The San Sebastian International Film Festival (Spanish: Festival de San Sebastián; Basque: Donostia Zinemaldia) is an annual FIAPF A category film festival held in the city of Donostia-San Sebastián in September, in the Basque Country.
Since its creation in 1953 it has established itself as one of the most important cinema festivals in the world, being one of the 14 “A” category competitive festivals accredited by the FIAPF. It has hosted several important events of the history of cinema, such as the international premiers of Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock (who attended the Festival) and the European premier of Star Wars. Actors and directors such as Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Michael Douglas have attended the festival since its inception. It was the first festival attended by Roman Polanski and it was a key element to advance the professional careers of Francis Ford Coppola or Pedro Almodóvar, for instance.
In the current competitive context of international festivals, San Sebastian, which has one of the lowest budgets, has established itself as the most important in Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries. The festival was founded in 1952. Although it was originally intended to honour Spanish language films, films of other languages became eligible for consideration in 1955, when the festival was specialized in color films. It has been acknowledged by the FIAPF as an A category festival since 1957, with the exception of the 1980–1984 period, when no major awards were given.These are the main sections of the festival:
New Directors: First or second movies of new talents.
Horizontes Latinos: A selection of films from Latin America, unreleased in Spain.
Pearls: A selection of the best movies screened at other international festivals throughout the year.
Zabaltegi: A non-competitive section aiming for heterogeneity with no formal norms.
Made in Spain: A showcase of the year’s Spanish movies for their international launch.
Zinemira: A showcase of movies produced or directed by Basques.
Retrospectives: Retrospectives are included in the program to present the works of a renowned filmmaker or works that represent a particular theme.
Savage Cinema: A non-competitive selection of adventure and action sports films.
Velodrome: Projections of movies for a big audience in a giant screen installed at the Velódromo de Anoeta.
International Film Students Meeting: Selected shorts, mostly graduation projects, from film schools around the world.
An international jury evaluates the films in the Official Section and awards the following prizes:
Golden Shell for Best Film, Special Jury Prize, Silver Shell for Best Director, Silver Shell for Best Actress, Silver Shell for Best Actor, Jury Prize for Best Cinematography, Jury Prize for Best Screenplay, Donostia Award
In this Blog, you will find articles, reviews and interviews with filmmakers and actors.