The Usina de Guiones Breves UGBB is the first international programme for writing short films in Spanish at the Cervantes Institute in Berlin. It offers Spanish-speaking authors from all over the world the opportunity to work intensively on the development of their projects in space for creation, reflection and exchange for five months, from May to September, in an environment designed to foster professional collaboration and the development of quality scripts.
Together with María Meira, the Usina selects up to nine projects each year, which are developed from their embryonic phase in two stages of work, one online and the other in person.
In the first stage – between May and August – each participant elaborates and deepens their initial idea through argumental, aesthetic and thematic research with personalised tutorials and online masterclasses.
In the second stage – in September – the participants meet for two intensive days at the Instituto Cervantes in Berlin to share, analyse and reflect on their projects already in an advanced stage, enriching them even more through the exchange of ideas and perspectives, as well as fostering links between the participants with the aim of generating new avenues of collaboration.
In October, at the end of the programme, a Jury of specialists awards one of the resulting scripts, which receives support for its realisation in the city of Berlin.
At the Usina, we believe that the encounter between authors from different backgrounds who share a sensitive and reflexive creative process allows new ways of writing films to emerge. That is why we trust that this will be the starting point of a thriving universe of gazes, voices and stories, a true powerhouse of Spanish-speaking audiovisual creation in Berlin.
History of ugbb
The Usina was born out of the intensive workshops that María Meira has given every autumn since 2015 at the Cervantes Institute in Berlin. Those first workshops offered the city’s Spanish-speaking community the opportunity to learn and exercise basic audiovisual fiction writing tools in our language: Spanish.
Encouraged by the success of the workshop, at the beginning of 2020, when nobody could still imagine the pandemic, we launched the first edition of the Usina, with the aim of expanding the proposal to Spanish speakers from all over the world, providing advanced writing tools for those seeking a platform of international level where to develop their projects over several months, adding an intensive exchange experience in the city of Berlin. From Berlin to the world and with the focus on bringing together and promoting diversity, the Usina has already been running for two editions and is going for its third in 2022.
María writes films and series, is a teacher and script doctor. Co-author of Una especie de familia (Best Screenplay at the San Sebastian Festival), Refugiado (Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival), La mirada invisible (NHK Award for Best Latin American Screenplay at Sundance) and Tan de Repente (Best Screenplay at Huelva), co-written and directed by Diego Lerman. For her work in film, she has also received the Sur, Cóndor de Plata and Argentores awards. Born in Buenos Aires, she graduated in dramaturgy from the Escuela Metropolitana de Arte Dramático and in film directing from the Escuela Nacional de Experimentación y Realización Cinematográfica in her native country. She has been a consultant for the Fondo de Desarrollo Cinematográfico Proimágenes in Colombia and for the Reymundo Gleyzer first and second film development programme in Argentina. Since 2015 she has been giving scriptwriting seminars at the Cervantes Institute, where she created UGBB in 2020, the city’s first international short film writing programme in Spanish.
Marcela graduated in Image and Sound Design at the University of Buenos Aires and holds a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Westminster in London. She was born in Buenos Aires and has been living in Berlin since 1996 where she works for the German channel Deutsche Welle TV. First as a picture editor for the daily news programme and since 2009 also for the Design department doing Motion Graphics. As a producer she worked for KINO – DW’s German Film Magazine, Enlaces, Ventana abierta al mundo digital and Reporteros en el Mundo, the channel’s Spanish-language magazine. Since September 2020 she programmes film events at Andenbuch, Berlin’s bookshop and cultural space, and does press and promotion for cultural projects such as EsImprocine and ugbb.
Catalina Flórez is a filmmaker, journalist and one of the founders of Soilfilms, a production company based in Berlin. She studied Film and Media in Germany with an MA in Documentary Filmmaking at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy and in Cuba at the Escuela Internacional de Cine de San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV). She coordinates the mentoring programme for young female filmmakers «Into The Wild» initiated by German director Isabell Šuba, in collaboration with NETFLIX, Soilfilms, Bavaria Film, Ufa Fiction, Constantin Film, Pantaleon Films, Warner Bros, X Filme, Weltkino and MadeFor. He lives between Germany and Colombia, where he works in the film industry. Since 2021, she has joined ugbb as a production mentor.