The $1.76m (Euros 1.3m) event, which will run from March 28 to April 5, 2008, will limit its programme to 20 films from around the world - premieres only - in an effort differentiate itself from the many other festivals around Spain, from Malaga and Valladolid to San Sebastian.
Organisers also plan to offer prizes for wardrobe design, artistic direction, editing and other areas often neglected by other festivals.
'We don't want it to be a mere show of glamour,' said Spanish director Maria de Kannon Cle, a spokeswoman for the CIM & ART Foundation, at the official presentation of the festival yesterday in Madrid. 'There are people who don't care as much about celebrities as about the quality of cinema and the professionals who make it.'
De Kannon, who is working on her first film, My Sweet Stranger, starring Michael Madsen, was accompanied at the festival presentation by a spattering of Spanish icons, including Almodovar muse Angela Molina, directors Fernando Colomo and Antonio Hernandez, fashion designers Modesto Lomba and Antonio Pernas and the producer Teddy Villalba.
De Kannon said that festival jury and film selection committee will be rigorous and will include international names such as Albert Dupontel, Itsa Gabor and possibly Nick Nolte.
Pedro Almodovar, who has often filmed in Madrid, did not attend the official presentation but has lent his moral support, De Kannon said. 'He knows the project very well and he is happy about,' she said. 'He told me personally that Madrid deserves its own festival.'
The festival budget itself will be paid for by contributions of actors and directors in the Spanish foundation. Organisers are still seeking sponsors for prize money for the competition.
They also hope to catch the momentum started by the Spanish Film Screenings of Madrid, held in June. The mini-market in feature films moved last year from Lanzarote to the Spanish capital, a more accessible location for international travelers. The new film festival will not have its own market component.