IberoDocs: 2022 festival preview

IberoDocs returns with a hybrid edition featuring in-person events in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as online screenings across the UK. As usual, expect a sharply-curated selection of documentary from Spanish, Portuguese and Latin-American filmmakers

Feature by Josh Slater-Williams | 24 Mar 2022
  • Iberodocs

As with basically every UK arts festival in the first five months of 2021, the eighth edition of IberoDocs – Scotland’s main showcase for documentary works from Spanish, Portuguese and Latin-American filmmakers – went fully online in light of lockdowns. For the ninth edition, in-person events in Edinburgh and Glasgow are back on the cards, but lessons from last time haven’t been completely abandoned.

Between 6 and 10 April there will be screenings at those cities’ participating venues, while between 11 and 17 April a selection of the festival programme will move online and be available across the UK. There'll be one online-exclusive in the form of Bolingo: The Forest of Love – a documentary exploring the journey undertaken by women migrants from the heart of Africa to northern Morocco, searching for the ‘European dream’. Additional accessibility will also come via a number of post-film Q&As featuring BSL interpretation.

IberoDocs’ programming tends to focus on a particular theme each year. Last year’s instalment saw ‘Art as a Need’ as the driving force, with documentaries challenging stereotypes concerning artists. In 2022, the festival programming is dedicated to territory, belonging and migrations, themes reported to be close to the hearts of the IberoDocs team.

Representing the Beyond Docs strand, which showcases films blurring fiction and nonfiction, the festival will open with director Neus Ballús’ The Odd-Job Men at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse on 6 April. It's described as a comedy following a young Moroccan plumber who's navigating a hectic probationary week in a new job, where the colleagues are just as eccentric as the customers. Also repping Beyond Docs is Lucia Murat’s Ana. Untitled (Glasgow Film Theatre, 10 April), a road movie exploring letters exchanged between female Latin-American visual artists in the 1970s and 1980s.

The director of the aforementioned Bolingo, Andalusian filmmaker Alejandro Salgado, has a second film at IberoDocs this year. Barzakh screens at both Filmhouse and GFT on 7 April, with an online screening window to follow later. The title references the Islamic culture term for the liminal realm between physical death and the afterlife, and the film evokes that same sense of indeterminacy, telling the story of young, undocumented Moroccan boys waiting and hoping to make their way across Europe from the coastline of Melilla.

Experimental enthusiasts should seek out Rocío Huertas’ La Alameda 2018, which looks at the history of economic violence, class struggles and marginalisation in Seville, where the director and animator is based. Huertas is set to participate in a live Q&A during the festival, and will lead a free animation workshop prior to her film’s screening at Edinburgh’s Banshee Labyrinth on 8 April; a Glasgow screening, minus a workshop, takes place at the CCA on 9 April.

Additional feature films on offer include António Aleixo's Spread Through Inland (Filmhouse, 9 April), a Portuguese documentary about the Terras da Chanfana area, as framed through the eyes of musician Tiago Pereira and geographer Álvaro Domingues; Aleixo is down to participate in a Q&A after the film. Musicians have additional presence at the festival through No somos nada (Banshee Labyrinth, 8 April; CCA, 9 April). Javier Corcuera’s documentary shines a light on legendary punk rock band La Polla Records, returning to bid a farewell to fans. As a means of celebrating the band’s final tour, singer Evaristo Páramos revives 40 years of history from his hometown in the Basque Country. Following the film and a Q&A with Corcuera at Banshee Labyrinth’s Friday screening will be a party, which will be in the spirit of the celebrations and music audiences have just spent time with.

Away from features, the short film programme – playing 8 April at Filmhouse and 9 April at CCA, before heading online from 11 April – offers a line-up curated by Edinburgh-based Spanish filmmakers Inma de Reyes and Nelisa Alcalde. The selections bear connections to the pair's own short Isabel’s Independence, which also plays in the programme and follows a Spaniard migrating to Edinburgh for new opportunities. Among the other highlights in this shorts programme is the UK premiere of recent Goya Award-nominee Extra, which takes us into the world of a film and television extra.

And speaking of extras, there’s one final bonus for this festival celebrating a return to in-person participation: a series of free, informal ‘Movie Gatherings’ in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where attendees can get together to discuss the films and themes of the exciting line-up.

IberoDocs runs 6-10 Apr in-person in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and 11-17 Apr online

Full programme details and tickets at iberodocs.org