LA OLA 4th Annual Film Showcase Kicks Off on May 31

The annual showcase of Spanish Independent films celebrates its 4th edition in Los Angeles, New York and Mexico City from May 31 to June 17


LA OLA – Independent Films from Spain, is an annual showcase of the best independent contemporary cinema from Spain, offering a curated selection of critically acclaimed films in Los Angeles, New York and Mexico City. 

The 4th Edition of LA OLA will take place from May 31 to June 17 in selected theaters. 

The showcase is designed to support the international visibility of new Spanish cinema, rarely distributed through mainstream commercial channels. 

The Spanish filmmaking scene is emerging as one of the most fertile and successful in Europe, with a new generation of Spanish filmmakers who are winning great acclaim at prestigious international film festivals (such as Locarno, Berlinale, Rotterdam or Cannes). LA OLA represents a rare opportunity to see these internationally awarded films in three of the world's cultural capitals. 

This is a not-to-be-missed event for devotees of contemporary international cinema and a pivotal cultural meeting point for two continents.

LA OLA | L.A. offers a four-day program running from May 31 to June 3 at the Egyptian Theatre, The Montalban Rooftop and The Echo Park Film Center. 

The film showcase continues with LA OLA | C.D.M.X., from June 8 to June 10 at the Mexican National Cinematheque. 

The last stop of the 2018 edition is LA OLA | N.Y.C., from June 15 to June 17 at the Anthology Film Archives.

LA OLA’s main program is comprised of 8 Spanish hand-selected films (4 features and 4 shorts) from 2017 and 2018, most of them premiering on the cities were they play.

The feature selected for LA OLA closing night in each city is the hypnotic :The Sea Stares at us from Afar," the successful directorial debut of Manuel Muñoz Rivas, an experienced film Editor of some of the most representative pieces of the "Spanish New Wave." 

Similarly, "Niñato" is Adrian Orr’s first feature film as a director after a remarkable career as an Assistant Director. 

Elena Martin is also a first-time-director. 

Two years ago she surprised audiences with her debut as an actress, and now, at the age of 25, she premiers "Julia Ist" proving her unique abilities as a director. 

Last but not least, “Donkeyote” an unforgettable documentary by Chico Pereira, starring a man and his donkey.

In the short films category we can find "The Disinherited" by Laura Ferrés, awarded at Cannes Semaine de la Critique for Best Short Film; "Aliens" by Luis López Carrasco; selected in Locarno Film Festival; "Santa Ana" by César Pesquera, SXSW and Slamdance; and Toronto official selection "Quiasma" by Tono Mejuto.

Guest filmmakers from Spain will be in attendance in all three cities, presenting Q&A sessions after their respective films:
  • LA OLA | L.A. – Elena Martin (‘Júlia Ist’) & Manuel Muñoz (‘The Sea Stares at us from Afar’)
  • LA OLA | C.D.M.X. – Adrian Orr (‘Niñato’) & Laura Ferrés (‘The Disinherited’)
  • LA OLA | N.Y.C. – Adrian Orr (‘Niñato’), Manuel Muñoz (‘The Sea Stares at us from Afar’) & Elena Martin, Marta Cruañas and Pol Rebaque (‘Júlia Ist’)
In addition to the screenings and Q&As, LA OLA offers other activities. 

The festival will host a daytime panel discussion titled “Making the Invisible Visible: financing and Distributing Projects About Underrepresented Realities” featuring representatives from Outfest and Revry, among other organizations. 

Along with evening receptions and expanded events like masterclasses. 

The Calart's professor Clara López Menéndez will talk about the “History of Queer Cinema in Spain,” followed by the screening of Ventura Pons' 1978 "Ocaña. An Intermittent Portrait." 

The director Laura Ferrés will deliver a masterclass at the Spanish Cultural Center in México addressing her Cannes experience and the process of creating her awarded short film.

LA OLA – Independent Films from Spain is a project of La Panda Productions, Playtime Audiovisuales, and Rocío Mesa, in partnership with Spain Fresh; with the principal support of Acción cultural Española AC/E, SPAIN Arts & Culture, Embassy of Spain in Mexico and ELMA; co-presented in partnership with MUBI and Curtocircuito; with the support of the Trade Commission of Spain in Los Angeles, Consulate General of Spain in Los Angeles & New York, Embassy of Spain in the United States, The American Cinematheque and Los Angeles Filmforum; with the fiscal sponsorship of The Film Collaborative; in collaboration with The Egyptian Theatre, The Montalban Rooftop Cinema Club, The Echo Park Film Center, the Anthology Film Archives and Cineteca Nacional de Mexico; sponsored by Cervezas Alhambra; with the media sponsorship of Institut Ramon Llull, FICUNAM, Cinema 23, Premios Fenix and Q Youth Foundation. LA OLA is proud to work with all these organizations.
  • LA OLA | LA – May 31st to June 3 - Egyptian Theater, The Montalban Rooftop and The Echo Park Film Center
  • LA OLA | CDMX – June 8 to June 10 - Cineteca Nacional de México
  • LA OLA | NYC – June 15 to June 17 - Anthology Film Archives
LA OLA 2018 film program


