When FIMUCITÉ announced on February 7 the dates of its 14th edition (September 18-27, 2020) with a theme centered on the world of comics (read more), surely they could not imagine that one month later, plans would change completely. And not only for the festival, but for everyone in general.
The coronavirus made a massive appearance in Europe in March, leading to the first cancellations of concerts and festivals shortly afterwards, followed by the relocation of multiple events to 2021, in the hope of having solved the problem by then.
After a few months of uncertainty, in which we did not know if the festival would be maintained or postponed for 2021, FIMUCITÉ presented on July 9 at a press conference its program (read more), respecting the dates initially planned, but making a change in its theme to focus on the music of the television series ‘La Casa de Papel/Money Heist’. The uncertainty of being able to make international trips made the festival leave the superheroes theme for another edition, and dedicate its programming to a national product giving prominence to national composers.
The main course of the festival were two symphonic concerts entitled ‘Somos La Resistencia: La Casa De Papel En Concierto / We Are The Resistance: Money Heist In Concert’, performed by the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra conducted by Diego Navarro, to be held on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th of September at the Tenerife Auditorium. These concerts would feature the presence of composers Manel Santisteban and Ivan Martinez Lacamara, as well as the singer Cecilia Krull, performing the main theme of the series ‘My life is going on’.
On successive dates, the festival announced additional information that would complete the 14th edition, such as the presence of the creator of the series Álex Pina to receive an honorary award in recognition of his professional career (read more) or the participation of the actor Pedro Alonso – Berlin (read more), as well as the celebration during the festival of the 8th edition of FIMUCINEMA (read more), the 3rd edition of the ‘Spanish Audiovisual Music Awards’ in collaboration with Musimagen (read more), or the long-awaited Fimucité Film Scoring Academy (read more), in which SoundTrackFest, as a collaborator of the festival, had the opportunity to moderate a couple of panels/conferences.
Against all odds, FIMUCITÉ was thus building a solid 14th edition, offering a set of events that, given the circumstances, had nothing to envy from other years’ editions.
A few minutes after sunset, around 20:30h, the concert “Cinemass: misa cinematográfica” took place at the ex-convent of Santo Domingo in San Cristobal de La Laguna, offering us a recital of pieces for choir that had been part of unforgettable films. The event was an original co-production of FIMUCITÉ, the Krakow Film Music Festival, and Soundtracks Live! with arrangements made expressly for this concert.
Due to the limited capacity of the venue, which was determined by the sanitary measures into force, and due to the expectation raised by this concert, there was not enough space within the ex-convent for everyone, leaving many people without their invitation and unable to enter. Fortunately, the festival organized a free live broadcast of the concert, so that all of those who could not be present had the opportunity to enjoy it in their homes.
The venue was perfectly illuminated, with tones of green, blue, and purple projecting games of lights on the silhouettes of the convent or on the trees of the patio, which helped to create an ideal atmosphere to enjoy the music. On one side of the patio, and distributed forming an ‘L’ shape, stood The Polyphonic Choir of the University of La Laguna composed of a total of 16 female voices and 10 male voices, all of them with their corresponding facemask. In front of them were their conductor Julio Chinea and the pianist Satomi Morimoto, who provided a melodic accompaniment with organ sounds to the voices of the choir, which evoked old times in this beautiful convent with more than 500 years of history.
The public was mainly distributed in the patio, seated in chairs forming small groups with the corresponding separation between them, being the rest of the assistants in a big balcony of the first floor, from which there was a wonderful whole view of all the venue.
The choir performed a magnificent interpretation of a very well selected program that contained great choral pieces of film music, with a multitude of well-known and some not-so-well-known themes, which came to life within the walls of the venue. If we had to choose some moments of the concert we could highlight the great interpretations of Band of Brothers (Michael Kamen), The Mission (Ennio Morricone), The Chorus (Bruno Coulais), or Henry V (Patrick Doyle) for example, although the whole concert was a real delight. A big success due to the program and to the location chosen, which gave a special touch to the evening.
Link to the video (1h 09m 50s):
On Friday morning, the press conference was held with the presentation of the guests and the festival. There we could find the composers Manel Santisteban and Iván Martínez Lacámara, the singer Cecilia Krull, the actor Pedro Alonso (Berlin/Money Heist), the creator and writer of the series Álex Pina, the Mayor of La Laguna Luis Yeray, and the president of the Cabildo of Tenerife Pedro Manuel Martín Domínguez, moderated by the director of Fimucité and orchestra conductor, Diego Navarro.
