The fourth edition of IberoDocs, the first showcase for Ibero-American culture in Scotland, focused on documentary films by Spanish, Portuguese and Latin-American filmmakers, is back on May 10-14. The new edition of the festival, in collaboration with Scottish Documentary Institute, will introduce a masterclass with the master of documentaries Ricardo Íscar on Friday 12th May at Edinburgh College of Art. The filmmaker will shed light on his techniques, revealing how the fixed shot can be the art of narration. The capital of Scotland will be observed in a way it has never been before by the gaze of Salamanca.
It was January 1961. In western Spain, the frozen capital of the Tormes river had been turned white by ice. Suddenly, a loud cry broke the silence. His name was Ricardo. Salamanca had witnessed his birth. This city never gets involved in anything – in just the same way he will shoot his documentaries many years later. Unexpectedly, Salamanca made him a messenger who bears signs of a traveller. This is the price you pay for belonging to a provincial town. Salamanca is defined by watching, in silence and, undaunted, the future of its people. It is an eternal cradle and an occasional grave, at the same time. It seems that it is doomed to scatter its seeds around the world while losing its population every year.
Unconsciously, Ricardo Íscar learned his trade from his hometown, a dark art that he practises with mastery. His name is synonymous with observing; with images and sounds which are interwoven to produce different meanings. He is documentary in its purest form as it seems he is stitching celluloid in an artisan way. Bill Nichols’s observational mode is rooted in him and Iscar knows how to show it in his filmography. His films are able to show reality spontaneously, directly, without filters. He has a special stamp: the gaze of Salamanca.
Many things have occurred since Ricardo Íscar finished Film Studies in Complutense University of Madrid at the end of 1980s. It was the same situation as when he had left Salamanca to study in the capital city: Ricardo again packed his twenty-six years into a suitcase and flew to Berlin chasing a dream – an adventure – in the last moments of the Cold War. There, he graduated in Film Direction from the German Film and Television Academy and he lived in Germany for ten years. Since 1998, after releasing his opera prima ‘Baüme’, Ricardo Iscar has performed his role as a messenger by revealing hidden realities, such as the ones occurring in Salamanca. According to his films, these realities lie dormant, they are waiting to be discovered. That is why Iscar builds windows through his documentaries: They are made to let the audience glimpse through and draw their own conclusions.
Now, Ricardo is combining his career as filmmaker with his job as a lecturer at Pompeu Fabra University. His extensive filmography has gained him distinctions at festivals such as Berlin, BAFICI, Malaga and Kiev. He was also on the Jury at several festivals – such as the documentary section in Malaga’s Spanish Film Festival, for the newcomers in Nyon Festival or in the short animation area in Dresden’s International Short Film and Animation Festival. He has coordinated different production workshops in Spain and Uruguay as well. Ricardo Íscar has also worked in Photography, Sound and Montage for films by other directors. Highlights of his career include documentaries such ‘A la orilla del río’, ‘Badu. Historias del desierto del Negev’, ‘La Punta del Moral’, ‘El Cerco’, ‘Tierra Negra’, and ‘El Foso’.
IberoDocs has already shown Ricardo Íscar’s work three years ago, in our first edition. The chosen title was ‘The Pit’, a documentary which dazzled Filmhouse’s audience thanks to a story about the orchestra in Barcelona’s opera house – The Liceu. But Edinburgh wanted more, that was not enough. The city is still eager to observe more of Íscar’s moving canvasses, carefully, paying attention to every detail. Thus, the new edition of IberDocs, in collaboration with Scottish Documentary Institute, are pleased to introduce a masterclass with this master of documentaries. On Friday 12th May, Ricardo Íscar will be at the College of Art ready to reveal his secrets to everybody. He will shed light on his techniques, revealing how the fixed shot can be the art of narration. In other words, the capital of Scotland will be observed in a way it has never been before: by the gaze of Salamanca.
After the Masterclass, it will the Filmhouse’s turn to witness Ricardo Iscar’s work , just as it did four years ago. IberDocs will show some of his most important documentaries and each film will be followed by a Q&A session with the participation of Iscar himself. Edinburgh and Iberoamerican documentary will go hand in hand as never before.
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This article was originally published in IberoDocs website. In the image of the cover is the city Salamanca covered with a thick layer of snow.