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The bad family: A group of friends divided by jail open up in film | Culture

Short sentences have a cost. A large part of the veteran prisoners segregates the new inmate, whom the officials also inherently distrust. The newcomer becomes the focus of intense scrutiny: why does he have trouble sleeping? Is there a reason to keep his cell so clean and tidy? Did he skip dessert at lunch, again? Meanwhile, long-term inmates pull rank and are not subjected to this kind of inspection. At least this is what Andrés P. Gómez, 28, concluded after his time at the Villabona Penitentiary Center in Asturias, Spain, where he was locked up for three months. By then, he was already preparing a documentary about the deep mark that prison had left on him and his group of friends. The result is titled La mala familia (The bad family), directed by Nacho A. Villar and Luis Rojo.

The film, which will be available on Netflix in a few months, is an urgent documentary about six working-class boys who face the legal consequences of a brawl. One night of alcohol and testosterone in the center of Madrid, things turned ugly. Six years later they all face prison terms, although initially only Gómez will serve time; the incarceration of the others depends on them paying a fine of €330 (about $360) a month for two years. Failure to pay, even once, would put their freedom at risk. Doubt undermines their friendship. Narrated from a place of absolute honesty, the film opens with Gómez pleading guilty before the judge, full of regret. Today he has rebuilt his life and works as a delivery person. “I accept my sentence, but if I feel freed it is not because of jail, but because of the movie,” he says.

Directors Nacho A. Villar (left) and Luis Rojo at the gates of the Román Valero de Usera stadium, in Madrid.
Directors Nacho A. Villar (left) and Luis Rojo at the gates of the Román Valero de Usera stadium, in Madrid.Claudio Álvarez

Gómez was arrested in Asturias, still wearing his work overalls; he barely had time to notify his sentimental partner. “The episode had occurred when I was 18. When I was thrown into jail I was already more organized, more focused. It was a blow. Until then I had been deceiving myself, telling me that the day would never come,” he relates. He served a sentence in the Therapeutic and Educational Unit of the Villabona prison, where receiving visits and sending letters are limited to two or three people per inmate. The toilets in the unit can only be used for 10 minutes; after that time, the person in charge usually goes to take a look, in order to avoid drug use. The time limits and the enormous weight of the routine pierced Gómez’s chest. “I was so overwhelmed that I thought about ending it all,” he confesses. Until he was released with parole, largely thanks to the documentary.

The directors had worked hard to defend the social nature of the project, which redeemed its protagonists. “That was the support that we could offer him from our privilege,” says Villar. “It must be noted that it was an exception; most of the prisoners with sentences of less than one year have to stick it out.” The shooting crew set up shop two weeks before Gómez’s first leave in a marsh on the outskirts of Madrid. The idea was to bring together the entire Bad Family, as they call themselves since their teenage years, when they met at urban music concerts, squares south of the city and skate parks. Rojo points out: “This story was best told in the field, without towers or graffiti to camouflage the character. The neighborhood is not a set; it’s something you carry with you.”

“We wanted them to get out of the pressure zones, their everyday zones, to connect with their emotions,” adds the filmmaker. A total of 19 young people camped there, including the defendants, all waiting for Gómez’s visit. The camera witnessed conversations and hugs without intervening in any way. However, there was a script with some topics that had been agreed upon in advance; the matter of the consequences of not paying the fine, for instance, was crucial to round off production. None of those involved was fully aware of the situation of the others, perhaps out of anger or shame. The issue came up for the first time during a sequence shot that oozes truth. Some of them were close to giving up. The fine they have to pay is higher than their rent. Others refuse to end up in jail, and will bear the weight on behalf of others.

A scene from ‘La mala familia’ by Nacho A. Villar and Luis Rojo.
A scene from ‘La mala familia’ by Nacho A. Villar and Luis Rojo.

At this point, it could be said that the film shapes the reality. “We were no longer faced with the simple documentation of the facts with which we started the movie; it was not fiction, either. Everything happened spontaneously,” states Rojo. Behind the tact of the images is his sensitive view of a reality that lends itself to clichés. That is the trademark of the Brbr collective, of which both directors are part, rooted in Madrid’s underground scene. They are also responsible for some of C. Tangana’s videos, although they devote most of their time to advertising communication. For their first feature film they bet on a raw portrait of alienation, loss, power and friendship. A friendship that also binds them to Gómez, who had already worked with them as an actor. “The film is only a very small part of the journey we have taken together. The change in the collective dynamic is evident, now they talk about things, they are more transparent among themselves,” Villar concludes.

The best proof that the project transcends the screen is called Yamel, another of the affected. Throughout the film, he expresses his fear of going to jail; today, as in a self-fulfilling prophecy, he is in prison for causes unrelated to the fight. Visiting him and writing him often are two resolutions of the group, which otherwise has not suffered any more casualties and is at peace with the law. Celebrating a year of freedom, Gómez closes his eyelids tightly and confesses: “I want to let my guard down, share my problems so they don’t weigh me down. I had to hit bottom to get well. When I was little, things could have been explained to me in a different way, without accumulating so much hatred, which distances you from people. Now I’m happy to help out a friend, to offer my little tricks to move forward, as other fuckers did with me.” In the process, he has gotten rid of his ghosts, and the Bad Family is closer than ever.

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Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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Culture

European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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