival would benefit the island and the local film and audio-visual industry.

“However, over the years, they have grasped the idea and now, they are full-on, providing and offering us with all the support and help we need. This year, more than ever, they’re listening to want we want and taking note, and that’s a huge benefit. I think the authorities also feel proud of the what the festival stands for and what it does for the island.

“Right now, we’re still receiving entries. The first deadline is May 2, the second is July 4 and we close in August. The longer people leave it, the rates rise, but that said, on social media sites there are plenty of discounts. Or just call us, we’re here to help filmmakers; that’s what the festival is all about.

“In fact, while this year we are again expecting to receive well over 1,000 entries, we want to put the emphasis very much on new, up-and-coming filmmakers. That is going to mean more short films. We normally select and screen between 35 and 40, but this year it will be at least 60, and that is one area in which the festival is going to expand.

“We will obviously have the ten to 12 features and the premiere movie, but the festival comes in between some of Spain’s leading film festivals, so it makes securing a top feature difficult. So we’re sticking to our roots, I guess, and going to focus more on helping the next generation of filmmakers - of which more and more are women, which is great. Just look at the major festivals and award ceremonies which have already taken place this year; they’ve been dominated by women.

“We’re looking at having a total of 40 more films and that means more people, so it’s continuing to grow, which is great. We’ll still be using the convention centre and Cine Ciutat. The drive-in screenings will be held in Port Adriano as always, but this year there will be some pop-up cinemas in galleries and other unusual places around Palma, so that’s exciting.

“Like I said, it’s hard work, but it's my passion and seeing the recognition the film festival and Mallorca are gaining makes me very proud. We’re obviously doing the right thing in the right place and we plan to continue doing just that.”

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