“Being able to participate in the Cannes Critics' Week was a huge accolade that put ‘Contadores’ in the spotlight and will help promote future projects”
‘Contadores’ is one of several Basque productions that will be on show at the 71st San Sebastian Film Festival. The short film directed by Irati Gorostidi had its world premiere at the Cannes Critics' Week and will compete in the Zabaltegi Tabakalera section of the Zinemaldia. Produced by Apellaniz & de Sosa, as well as Tractora and Pirenaika, the film is about a trade union negotiation in the 1970s and features a cast made up of amateur actors.
- For those who haven't heard of ‘Contadores’, could you explain to us what this short film is about?
It is set in 1978 and features a meeting at the San Sebastian Water Meter factory in Bidebieta. The point of the meeting is to discuss the signing of a new agreement in the metal sector. This is crucial, as it includes the economic measures related to the transition. The negotiations the agreement triggered many protests and took place shortly after the legalisation of political parties and trade unions. It was a decisive moment in history.
The day before the assembly, a small group of factory workers gathered in a flat and, employing rudimentary means, printed a pamphlet opposing the trade unions. They did not recognise them as representatives and advocated instead for workers to organise independently in their struggle.
- Where did you get the idea of telling this story?
It came from an investigation centred around the autonomy of the workers' movement in Gipuzkoa and the alternative community living projects that emerged in the region amidst the social movements of the 1970s. I am currently working on a feature film based on the same research. In the second part of the film, a group of factory workers decide to join a commune.
- Last May you participated in the Cannes Critics' Week. How was the experience?
It was an extraordinary experience. Being able to participate in the Cannes Critics' Week was a huge accolade that put ‘Contadores’ in the spotlight and will helps promote future projects.
- Today, you will present your work in the Zabaltegi section of the San Sebastian Film Festival. What kind of reception do you expect it to have?
I'm really looking forward to it. It's a section that I've always followed with great interest. It will also be lovely to be able to show the film in San Sebastian. It will be a moment to share and celebrate with the whole team and many loved ones. And as if that wasn't enough, the short film will be screened alongside ‘Mamántula’, the latest film by my dear friend Ion de Sosa, who is also the cinematographer for Contadores, and that makes me so happy. Such screenings are a gift.
- What do you think of the short film's progress to date?
I'm incredibly grateful, it's had an exceptional run but I try to remind myself that there is no way to predict how far a film like this can go. It doesn't just depend on the quality, interest or relevance of the film, but also on many other equally influential factors. On this occasion, we have been extremely lucky and I’m enjoying it. But I'm aware that, on other occasions, it's likely that works that I consider to be just as relevant will have a much more modest run.
- Do you have any other projects in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
I'm working on my first feature film, ‘Anekumen’, which is a kind of a sequel to ‘Contadores’. The first part will be set in the workers' movement and the second in a community where hundreds of people go to participate in courses designed to help them liberate themselves and reach states of trance and catharsis. The starting point of the film is an investigation into the Rainbow community, which settled in the Ulzama valley in the 1980s. ‘Contadores’ has provided the perfect platform to introduce the visual universe and the characters of the feature film.