Now in its twenty-second edition, the Malaga Festival of Film in Spanish can hardly compete for cultural capital with Spain's renowned San Sebastián Film Festival or, for that matter, with its long-standing counterparts in Valladolid, Seville, or Gijón. As the only major forum of its kind dedicated to Spanish cinema and, since 2016, to cinema in Spanish, the Malaga Film Festival nevertheless occupies a unique place in the national film landscape and consciousness. Culture has been central to the recent makeover of the Andalusian city, the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas. Festival organisers face the challenge of pleasing diverse stakeholders, combing the glamour of the red carpet with securing the best titles. Duncan Wheeler (University of Leeds) attended the Festival in March this year to explore how and why the dynamics at play offer a snapshot of the past, present, and future of Spanish audiovisual production.

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