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Elías Querejeta, one Spain’s most influential film producers, is largely unknown abroad - unlike some of his films, which premiered at international festivals and often won awards. Highly regarded in Germany are above all his collaborations with director Carlos Saura, such as La caza and Cría cuervos.

In addition to his work as a producer, Elías Querejeta has co-written no fewer than 22 films. In the early 1960s, he gathered like-minded people around him with whom he founded a production company that went down in Spanish film history as the Factoría Querejeta (the Querejeta Factory). Thanks in no small part to the support of José María Garcia Escudero, the progressive film consultant at the Spanish Ministry of Information,  the Factoría Querejeta had a significant influence on the development of the Spanish New Wave.

Despite obstacles put in his way by authorities, Querejeta succeeded in producing critical and aesthetically unusual films. These films, many exhibiting the influence of Italian Neorealism, differ significantly from the conventional comedic and folkloric cinema of the time. Recurring themes are religion and the military, whose values and power structures become visible in interpersonal relationships, family life, and the workings of social institutions.

Querejeta also had to repeatedly defend himself against censorship, sometimes preferring to refrain from submitting his films to festivals  rather than cut out objectionable scenes.

The retrospective La Factoría Querejeta, curated by Petra Palmer and organized in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy and the Instituto Cervantes, brings together a selection of works that are significant in this context. As we were unable to finish the retrospective in March 2020 due to the Covid-related closure of the Zeughauskino, we are now continuing the film series. (Petra Palmer)

We thank the film subtitling workshop of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf for their support.