Among many other things, the press conference discussed how they had to change the theme of this edition of Fimucité, which was initially oriented to superheroes, to create a new concept of festival from scratch in 3 months taking as its backbone: Money Heist / We’re the Resistance. Likewise, the institutions and the sponsors/collaborators were thanked for supporting the festival in such a complex moment, in which to carry out any cultural initiative costs double or triple the effort compared to a normal moment.
Answering SoundTrackFest’s questions, Manel, Ivan, and Diego explained how was the process of condensing the music of 4 seasons of the series in a concert of over an hour, offering 4 movements with a narrative structure that tells us a story. A music that did not have a “score” version and had to be created from scratch with the invaluable help of Thomas Bryla. Álex Pina explained how music is an indispensable part of his process, both when creating a new series and providing it with identity, and also when writing the scripts and referring to the music to explain and elevate the story.
After the press conference, the first activity of the Film Scoring Academy took place in the afternoon, entitled “The Shielding of the Symphonic Umbrella”, held at 16:00h at the Teatro Leal in La Laguna, with Dario Palomo, composer and President of Musimagen, and Juan José Solana, composer and President of the SGAE Foundation. There, they discussed how being a composer not only means being an artist, but also knowing how to surround oneself with a team of collaborators and managers who ensure the stability of the project, addressing how the composer also has to become a producer and entrepreneur on many occasions if he/she wants to make his/her way in the industry, without leaving aside the applicable legal aspects.
And at night, the moment we were all waiting for arrived, the main concert of the festival ‘We Are The Resistance: Money Heist In Concert’ at the Tenerife Auditorium, which would have a second performance the following day. An auditorium that, unfortunately, had limited its capacity, offering less than a quarter of its total possible seats. A very bitter feeling on the one hand when contemplating all the empty stalls, but a happy feeling on the other hand knowing that we would be able to enjoy a symphonic concert of live television music.
The access to the main hall of the auditorium was perfectly controlled and it was done in a staggered way, inviting people to enter by blocks marked with colors, according to the rows assigned in the tickets. The only drawback was that this meant that the people who were called on the first shift had to wait almost half an hour sitting in their seats for the last shift to come in.
Slightly after 20h the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra appeared on stage (with a reduced formation of 42 musicians), which was received by a strong applause from the audience, and then the lights were turned off and the show began. A presenter and a hostess, each located on one side of the stage, exchanged a humorous dialogue pretending to be the Professor and the inspector Murillo of ‘Money Heist’, to then give way to the special award presented to Alex Pina for his entire career.
Then, Diego Navarro leaded the orchestra and the concert started with a purely instrumental version of the main theme of the series, as if we were watching the opening of another episode. The difference was that on this occasion, a mix of lights, video clips, orchestral music, and pre-recorded sounds would introduce us to the depths of the world of ‘Money Heist’ and prepare us for what was to come: a total of 4 movements, which, with a very specific musical arc, would tell us a completely descriptive story.
The first movement, ‘Breakin’ In’, was a stroke of pure energy. Action music to the frenetic rhythm of a click-track that made Diego Navarro sweat bringing rhythm to the orchestra combined together with the contributions of the rock combo, and marking the entries of the pre-recorded tracks, offering a cohesive and colorful sound, while being very powerful.
At this point we could already see the great work of sound engineering that had been prepared for the concert, where the correct balance and equilibrium of all parts, made us able to hear all the components of that complex sound puzzle without losing detail and without saturation, but at the same time, without sacrificing an ounce of intensity. This was accompanied by some fabulous arrangements and orchestrations, which enhanced the orchestra, perfectly integrating the rest of the elements that completed the final sound.
The second movement ‘All Is Lost’, began after a video clip of the series, offering a soft start with piano, strings, and ambient sounds, providing an emotional but characterful music, making us empathize with the crusade of the assailants, who found themselves at a dead end when their chances of success were jeopardized. At the end of the movement, the composer Ivan Martínez Lacámara played the piano to carry the weight of the theme dedicated to the Professor and to Lisboa (ex-inspector Murillo at this time).
A new video of the series gave way to the third movement ‘The Heist’ which began with the rhythm of a funny and playful tango, to move on to a tense, action-packed music, with many reminiscences of the style marked by ‘Ocean’s Eleven’. And as a result we reached the fourth and last movement, ‘Resurgence’, the climax and sonic resolution of the concert, where the music made us rejoice for the success of the resistance, and led us to the end closing the concert as it began: with the piece ‘My Life is Going On’.
