Basque cinema will stand out again at Berlinale
Basque cinema will once again have a strong representation at the Berlin International Film Festival. A special mention goes to Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren’s ‘20.000 Species of Bees’, a work that will have its premiere at one of the most important festivals in the world. The presence of the film is a landmark, as no other Spanish female director has been a contender for the Golden Bear with a first feature-length up until now. The filmmaker from Álava will show her first feature film after a successful journey with Short Film ‘Chords’ which has been nominated for Best Spanish Fiction Short Film at the Goya Awards and won the Rails d’Or Award in the Cannes Critics’ Week. The film has been produced by Gariza Films, Inicia Films and Sirimiri Films and talks about an eight-year-old child struggles with the fact that people keep addressing her in confusing ways. During a summer at her grand aunt’s among the beehives, her life and her mother's will change forever.
“When we found out, we could not believe it, it was very touching. I had not considered such a horizon. I have focused on one thing at a time, and it has finally been five years of hard work. We submitted the work hoping to be selected, but we were not expecting it at all”, the director said.
Meanwhile, ‘Samsara’ by Lois Patiño has been selected for the Encounters section, a platform aiming to foster aesthetically and structurally daring works from independent, innovative filmmakers. Produced by Señor y Señora, Patiño has made a reflection on death from the Buddhist religious point of view.
Basque cinema will also be present at Berlinale Talents with the participation of Mikel Gurrea and Maddi Barber. The director from San Sebastian will attend the festival after a successful journey with his first feature-length ‘Suro’. The film, which had its World Premiere at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, has been praised by both critics and public and received two nominations for the Goya Awards. Gurrea himself was nominated for Best New Director and won the award in that same category at the Gaudí Awards which are given by the Catalan Film Academy. For the filmmaker, being part of Berlinale Talents “is a gift. It is one of the most important festivals in the world and this selection gives me the opportunity to get closer to other directors. It could be the first step towards new interesting relationships and future projects”.
Maddi Barber will also attend the event. In her own words: “One of the most important things of being part of Berlinale Talents is the chance you get to share time and space with people you do not know. I will not attend with a clear goal; I am open to what may happen”. This will be an important year for the filmmaker, as she will be part of Ikusmira Berriak, a residency program of audiovisual project development organized by the San Sebastian International Film Festival along with Tabakalera and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola.
Also in Berlin Critics’ Week
Outside the festival, in the Berlin Critics’ Week 2023, there will be screenings of ‘Mission to Mars’. The debut feature by Amat Vallmajor del Pozo has been produced by Vitrine Filmes, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola and Muxika Zinema. The film tells Txomin’s story, a Basque unemployed archeologist who receives a surveying job on Mars. Along with his brother Gene, he will embark on an adventure through northern Spain, but Gene’s fragile health and a toxic smog that appears mysteriously forces them to divert and turn to their sister Mila. The reunion awakens family recriminations as Gene’s health continues to worsen. With the help of same ghosts and Jesus Christ himself, the two brothers decide to finish their mission to Mars.
As in previous years, Basque. Audiovisual. will have a stand in Berlin bound to the Cinema from Spain hallway in order to provide information about the new tax incentives from Biscay, among many other issues. The Basque brand has also organized different events to celebrate the strong Basque representation at the festival and build new international relationships that could be of benefit. Also, a new online version of the catalogue has been prepared for the 73. Berlinale which will be available on our website.