The 2018 Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival was an all-inclusive immersion in, and education on, the ever-evolving culture and love of independent movies set amongst the historical and architectural beauty of a city that has been passed through by the Roman Empire and the Moors.
Evolution is in its blood.
Set in Palma, the lovely capital city of Mallorca, an island in the Balearic Sea, EMIFF is a small, yet extremely well-organized festival that is poised to cement itself as a must-attend spot on the European festival circuit.
EMIFF’s opening night gala, held at the CaixaForum in downtown Palma, was a lively gathering of well-dressed moviemakers, attendees, and event organizers that got the festival started off on solid footing. The event then moved across the street to the historic and breathtaking Teatre Principal, where the Evolution Vision Award was given to Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, celebrating him as a figure who’s inspired audiences, bridged cultures, and broken boundaries. Mikkelsen, who considers Mallorca his second home, was genuinely touched: “It’s always pleasant to hear nice things about yourself, but I am also truly honored to have received this special award,” he remarked.
The Evolution Icon Award was presented to Melissa Leo for her trailblazing achievements as an actress and her unshakable independent spirit. Leo, also in attendance, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech, during which she proclaimed, “My faith in humanity has been given new hope by my visit to this wonderful island.” Out of utmost respect for the local moviemakers in attendance, Leo, who attended the Made In Baleares short film screenings, quieted down crowds in the theater’s hallway during the moviemakers’ Q&A. Her Icon award is well-deserved, not only due to her gifts as a performer, but also because of her endearing humbleness and dedication to indie moviemakers.
Over the ensuing six days, movies from all over the world were screened, including the U.S.’ Funny Story, Germany’s Away You Go, Spain’s Ana de día, and France’s M (all favorites of mine). Leo was also on hand to teach a masterclass in acting, producers’ panels were filled with enthusiastic attendees, and special time was given to films made in Baleares.
An Evolution Honorary Award was presented to Spanish screen legend Marisa Paredes, who has been one of Pedro Almodóvar’s go-to actors for almost 20 years and has sustained a prolific ca- reer that’s spanned five decades. Tobias Lindholm, the Danish screenwriter and film director received the much-deserved Evolutionary Award, which honored the evolution of the culturally relevant artist as a tastemaker and influencer on today’s international movie scene.
Mikkelsen’s latest film, Arctic, was screened, followed by an entertaining and quirky Q&A with the star. David O. Russell’s The Fighter, carried in large part by Leo’s Oscar-winning performance, was also screened, followed by an educational Q&A with the iconic actor. Both Mikkelsen and Leo stuck around for moviemaker panels, and seemed to enjoy discussing their art and hearing from local movie- makers about their own work.
During one panel, the moderator, EMIFF founder Sandra Seeling Lipski, had the tables turned on her by Leo, who asked Lipski, “What does ‘Evolution’ mean to you?” Sandra replied, “It means creating a festival that will evolve every year, bridge cultures, and gather people together through independent film.”
The seven-year-old festival has succeeded on that front. With support from her wonderful team, the very pregnant and tireless Lipski was involved at every moment—present at every Q&A, there to introduce every film and moviemaker. Lipski and her team’s upbeat spirit were infectious; she’s a true champion for moviemakers and clearly enjoys every minute of it. That’s what makes EMIFF so special.
Aside from the delightful festival, what can go wrong when it’s in such an alluring part of
the world? As each day came to a close and the early hours of the morning quieted the city down,
I wandered the narrow, cobblestone streets, belly filled with cured meats, olives, and wine, and my mind inspired by the people I’d met and the movies I’d seen. Felicidades, EMIFF! MM
Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival 2018 ran from October 25-31, 2018. This article appears in MovieMaker’s Winter 2019 issue. Featured image: Moviemaker Hus Miller (R) and Evolution Vision Award recipient Mad Mikkelsen (L) soak in Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival 2018.