The European Film Academy awards the Andalusian desert
the title “Treasure of European Film Culture”
European Film Academy – Link here – Berlin, 9 June 2020
Between the 1950s and 2020, more than 300 films have been shot in the Tabernas Desert in the Spanish province of Almeria. Its great natural settings are most famous for the so-called “Spaghetti Western” films of the 60s and 70s.
The central figure of this golden age of the European Western was Sergio Leone with his mythical Dollars Trilogy that brought Clint Eastwood to international fame with A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965) and THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY (1966). This was followed by Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and Edward Dmytryk’s SHALAKO (both 1968), 100 RIFLES by Tom Gries (1969), EL CONDOR by John Guillermin (1970) and RED SUN by Terence Young (1971), and many, many others, among them some from the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill saga.
The desert has also been the setting for major international productions such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962), CLEOPATRA (1963), CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982), INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) or EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (2014), as well as series such as DOCTOR WHO, BLACK MIRROR or GAME OF THRONES.
Among more recent productions are 800 BULLETS by Álex de la Iglesia (2002), Jan Kounen’s RENEGADE (2003), Philippe Haïm’s LUCKY LUKE AND THE DALTONS (2004) or Jacques Audiard’s THE SISTERS BROTHERS (2018).
On the other hand, Tabernas hosts the Almería Western Film Festival, the only one of its kind in Europe that annually gathers amateurs and professionals in relation to the Western, highlighting the environment of the desert as a cinema destination, for tourism and for the film industry.
With the title “Treasure of European Film Culture” the European Film Academy wishes to raise public awareness for places of a symbolic nature for European cinema, places of historical value that need to be maintained and protected not just now but also for generations to come.
“For us it is a great pride that the EFA distinguishes us as one of the Treasures of the European Film Culture, since it shows the extraordinary connection of our town to the history of cinema in general and to the European in particular”, indicates José Díaz, mayor of the town of Tabernas.
“This iconic location has no equal on the continent, and its contribution to world cinema has been enormous,” says EFA Chairman Mike Downey, “The European Film Academy is proud to have had a number of its contenders shot in the region, notably SEXY BEAST by Jonathan Glazer, Martin Koolhoven’s BRIMSTONE, MORVERN CALLAR by Lynne Ramsay, and BROTHERS by Susanne Bier. Long may Tabernas thrive on the world’s cinematic stage!”
The Tabernas Desert is the twelfth location to be awarded by the European Film Academy. The first 11 institutions that were adopted to be part of the “Treasures of European Film Culture” list are:
• The Bergmancenter in Fårö
• The Collegiate Church of Sant Vicenç in Cardona
• The Eisenstein Centre in Moscow
• Hovs Hallar in Skåne
• The Institut Lumière in Lyon
• The Moulin d’Andé
• The Parajanov Museum in Yerevan
• The Plaza de España in Seville
• The Potemkin Stairs in Odessa
• The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel
• The World of Tonino Guerra in Pennabilli
The list of Treasures of European Film Culture will continue to grow to over the years to include both film institutions and places that can be visited, such as the Tabernas Desert in Spain.