In this year of pandemic, the resounding success of El año del descubrimiento, by Luis López Carrasco, and My Mexican Bretzel, by Nuria Giménez Lorang, mean that Spanish cinema is all the rage and here at D’A Film Festival Barcelona and Un Impulso Colectivo we have been promoting it for some time. That could be both a good and a bad thing. Good because it must mean that we were not wrong. And bad because the trend could end up being tamed and gradually made part of the more mainstream industry, and the more recognition and awards it achieves, the more likely it is to shed some of its strength and originality. But we are still firmly convinced that our choice of films for the 2021 edition not only disproves the latter theory, but in fact showcases how the tradition still has the same drive and energy that was started by López Carrasco himself when he presented his debut film, El futuro (D’A 2015), at the festival and reached its peak when Giménez Lorang collected the audience award for My Mexican Bretzel (D’A 2020).

Followers of the section will find that this year we have examples of an increasingly more multiform and multifaceted documentary movement, and one that is also more daring, together with fiction that ceaselessly experiments with different modelling and staging methods. You will see that young filmmakers are still playing a fundamental role in the story, while the veterans are just as strong as ever. But most of all, they are here to surprise us with new, rigorous and challenging forms of storytelling, that speak to the audience on first name terms, without making things easy but without overwhelming them with sterile purisms either. From playing with more traditional forms of narrative to the inclusion of new technologies, the variety is as vibrant and striking as ever. And in the midst of all this there is still time to unveil new talents and to issue a reminder that shorts are not merely a step on the journey towards feature length movies, but are a genre unto itself that offers boundless possibilities.

So there is no compliant integration. Just like López Carrasco and Giménez Lorang, the filmmakers that will be bringing us ‘impulse’ this year will be looking to infiltrate the system in order to change things, to venture into areas that may have seemed off-limits in order to cross every boundary and set new frontiers. Can we afford to leave them alone in the face of such perils?

— Carlos Losilla