Opening night features the Australian premiere of El Hijo De La Novia (Son Of The Bride) followed by a Spanish Fiesta at Stage Eleven Live, Fox Studios, complete with tapas and sangria. DJ Ricardo Mardi will host the night. The festival will close with El Crimen Del Padre Amaro (The Crime Of Father Amaro) starring Gael Garc?Bernal of Y Tu Mam?ambi?fame.

Mexican director, Eva L? S?hez, is the special guest of the festival and will present a screening of her film, Francisca -¦ De Que Lado Estas? (Francisca -¦ Which Side Are You On?) on 10 May followed by a Q&A.

Eight shorts screen in the Life Is Too Short! program. Festival-goers also get the opportunity to celebrate the best of gastronomic Spain with a Spanish market to be held at Fox on 8, 10 and 11 May. Twelve feature films, many directed by women, from across the Spanish-speaking world will screen during the festival including:

Director: Juan Jos?ampanella

Argentinian-born, American-trained and resident writer/director Campanella’s latest film was Argentina’s nomination for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Oscars. El Hijo De La Novia (Son Of The Bride) won eight Silver Condors at Argentina’s Film Critics Awards as well garnering audience favourite at numerous film festivals around the world. It is interesting to note that Campanella made a film for HBO in 1994, More Than Friends: The Coming Out Of Heidi Leiter, which starred a 15-year-old Claire Danes in her film debut role in the true story of a girl who wanted to take her girlfriend to the prom. The film won a 1995 GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Program for Young Adults category.

Son Of The Bride is an Argentinian mid-life crisis comedy drama which is poignant, funny and has some great characters. Ricardo Darin (Nine Queens) puts in a solid performance. Although this is essentially a gentle comedy about love, family and making decisions, there is also a subtext which highlights the current state of affairs in Argentina.

Directors: Daniela Fejerman and In?Paris

A Mi Madre Le Gustan Las Mujeres (My Mother Likes Women) is the second feature film to result from the collaboration of Fejerman and Paris. It won Best Feature film at the Torino and Verzaubert International Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals and continues the recent trend evident in some Spanish cinema to treat queer themes lightly. If you went by the title you’d be thinking this was a lesbian film, right? Instead, we are delivered a lightweight comedy which trades on the name but doesn’t deliver on the content. It is watchable though, has some funny moments and it is good to see the gorgeous Leonor Watling (Talk To Her) on the screen again.

Director: Basilio Mart?Patino

Seventy-three-year-old Spaniard Patino has been directing feature films since the 60s and is a member of the New Spanish Cinema movement. This is his first feature film in 15 years and was nominated for a Golden Seashell at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Patino made a lyrical film in the 70s called Canciones Para Despues De Una Guerra which was banned in Spain until Franco died.

Octavia is a thoughtful film, beautiful to look at but with a very dense script which makes the film more than a little drawn out at times. This is the kind of European filmmaking not often seen these days.

Tickets for the Spanish Film Festival are available from Cinema Paris Box Office (9332 1633) during cinema hours or online at

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