Access to media in their native language can be an important way for heritage language speakers to help keep their native language vocabulary and fluency. Iberodocs, Scotland's Ibero-American Documentary Film Festival, has been in the calendar of many native Portuguese and Spanish speakers living in Scotland over the years.

This year, for the first time, it will be running online and available across the UK and Ireland from the 19 April to 2 May. A selection of the films will also be available to watch in 22 Ibero-American countries including Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Peru and Brazil.

Bilingualism Matters is proud to support Iberodocs as a collaborator in this year’s festival. As well as providing native Portuguese and Spanish speakers in the UK and Ireland the opportunity to keep their language skills in shape, the festival gives language learners the chance to listen to Portuguese and Spanish accents from around the world in variety of contexts.

Dr Carlos Soler Montes is a lecturer in Spanish Linguistics in the Department of European Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, and Programme Director for Spanish & Portuguese in Bilingualism Matters Edinburgh :

"IberoDocs is a great opportunity for learners of Spanish and Portuguese at any level. This festival is a very unique and extremely well curated window to access the Spanish-speaking and Lusophone worlds. Participants will be able to understand and learn more about the richness and diversity of the linguistic heritage that characterises both the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. As researcher interested in the area of language variation from a pan-Hispanic and pluricentric perspective and how this variation can be dealt with by native speakers, as well as non-native users of the language, I am looking forward to being part of the audience of IberoDocs and appreciate a selection of documentary films from various perspectives – language contact and dynamics, linguistic diversity, new speakers of Spanish and Portuguese, multilingualism, etc."

The Festival, which has consistently celebrated equality, diversity and accessibility as its core values, will apply them even further when bringing this year's festival to life since all the feature-length films in the main programme will include subtitles for the deaf, and the opening film will also have an audio description available. Festival director Mar Felices:

"It's crucial to us that art remains universal so as a festival we are deeply committed to break down barriers and make it as accessible and inclusive as possible"

The two-week festival will open with the UK premiere of Maricarmen by Sergio Morkin, in partnership with Instituto Cervantes Manchester & Leeds. The film is a close-up into the life of a blind cellist as she navigates love, loss and relationships in contemporary Mexico.

As the worldwide pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of the creative arts sector as well as its invaluable contribution, this year the main programme explores Art as a Need in ten feature-length documentaries, which also challenge stereotypes surrounding society's notion of artists.

In addition to the film programme, the festival will offer a series of complementary activities such as Q&As with filmmakers and artists - BSL interpreted - and a masterclass in collaboration with Scottish Documentary by Lupe Perez Diaz, winner of new waves best director at the Seville Film Festival 2020 with her film Never Look Back.

Out of the 20 films in the programme, which are all Scottish premieres, 13 are UK premieres, three are international premieres and there is one world premiere.

Find the full programme and buy tickets (£5 full price / £3 concessions for individual films or £15 full price / £10 concessions for full programme) on the Iberodocs website.