A few weeks before D’A 2020, which was all set to be a lavish tenth anniversary edition, came the announcement of national lockdown, which meant the whole thing had to be re-planned at the last moment. We eventually decided to neither postpone nor cancel the event, and instead became the first film festival in Spain to reinvent itself and be held exclusively online via Filmin. We saved the festival, and delighted both one-off visitors and film buffs with a potent selection of online movies, a breath of fresh air on home cinema screens that was enjoyed by more than 350,000 people across ten days. But given the devastation of the global pandemic, the celebrations were muted.

Little by little, film festivals have been adapting to the situation, and together we have come up with a sustainable formula in the midst of a health crisis that is still a long way from being resolved. But it has also allowed us break the geographical divide supposed by holding events in a solely face-to-face format. The now well-known hybrid format means that although we are gradually being reunited with the long-missed silver screen, virtual audiences are not being forgotten. Indeed, the system has quickly become consolidated and may well be here to stay. All that is thanks to the implication of Filmin and the other institutions that partner with the festival.

And it is precisely that hybrid spirit that reigns supreme over this year’s D’A Film Festival Barcelona, which we like to think of as our tenth birthday even though it’s really our eleventh: a hybrid between cinema and home screens, but also hybrid in terms of the films on show. 2020 was obviously a turning point for everyone, and movie screens are, as ever, the perfect mirror of that. We’ll never look at films the same way again, and anything that brings to mind what we have lived through this last year, both in a bad way and a good one, will cause us to reflect upon and reappraise everything that has happened. The films on show at D’A 2021, therefore, hover over the frontier between the world of the past and future, and were all created and filmed in the midst of the crisis. Focus 2021, dedicated to Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska, also forms part of the same concept, with her filmography full of ambiguities and stimulating hybridisations of tones and genres.

So this year we truly are welcoming you to D’A’s celebration of cinematography!

— The D’A Film Festival Barcelona Team