The festival will feature 21 new films from Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America including 9 UK premieres and is the UK’s largest and most popular celebration of Spanish and Latin American culture which celebrates 25 years of cross-border creativity, collaborations and partnerships in 2019.

Opening the festival on Friday 22 March is the UK premiere of Tiempo después (Some Time After) attended by the esteemed Spanish director José Luis Cuerda and followed by a free 25th birthday party in the HOME bar.

Packed with satire and Python-esque humour, Tiempo después also kicks off ¡Viva!’s themed strand for 2019 – ‘Serious Fun’, inspired by the Spanish and Latin American cultural tradition of esperpento, which uses satire, the grotesque and dark humour to skewer the foibles of contemporary society. The Serious Fun continues in ¡Viva!’s archive section including works from master of parody and ambiguity Luis García Berlanga (Plácido, El Verdugo) and Álex de la Iglesia (El Día de la bestia, Acción mutante).

Five directors in total will attend the festival, including three Spanish filmmakers making their directorial debuts – Koldo Almandoz brings his Basque drama Oreina, winner of the Best Basque Film at San Sebastian Film Festival 2018;

Sergi Portabella will introduce witty, coming-of-age tale Jean-François i el sentit de la vida (Jean-François and the Meaning of Life), one of two Catalan features in the festival; and, Andrea Jaurrieta will present Ana de día  (Ana by Day), a thrilling journey into the life of a woman with a mysterious doppelgänger, that was written, directed and produced by Jaurrieta alongside a 70% female crew. In addition, Argentine filmmaker Anahí Berneri will introduce her fifth feature, Alanis, winner of Best Director and Best Actress when it screened at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Female filmmakers feature strongly across the film programme, with 19 of the films foregrounding female creative talent in the roles of director, writer, producer or star, a reflection of HOME’s ongoing, year-long Celebration of Women in Global Cinema.

Further examples include: Spanish director Icíar Bollaín’s Yuli, the rags-to-riches story of Cuban ballet superstar Carlos Acosta written by Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake) and featuring Acosta himself, which has a special preview screening ahead of its national release; Alejandra Márquez Abella’s Las Niñas bien (The Good Girls), a biting social satire set amongst Mexico’s country club elite during the 1982 debt crisis; and Dominican Republic-set Miriam miente (Miriam Lies), co-directed by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada.

Also helmed by female co-directors are the award-winning and critically acclaimed El Silencio de otros (The Silence of Others), winner of Best Documentary at the Goyas directed by Emmy award-winning duo Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar and backed by Pedro Almodóvar; and, Colombian drug epic Pájaros de Verano (Birds of Passage) co-directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, the filmmaking duo behind the Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent.

Female talent will also headline the ¡Viva! Tour which returns in 2019 after a 10-year hiatus and sees a curated selection of seven films from the main festival screening at venues across the UK with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from The National Lottery. In addition to Alanis, Ana de día, Jean-François i el sentit de la vida, and Miriam miente, the tour programme includes: Carlos Fernández de Vigo’s Memorias de un hombre en pijama (Memories of a Man in Pyjamas), an autobiographical story from comic-strip artist Paco Roca adapted for the big screen in partnership with Diana López and Ángel de la Cruz; Jaime Rosales’ Petra, starring Bárbara Lennie as the eponymous woman uncovering dark family secrets; and Carlos Vermut’s Quién te cantará starring Eva Llorach, Carme Elías and Najwa Nimri as the complex female leads.

Further highly anticipated titles include a trio of new films from Argentina: Benjamín Naishtat’s stylish thriller Rojo which took Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actor awards at San Sebastian 2018; Luis Ortega’s Scorsese-flavoured crime drama El Ángel (The Angel), based on the true story of the longest serving prisoner in Argentine history; and Animal, the directorial debut from the Oscar-winning Birdman screenwriter Armando Bo.

These screen alongside fellow Argentine filmmaker Agustín Toscano’s second feature El Motoarrebatador (The Snatch-Thief), and Viaje a los pueblos fumigados (Journey to the Fumigated Towns), the latest film from renowned documentarian Fernando E. Solanas, which explores the environmental and human casualties of mass corporate agriculture. Continuing the audience’s cinematic journey across the Spanish-speaking world, further highlights of the film programme include: Álvaro Delgado Aparicio’s Retablo, set in the remote Peruvian Andes; Formentera Lady, the feature directing debut from renowned Spanish actor Pau Durà; and, whimsical drama En las estrellas (Up Among the Stars) from Spanish filmmaker Zoe Berriatúa.

In addition to championing Spanish and Latin-American filmmakers working today, ¡Viva! will host a Bigas Luna Tribute, comprising screenings of the legendary Spanish auteur’s Iberian trilogy. Curated by Prof. Santiago Fouz Hernández, University of Durham, and Betty Bigas, multidisciplinary artist and daughter of Bigas Luna, the tribute will open with Jamón, jamón, the film that launched the careers of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, followed by a special drinks reception for all ticket-holders.

Further special events taking place across the festival include the return of the popular Café Cervantes, an informal gathering of Spanish-speaking film lovers, and the Language Lab, a bespoke study session for adult Spanish language learners and film fans.

There will be two special One Hour Intros to Serious Fun and Contemporary Argentine Cinema, eight films will have BSL intros, and there will be three post-screening discussions including one about the environment and mass corporate agriculture led by HOME’s Projects & Sustainability Coordinator Alison Criddle following the screening of Viaje a los pueblos fumigados.

The festival fun continues in Theatre 1, with Kingdom from contemporary Spanish theatre company, Señor Serrano, co-commissioned by HOME and supported by Acción Cultural Española’s Programme for the Internationalisation of Spanish Culture (PICE). Renowned for their unique, cinematic style of performance, Señor Serrano return to ¡Viva! following Birdie in 2016.

In Kingdom they use the character of King Kong and footage from the original film and remakes to bring the history of capitalism and bananas together, in a way that has never been told before! Also in Theatre 1 is a special Upclose performance in association with Manchester Camerata with violin soloist Francesca Dego. The rising star of the international scene will deliver an evening of vivid and vibrant music including Piazolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

Rachel Hayward comments: “At a time in history when the issue of borders is predominant, we welcome our 25th annual celebration of cross-border creativity and partnerships. For a quarter of a century, we have been honoured to bring the best new film and creative work from Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America to UK audiences, and we look forward to continuing to do so over the next 25 years! ¡Disfrutad el festival!”

¡Viva! 2019 is supported by Film Hub North, proud to be part of the BFI Film Audience Network.

To book tickets please visit or call box office on +44 (0)161 200 1500.

All films screened in Spanish with English subtitles unless otherwise noted. Films start at the advertised time without adverts or trailers. Film certs are recommended.


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