Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Almeria Western Film Festival “Spirit Award” announced

 Paco Ardura and José Luis Galicia, Desierto de Tabernas de Almería Western Film Festival 2023 “Spirit Award”

La Abadia de Berzano

By Cerebrin

September 9, 2023

The organization of the Almería Western Film Festival (AWFF) has revealed that the Desierto de Tabernas award of its thirteenth edition will be for two legendary professionals who have participated in countless shootings in Almeria territory. The festival unfolds this award that will be delivered to Paco Ardura, coordinator of semovantes; and José Luis Galicia, production designer. Both professionals exceed nine decades and AWFF wants to value their professional career, linked to Tabernas and its desert.

Paco Ardura (Madrid, 1933) is a legend of the seventh art, with a life dedicated to supplying horses and carriages to thousands of productions. Through his company "Animales y carruajes" (Animals and Carriages) he’s provided horses, carts and stagecoaches to hundreds of films for five decades. Also linked for years to the Fort Bravo/Texas Hollywood sets, his collection today reaches 2,000 saddles and more than 200 carriages from all eras.

Mel Gibson in “Braveheart”, Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Conan the Barbarian” or Sylvester Stallone in “Rambo” are just some examples of the great stars who have ridden their horses. From Leone's westerns to the epic “Cleopatra” through “800 Bullets” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, are just some of the most important titles shot in Almeria that have had Ardura as horse master.

For his part, José Luis Galicia (Madrid, 1930), production designer, is a living celebrity of art and cinema. As a painter his works hang in the Reina Sofía Museum and his are the ceilings and dome of the Almudena Cathedral. A close friend of Pablo Picasso, sculptor and poet, this versatile Madrid native is also responsible for the artistic direction and sets of almost 200 films, including some of the best European westerns ever made.

At 93 years of age, Jose Luis Galicia will not be able to attend the festival in person. However, the delivery of his statuette has recently been made at his home in Madrid and can be seen during the festival in a tribute video that collects the moment along with an interview conducted by director Víctor Matellano, Almeria Wester Film Festival "Spirit of the West" award last year.

Together with Jaime Pérez Cubero, Galicia was in charge of the construction in 1962 of the first stable western settlement in Spain. But it was not built in Almería but in Hoyo de Manzanares (Madrid). And it would be there, in Golden City, where he would shoot two years later that co-production with Italy the low budget film that would change everything forever: “A Fistful of Dollars” by Sergio Leone. From Galicia is also the fort of “7 from Texas”, Before comes death, the widows ranch of “The Big Gundown” and the main sets of “Bad Man’s River” “The Legend of Frenchie King” and “Cut-Throats Nine”.

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