A theme that this time was offered to us first in a more intimate version, with the composer Manel Santisteban at the piano and the actor Pedro Alonso/Berlin adding his broken and characteristic voice, followed by a new interpretation with the intense voice of Cecilia Krull and all the orchestral power of the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra led by Diego Navarro.
A big applause from the public, grateful for a spectacular evening, gave way to a theme that could not be missed as an encore, a theme that, with the permission of the opening, has become the anthem of the series: ‘Bella Ciao’, having the voices of Fran Leon (rightly dressed as ‘The Professor’), Pedro Alonso, and Cecilia Krull, who were instantly joined by the voices of the audience.
And so, after an hour and a half of music, a wonderful concert ended where a committed Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, under the frenetic and precise baton of Diego Navarro, offered us a perfect mix of symphonic music, rock combo, and pre-recorded sounds. A superlative work of arrangements and orchestration (let’s not forget that the whole concert had been created from scratch, since there were no orchestral scores available), and a work of sound engineering as we have rarely seen, where the multiple and complex parts of the sound puzzle, were perfectly balanced and enhanced at every moment, despite being a concert that constantly changed the musical register of what we were listening to.
FIMUCITÉ managed to turn a television series into a movie, telling us a self-concluding musical story of 4 acts that were as varied as they were interesting, as complex as they were brilliantly performed, and as descriptive as they were musically perfect.
The videos that were projected on the big screen were minimal, being reduced to brief introductions at the beginning of each act, complemented by live images of the musicians, the orchestra or the conductor in action.
But having videos from the series was not really necessary, because the ENTIRE audience of the Tenerife Auditorum LISTENED to a movie. They didn’t need to see it. A movie that does not exist (yet), about Money Heist. A spectacular and innovative concert, which could very well start a world tour at any time.
The day started early, at 11:30h at Teatro Leal in La Laguna, with a new Film Scoring Academy panel entitled “Sound Architecture in the Television Environment” with guest composers Manel Santisteban and Iván Martínez Lacámara moderated by Gorka Oteiza/SoundTrackFest.
The tandem Manel-Ivan, who has been composing music for television for more than 20 years, spoke, among many other things, about how they met, how were their first works together, and how they organize to compose and share the music for the different projects in which they participate. In addition, Manel Santisteban used the piano in the room to perform the main theme of ‘Money Heist’ and give some guidelines on how it was created.
A break for lunch and at 15:30h was time for the second and final panel of the Film Scoring Academy talking about “Musical dialects and languages. Variations according to genres” with the winning composers in the ‘Spanish Audiovisual Music Awards’ Xavier Capellas and Vicente Miras Pascual moderated by Gorka Oteiza/SoundTrackFest
In the panel they talked about the different forms of musical expression in the sound areas in which each one of them work, and also gave some insight information about their award-winning works in the categories of Best Electroacoustic Music and Best Music for Advertising, respectively.
A little bit later, at 20h, the second performance of the concert ‘We Are The Resistance: Money Heist In Concert’ took place, identical to the one of the previous day, except that at the beginning we could find a block dedicated to present the ‘Spanish Audiovisual Music Awards’ as well as to perform a suite of the winning scores (read more).
It is worth mentioning that in a second listening of the concert, you could appreciate additional details that perhaps the day before had gone unnoticed under such a conjunction of stimuli, and that gave even more value to the spectacular sound engineering performed, in order to balance and equilibrate the orchestra, soloist voices, pre-recorded sounds and the rock combo that we could enjoy on stage.
And just like the day before, the concert ended with the whole audience chanting the ‘Bella Ciao’ in a new display of musical resistance, showing that there is a need and a big desire for live cultural events. A great end for a wonderful 14th edition of FIMUCITÉ.
Despite having to endure the effects of a pandemic to organize the festival, the team of FIMUCITÉ has offered us in 2020 a very complete edition both in content and in quality, showing that if you put effort and love, you can create safe places to enjoy art and culture, and also obtain fantastic results.
The festival provided us with everything we had in previous editions: multiple concerts (a total of six, two of them symphonic), master classes with the Film Scoring Academy, the FIMUCINEMA competition section, and the presentation of the ‘Spanish Audiovisual Music Awards’, with a good number of guest composers and artists being part of the festival.
With the resilience that has always characterized the festival, FIMUCITÉ didn’t want to let 2020 slip by without celebrating a phenomenal 14th birthday, proudly carrying the banner of resistance, against all odds.
Article and pictures by Gorka Oteiza
Film Scoring Academy pictures – Aaron S. Ramos/Fimucité
[FESTIVAL PICTURES – Gorka Oteiza]
[FILM SCORING ACADEMY PICTGRES – Aaron S. Ramos/Fimucité]