Below is the English translation of a brief section of Álex de la Iglesia's lengthy — and really, quite beautiful — speech at the 25th Goya Awards ceremony held earlier this evening at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
As mentioned in my previous post, de la Iglesia will be stepping down as president of the Spanish Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences following disagreements over an anti-piracy law that has pitted sections of the Spanish government and the Spanish Academy against those who see the law as an attack on the Internet itself.
De la Iglesia began his speech by reminding the crowd at the Teatro Real that they were there because a group of filmmakers joined forces — despite their differences — to create the Spanish Academy a quarter century ago, when the Spanish film industry faced a crisis as serious as the one facing it now.
Note: The text below was translated from the site publico.es. It reads like a condensed version of de la Iglesia's speech; in other words, it's not a full transcript. [Full translation at the Spanish Cinema blog Nobody Knows Anybody.]
"Twenty-five years ago, no one in our industry could have imagined that something like the Internet would have revolutionized our industry. The Internet isn't the future; it's the present and the way for hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy movies and culture. The Internet is the salvation of our cinema."
"Web surfers don't like to be called that; they're actually people, the public. The public that we have lost because they don't go to the movies anymore because they spend their time sitting in front of a computer screen. Change is needed to come up with a new model for the film business. We have a moral responsibility to the public. We make movies because citizens allow us to make them and we owe them respect and our thank you."
"I want to say goodbye in my last ceremony as president by reminding those present and the nominees that there's nothing better than to be free to create. We must be up to this privilege that society offers us. If we want them to respect us, we must respect them first. I want to say something to the next president of the Academy — and I don't know yet who that is: these have been the happiest two years of my life. I've looked at problems through other points of view and what's more important, my friends: twenty-five very good years have passed; but many more await us and I'm sure that they'll be the best."