How Sandra Lipski built the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival


A little over ten years ago, Sandra Lipski was a Berlin-based actress-filmmaker based in Los Angeles who decided to submit her film to a festival in Mallorca, the beautiful Spanish island where she spent much of her youth.

There was only one problem: Mallorca didn’t have a film festival.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she recalls. “In California, I felt like every street corner had its own festival.”

It therefore launched the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival, which this year marks its 10th anniversary from October 27 to November 2. Its slogan is Bridging Cultures-Bridging People, and Lipski’s own cosmopolitan past is reflected in truly global programming. The most famous films of the last year have come from countries as far away as Germany, Jordan, Iran, Greece, Turkey, El Salvador, the United States and, of course, Mallorca.

“Mallorca is such an international island and you can reach it so easily,” she said in the last Filmmaker podcast, which you can check out on Apple or Spotify or higher. “If everyone hasn’t been here, they’ve at least heard of it.”

The reputation and location of the festival strongly attracts guests including Ana de Armas, Danny DeVito, Mads Mikkelsen and Melissa Leo. This year, the festival will present German filmmaker Wim Wenders with its Evolutionary Honorary Award.

Lipski makes it a point of honor to host an Oscar winner at each edition of the festival. And the intimate feel and relaxed atmosphere helps guests actually participate, rather than posing for a few photos and rushing around.

She was especially thrilled when Oscar winner Leo came to the festival’s theater workshops and when DeVito, who was receiving an honorary award and presenting his 2016 short film “Curmudgeons”, watched all the other films in the festival. short film. block and join a panel thereafter. Begging for screenings never crossed her mind, she said.

The Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival 2019. Photo by Silvia Acedo. Main image (above): Sandra Lipski, Melissa Leo and Mads Mikkelsen at the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival in 2018.

“Danny said, ‘Are you kidding me? When does the block start? Give me a popcorn and a Diet Coke! ‘ She laughs.

To kick off the festival, she hired a childhood friend born in Mallorca, Pau Vich Salas, a globetrotter with a solid background in business and marketing who, laughs Lipski, “tells me what I can and can’t. do “financially. He is the executive director of the festival, and Lipski is the director as well as the founder. The very international team of the festival also includes Bianca Valencia, originally from Los Angeles, the feature film programmer.

Mallorca, the largest of the Mediterranean Balearic Islands, which also includes Ibiza, is a particularly popular destination with German and British tourists, drawn by its pristine beaches, the stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and breathtaking sites. like Bellver Castle, which dates back to 1311. Lipski hosted the festival in person last year, taking in some great outdoor venues in Palma, the main city. She banned food and drink, kept everyone masked and social distanced, and hosted a successful event where everyone returned home healthy.

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The festival pays close attention to every film that comes in, and Lipski has used her experience as a festival director and filmmaker – she recently shot a short film with her daughter and her cinematographer husband – to help out. other filmmakers to figure out how to navigate the festival circuit. Through the Festival Key (thefestivalkey.com), she does strategy for filmmakers and advice for festivals.

“All of my filmmaker friends ask me a lot of questions about the submission, and I was like, wait, if you have these questions, a lot more people have these questions,” she says.

So she helps these people build bridges, because that’s what Sandra Lipski does.

Main picture: Sandra Lipski at the Evolution Mallorca Film Festival with Melissa Leo and Mads Mikkelsen.


Darcy J. Skinner

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