Monday, 14 February 2011

Álex de la Iglesia’s Goya speech, 13th February 2011:

Someone has probably already translated this somewhere, and Alt Film Guide has a condensed version here, but this is my translation based on the transcript that El País put online almost immediately after the speech was given (they also have video). Please let me know if there are any errors (there were a couple of phrases I was unsure of).

Good evening.
Twenty-five years ago, twelve professionals from our cinema, in the middle of a crisis as grave as ours, came together despite their differences. I want to start this speech by congratulating the founders of the Academy.
Not only them, but all of those who have preceded me in this institution, vice-presidents, members of the board of directors and the members of the academy, they have brought us here tonight, in the Teatro Real, in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Academy of the Arts and Cinematographic Sciences and the existence of the Goya awards. To all, many thanks.
It could seem that we arrive here today separated, with different points of views of fundamental issues. The end result of everyone fighting for their own convictions. And nothing more. Because in reality, we are all in the same situation, which is the defense of the cinema. Because of that I want to congratulate and to thank all of you who are here, for moving together in difference.
We make a lot of noise, but this is because this time, there are many nuts*. The clash of positions is always dramatic and afterwards rises a cloud of smoke that obscures clear vision. But the discussion is not in vain, it is not frivolous and it is not hasty.
We cannot forget the most important thing, the heart of the matter. We are part of a Whole and we are no one without this Whole. A film is not a film until someone sits at the front and watches it. The essence of cinema is defined by two concepts: a screen, and people who enjoy it. Without an audience this has no sense. We cannot ever forget this.
They say that I have provoked a crisis. ‘Crisis’, in Greek, means ‘change’. And change is action. We are at the point of no return and it is the moment to act. We cannot go backwards. Everything will depend on the decisions taken now. Nothing that mattered before, matters now. The rules of the game have changed.
Twenty-five years ago, those in our profession could never have imagined that something called the Internet would revolutionise the cinema market in this way and that whether or not people see our films would not simply be a question of getting the audience into the cinema.
The Internet is not the future, as some believe. The Internet is the present. The Internet is a way of communicating, of sharing information, entertainment and culture that is used by hundreds of millions of people. The Internet is part of our lives and the new window into the world. The ‘internautas’ do not like to be called so. They are citizens, they are simply people, they are our audience.
This audience that we have lost, that does not go to the cinema because they are in front of a computer screen. I want to say clearly that we are not scared of the Internet, because the Internet is, precisely, the salvation of our cinema.
We will only win in the future if we are the ones who change, who innovate, who move forward with imaginative, creative ideas, trying a new model of the market that takes into account all of those who are implicated: authors, producers, distributors, exhibitors, web pages, servers, users. One needs a crisis, a change, in order to go forward with a new understanding of the cinema business.
We have to think of our rights, of course, but never forget our obligations. We have a moral responsibility to the public. We should never forget something essential: we make cinema because the citizens permit us to make it, and we must respect them, and give thanks.
The films we are talking about tonight are the proof that in this country we give our all in our work. However, the same effort (or more) was made by many other films that did not receive nominations. They also deserve to be here, because they have worked just as hard as us.
I want to take my leave in my last gala as President, reminding all of the Goya nominees of only one thing: more than winning or losing, if we can make cinema we work in something that we enjoy. There is nothing better than feeling free creating, and sharing that happiness with others. We are cineastes, we tell stories, we create worlds for the spectator to live in. We are more than 30,000 people who have the immense luck to make a living making dreams. We have to be at the height of the privilege that society offers us.
I believe, with all humility, that if we want them to respect us, we have to show respect first.
And finally, I would like to say something to the next President of the Academy, who I will like, whoever it will be: these have been the happiest two years of my life. I have known wonderful people in all of the sectors of the industry. I have seen problems from new points of view, which has enriched me and made me better than I was. I have realized that working for others is an extraordinary experience although difficult in the beginning. And above all: twenty-five very good years have passed, but many more are coming, and I am sure that they will be even better.
Good evening.

* This is a phrase that doesn't make much sense in English. It comes from a Spanish proverb 'mucho ruido y pocas nueces' (literally 'much noise and few nuts' -referring to cracking nuts) -the English equivalent is probably 'much ado about nothing' or 'a lot of noise about nothing'. In his speech, de la Iglesia is playing on the phrase by saying that there has been a lot of noise, but in this case with good reason (the 'many nuts'). Thanks to Carlos Aganzo for explaining that to me -it turned out it was in my book of Spanish idioms but under 'ruido' rather than 'nueces'.