Manuel Muñoz (Q&A in person!) 2017, 92 min, digital. In Spanish with English subtitles.
The legend of an ancient and forgotten civilization lies buried beneath a large expanse of dunes. For more than a century, certain travelers have reached this remote and desolate territory looking for the traces of ancient inhabitants, the ruins of a city, or perhaps a sort of lost utopia. Ignorant of these myths and the romantic delusions of archaeologists and adventurers, a few men, barely visible among the sands, today inhabit in solitude that place facing the sea. ‘The Sea Stares at Us From Afar’ premiered at Berlinale Forum in 2017 and won the Best Documentary award at Tolouse Spanish Film Festival, the Best Feature Film award at L’Alternativa Film Festival in Barcelona and the De Luxe Award at Sevilla Film Festival.

NIÑATO – US Premiere
Adrián Orr 2017, 72 min, digital. In Spanish with English subtitles.

David, aka “Niñato,” a young, unemployed single father and occasional rapper, lives with his parents, his child, his sister, and his niece. In the midst of this rather peculiar family life, he tries to preserve a few minutes for himself and his passion for rhyme and music. David’s dedication to keeping his dream alive reinforces his concern with the education of the children, especially the youngest, Oro. Little by little, Oro’s growing confidence and his father’s passion seem to reinforce each other in mutual harmony, and we sense that David has succeeded in passing on what Oro needs to find his own way in life. ‘Niñato’ won the Best Documentary award at BAFICI in Buenos Aires, the Jury Award at Visions Du Réel (Switzerland), and has been recognized with a nomination for the Fénix Awards, among more prizes at Sevilla Film Festival, Quito Film Festival and Sarajevo Film Festival.

JÚLIA IST – LA & NYC Premiere
Elena Martín (Q&A in person) 2017, 90 min, digital. In German and Catalan with English subtitles.

Julia decides to leave Barcelona to study in Berlin. She leaves her home for the first time, ready for an adventure. The city, cold and gray, gives her an icier welcome than she expected. Júlia confronts her expectations with the harsh reality: her new life seems to be far from the one she imagined in the classrooms of Barcelona. This film premiered at Málaga Spanish Film Festival 2017, earning awards for Best Film and Best Director in the Zonalibre section, and it has been part of the official selection of San Sebastián Film Festival, SEMINCI at Valladolid and CinemaJove in Spain, etc.

Chico Pereira 2017, 86 min, digital. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Manolo, who leads a simple life in Southern Spain, loves two things: his animals and wandering through nature. Against the advice of his doctor, he decides to plan one last trek in the U.S., the brutal 2,200-mile Trail of Tears, but not without his donkey. As their adventure continues, Manolo’s wondrous friendship with his animal finds a beautiful equilibrium. Will they find the American West? More importantly, will they be able to see life as it is, and not as it should be? The film has been recognized by the International Documentary Association (IDA) with a Best Script award, the Jury Award at Docs México, the Audience award at Málaga Spanish Film Festival and has been part of the official selection of Rotterdam Film Festival, among many others.


Laura Ferrés, 2017, 18 min, digital. In Catalan and Spanish with English subtitles.

A portrait of the director’s father as he faces the end of his family business. Pere Ferrés is 53 years old and owns a small bus company. His straitened circumstances force him to drive drunken bachelor-party-bound revelers who destroy his vehicle, but he is not prepared to lose his dignity. 56º Semaine de la Critique - Cannes (France): Best Short Film, Spanish Academy Award: Best Short Film (2017), among many others.

ALIENS Mexico Premiere
Luis López Carrasco, 2017, 23 min, digital. In Spanish with English subtitles.

An alien is a foreigner, an outcast, and, in popular culture, an inhabitant from another planet. Tesa Arranz, a key figure in the 1980s Madrid scene and the lead singer of the Zombies, has painted over 500 portraits of outer-space creatures. Confronting the singer’s paintings with the memories of her youth, her poems and diaries, ALIENS depicts an emotional landscape in Spanish history where happiness, nightmarish experimentations, and alienation walked hand-in-hand. Official Selection at Locarno Film Festival 2017, Toronto International Film Festival 2017, New York Film Festival 2017 and others.

César Pesquera, 2017, 8 min, digital. In English.

Part art film, part documentary, SANTA ANA aims to elucidate the link between evil and the famed Santa Ana winds in Southern California, which are supposedly responsible for a tense, uneasy, wrathful mood among the people of Los Angeles. Official selection at Raindance 2017, BFI London Film Festival 2017, Slamdance 2018, SXSW 2018, etc.

Tono Mejuto, 2018, 12 min, digital, b&w.

A dance film that captures the research and choreographic process of Javier Martín for his work ‘the exform,’ performed for the first time in September 2016 at the Teatro Colón of A Coruña, Spain. Filmed on 16mm, QUIASMA explores the intersection between performing and visual arts in a context of collective research around the arts of movement. Play-Doc 2017, Filmadrid 2017, Fiva Almagro 2017 and Curtocircuíto 2017, among many others.