Santi Torres: "The festival is pioneering thanks to its characteristics and to the fact that it takes the short film genre to the transport network."


This month we interview Santi Torres, TMB’s Director of Communication and Institutional Relations and Director of the TMB Foundation. We talk to him about the festival Subtravelling International Short Film Fest | Bcn-Seoul which is in its 13th edition this year.

The festival started in 2009 as the International Metro Short Film Festival. Why was it created?

The idea of the project is to enrich the client experience of public transport users. The aim is to offer cultural activities which revitalize the transport network and make it more attractive.

The festival is pioneering thanks to its characteristics and to the fact that it takes the short film genre to the transport network. It also allows audiovisual creatives to be inspired to record a short film using the locations of the underground and bus networks and spaces.

And it promotes a harmonious coexistence and citizenship in the transport facilities.

As they can view the short films on the MouTV screens, public transport users become spectators and at the same time film critics. More than two and a half million TMB users are potential spectators of the festival on these screens.


We can see the Festival on the screens of MouTV and on the festival website. What does it consist of?

Twenty international shorts from all over the world are selected by the organization of the Subtravelling festival and the SMIFF festival in Seoul, to be shown on the screens of MouTV. It’s a way of bringing the public transport user closer to this type of short audiovisual narration, with very high quality, and which often deals with topical issues. Many of the participating shorts then compete in festivals such as the Goyas.


When did you decide to take the leap to introduce the creation of shorts in the public transport network with Roda a TMB and what is the intention of this section of the festival?

From the outset the festival had two main pillars: on the one hand, screening the best international short films in our transport networks and, on the other hand, fostering creativity and helping to promote short film artistic activity among citizens, thus bringing added value to public transport, because the subject of all the shorts has to consider some aspect of public transport.


What does Roda a TMB involve?

It’s the participatory category of the festival in which you can present a short film of 3 minutes and 30 seconds on any subject, but in which some TMB transport or locations have to appear.

The winner of the best short will have the opportunity to present their short film at the twin festival, SMIFF, which is held in Seoul.


It has to be shot in the TMB facilities. What is the procedure to do this? And what requirements have to be met?

One of the opportunities that Roda a TMB provides is to be able to shoot in the TMB facilities and transport. These spaces are not usually accessible for shooting and are very appealing locations which offer very attractive settings, lighting and moments to shoot a short film.

A form has been created on the Subtravelling website to request a filming permit and thus be able to shoot at ease in the TMB location chosen.


What awards does the festival have?
The first prize consists of a trip to Seoul in Korea for two people with five nights in a hotel. And the short is presented at the SMFF festival, which takes place during the dates of the trip. The winning short will also be broadcast on the underground, bus and platform screens of MouTV and in the Curtcircuit programme of television channel 33.

The first prize also includes a year of free cinema at the Filmax Gran Vía.

The second prize also includes the broadcast of the short on MouTV and in the TV3 programme, but also a Gopro Hero 10 video camera and tripod.


You have an official jury, but the audience also acts as a jury. Do you want to encourage the participation of public transport users?

We want users, during their journey, to come a little closer to the world of the Subtravelling short films. Normally we can’t offer this type of programme in our MouTV channel, but for a few days it becomes a cinema. Public transport users are spectators of international professional short films and can moreover vote on the Subtravelling website to choose the best one. With their votes they can win cinema tickets and a year of free films in the Filmax Gran Vía.


As a new development you have introduced the Subtravelling Reels Contest. What does it consist of and why did you decide to create this new section?

The Reels category was created in 2021; this is its second year. We want to include other audiovisual expressions and we think that Instagram offers another more instant and vertical format, more accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. So we open up the festival to other audiences and creators.


Since 2016 Subtravelling has been collaborating with the Seoul Metro International Subway Film Festival (SMIFF). How did this arise and what does this collaboration consist of?

Each year the Seoul underground, in South Korea, organizes the Seoul Metro International Subway Film Festival, with which the Subtravelling festival has been associated since 2016. They are the only two short film festivals in the world in which public transport is the key player.

This collaboration helps to promote transport, international cinema and new creations, the setting being the underground network of the two cities, Seoul and Barcelona.

The International Festival allows an exchange: the 10 International short films selected by Subtravelling can be seen in Korea and those selected by SMIFF are broadcast on the screens of MouTV.


In 2020, the festival changed its name to Subtravelling XI International New Talent’s Short Film Fest BCN – SEOUL. Why this change?

After a few years consolidating the Subtravelling festival, we assessed the type of participants that we had and the shape that Subtravelling was taking. Each year we had better shorts, with higher quality, very well crafted and really professional. Well-prepared short films as regards both the script and the directing, and even animation works of art.

So we decided to adapt the name of the festival to a more international audience and with a title more specifically about new talent.


You also collaborate with the programme Curtcircuit 33. What does this collaboration involve?

Thanks to a collaboration with TV3, the 15 best shorts from Roda a TMB, including the finalists, will be broadcast in a special programme of Curtcircuit 33. This represents a unique opportunity for the participants to disseminate their films, as well as giving the festival visibility.


What is your assessment of this year’s edition?

This year’s edition is still active. The shorts participating in Roda a TMB can be sent until 30 November and the Festival will begin in December. We hope to have even more participants and spectators and to further increase the festival quality.

This year we also have a great international professional jury and the awards ceremony will be in an unsurpassable venue, the Filmax Gran Vía cinema.



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