No Place for Family in Film Festivals

Director of CinemaNet Speaks Out

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BARCELONA, Spain, FEB. 4, 2005 ( Modern films and film festivals neglect the family, says Daniel Arasa i Favià, director of CinemaNet.

“It is worth thinking about the great quantity of festivals that exist, including ones dedicated to pornographic and homosexual films, yet not one is dedicated to family films,” Arasa said to ZENIT.

Arasa is a journalist, historian, father of seven and president of the Barcelona-based “Grup d’Entitats Catalanes de la Familia,” an association of some 300 pro-family organizations.

Through CinemaNet, a phrase from Catalan meaning “clean cinema,” Arasa dedicates himself to the promotion of human, civic, family and educational values in movies.

CinemaNet has recently given an award to the movie “A Talking Picture” directed by Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira.

Q: Why did you give an award to this film?

Arasa: Because it presents in a masterful way aspects of the mother-daughter relationship and the formation one receives by visiting bastions of Mediterranean culture. Also the encounter with the woman’s husband is moving.

Moreover, it shows the possibility of communication among people who speak different languages. It is a sort of idyllic Tower of Babel. And all this in the midst of great aesthetic beauty.

As a complementary element, it offers enchanting brush-strokes of Mediterranean culture, to a large extent the cradle of world culture.

Q: Modern cinema does not treat the family well as a theme. Why?

Arasa: It can be said that, all together, the cinema neglects the family. The truth is that only a minority of films are exceptions to this general rule. The cinema is an extraordinary transmitter of values. If the latter are positive it is a wonderful instrument. If what is disseminated is harmful the conclusion is obvious.

Q: Family associations criticize the films that are produced. Why don’t they propose alternatives and financially support films with family values?

Arasa: It would be desirable if family associations could promote better cinema, but it is unthinkable that they would be able to contribute money. These entities exist, at least in Spain, in enormous precariousness.

Those that should contribute are businesses or private individuals. Beyond that, what are needed are businessmen who create production companies whose objective is to promote cinema with true values. This has nothing to do with goody-goody or boring cinema. On the contrary.

One of CinemaNet’s objectives, with the support of other family organizations, is to create a Family Film Festival. We are working to raise the money we think we will succeed.

It is worth thinking about the great quantity of festivals that exist, including ones dedicated to pornographic and homosexual films, yet not one is dedicated to family films. It is something worth thinking about, as it shows how people with good judgment, with values, with Christian sense, often let others disseminate what is negative and steal their place.

It is yet another confirmation of Christ’s words that the children of darkness are more astute than the children of light.

We are open to cooperation with people who consider it a worthwhile objective. Our e-mail is

Q: What criterion is important in “family” film awards?

Arasa: There are two types of awards. One that is given to an individual of the film world (director, scriptwriter, actor, actress, and even a producer) who has been outstanding throughout his professional life precisely because of this, because of his record, his constant activity, in favor of human, family and educational values. One can deduce from this that the winners are always individuals of certain maturity, who have quite a few years in the profession.

Another award is given to one, two or three films, premiering in Spain the year of the competition, which demonstrates human, family and educational values, or which precisely reflects their absence. Films such as “Solas” and “El Bola” are examples of this.

Q: You are the father of seven children. When they watch a movie, do you make them watch one that has values?

Arasa: There is no specific criterion to judge whether or not a film is appropriate. Films can be of a thousand kinds, with the most varied focuses, with more or less special effects, with topics that can range from comedy to war, from animation to drama. What is really important is the foundation.

I would say there is a key word for films: the values or, if you prefer, the virtues they transmit. However, very often it is not necessary to convey a moral. To have fun as a family is very positive and healthy; it unites people.

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