When he was appointed Curtocircuíto’s new artistic director in 2013, Pela del Álamo had literally weeks to knock its 10th edition into shape. The resulting festival, which takes place each year in Santiago de Compostela, the historic pilgrimage city in Galicia, was understandably limited in scope. But its lineup belied the resources with which del Álamo and his close-knit team had put things into place, demonstrating a canny knack for curating thematically coherent shorts programs that emphasized quality over quantity.
Last year, del Álamo and company, working a kind of guerilla operation, moved the festival from December to October, and built on prior achievements with a more ambitious program that included a retrospective of works by Mike Hoolboom, the Canadian avant-garde filmmaker. This year, the festival’s ever-expanding roster of international guests featured two veteran directors, whose work del Álamo has long dreamed of programming: Denmark’s Jørgen Leth, and Finland’s Aki Kaurismäki. With both of these charming, generous directors present in the city where Buñuel made The Milky Way, the international, cinephilic ambitions of this finely organized, seriously minded annual showcase of short films seemed entirely vindicated.