IndieLisboa’s 18th Edition, an Oasis for International Cinema

In the height of summer for the second year, and still in an atypical format, IndieLisboa – Lisbon International Film Festival took place between August 21 and September 6, in what was its longest edition in history.

On the year it reached its 18th edition, it gathered a total of 276 films distributed in 191 sessions, 27 of which sold out. With venues still at 50% capacity, the attendance was high at the usual cinemas – Cinema São Jorge, Culturgest, Cinema Ideal and Cinemateca Portuguesa – but also open air at the Garden of Biblioteca Palácio Galveias and the Cinemateca Esplanade, an enticing proposal for warm nights.

To be highlighted is the success of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s documentary, which finally rewrites the story of 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival in Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), awarded Best Documentary at this year’s edition of Sundance Film Festival in the USA. As for the international competition, We, a sensation-film by Alice Diop, who has spent the last 15 years filming Parisian suburbs through the lens of social activism, and Delphine’s Prayers, by Rosine Mbakam, which ended up winning the Grand Award City of Lisbon. The IndieMusic section is also to be highlighted, in particular films such as Ney under the skin, Sisters with Transistors or 9 Sevilles, the last two the winners of the IndieLisboa Award this year. As for Portuguese films, the beautiful Paraíso, by Sérgio Tréfaut, recently premiered and Jack’s Ride, by Susana Nobre, raised the bar for Portuguese film. Yet, looking back, the big event of this year’s edition was the majestic and so far most complete retrospective of Sarah Maldoror’s work at Cinemateca Portuguesa, one of the most awaited moments this year, as a thank you and profound homage after the filmmakers passing in 2020. Her daughter Annouchka de Andrade was present at the screenings and confirmed the objective of this annual communion of people who live through cinema.

In the cinema for the youngest generation, the festival was well attended by families, including the Family Day at the Garden of Biblioteca Palácio Galveias, the Cinema de Colo for babies aged 4 months to 2 and a half years, and the film-debate for parents, children and teachers Autism: the path to inclusion at school and in the community, which focused on approaching difference and took place at the Biblioteca Palácio Galveias. The sessions organised with schools by the festival’s educational service had taken place last May (on the original dates of the festival), when for first time, they took place directly in schools.

In addition to those who attended the film screenings, it is also important to highlight both those who attended the festival activities, such as the LisbonTalks Universidade Lusófona, broadcast live on YouTube, and the participants of the industry activities, namely the Lisbon Screenings, aimed exclusively at professionals. But also those who have listened and continue to listen to the Director’s Talks, conversations about cinema between our team and filmmakers present at the festival, not only on Facebook but also in podcast format, available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Radio Public, Breaker and Anchor. IndieLisboa’s app and Whatsapp accompanied the festival, providing spectators with all the necessary information about the programme and the event itself.

IndieLisboa ended last September 8, after the screening of the award winning films at Cinema Ideal and the conclusion of the Sarah Maldoror Retrospective at Cinemateca Portuguesa. It will be back in 2022, between April 28 and May 8, with a new selection of national and international films. Meanwhile, the festival and the films present in its 18th edition will travel around the country to those who could not be present in 10 extensions, which range from Odemira to Famalicão, passing through Vila Franca, Penafiel or Pinhal Novo.

A big thank you and see you next year!