The San Sebastian Film Festival will be represented by a total of 14 Basque productions at its 71st edition
A key event on the international film scene kicks off on 22 September, the 71st edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival, which will fill the city with cinema until 30 September. In addition, the event will have a considerable Basque presence, as it has selected a total of 14 works that show the excellent state of audiovisual production in the Basque Country.
Among the films competing for the Golden Shell is the feature film 'Sultana's Dream', directed by Isabel Herguera and produced by Uniko, Sultana Films, El Gatoverde Producciones, Abano Producións and Fabian & Fred. It tells the story of Inés, a 30-year-old animation director from Spain. In the year 1905 the Bengali writer Rokeya Hossein dreamed of Ladyland, a utopic land governed by women. More than a century later, Inés decides to set off on a journey of self-discovery following the traces of Rokeya and looking for Ladyland.
The short film 'Contadores', by Irati Gorostidi, will take part in Zabaltegi, which offers a space for films that seek new perspectives and forms. This project by the production companies Apellaniz and De Sosa, Tractora and Pirenaika, has been included in the Kimuak 2022 catalogue. The new work by Ion de Sosa, 'Mamántula', will have its world premiere in this section. It was produced by the companies Apellaniz y de Sosa, Señor y Señora, Paola Á. Filmproduktion, Tasio and UMMM.
For yet another year we can enjoy Zinemira, the section dedicated to Basque cinema and organised by the San Sebastian Festival and the Basque Government's Culture Department, with sponsorship from Irizar and EITB, and participation from Filmoteca Vasca, EPE/APV, IBAIA and Zineuskadi.
'20,000 Species of Bees', one of the great successes of the year both nationally and internationally, will be one of the titles selected to form part of this section. Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren's debut film, produced by Gariza films, Inicia Films and Sirimiri Films, has received several awards from renowned festivals.
The film 'Irati', by Paul Urkijo, will also form part of this section. Following its world premiere at the International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, it is also the highest-grossing Basque-language film in history. Thus, it has taken part in approximately 15 international festivals, with notable examples including the Seattle International Film Festival, Macabro Mexico, and the Glasgow Film Festival. Furthermore, it has won various awards, including Best Director at the Brazilian Fastaspoa Festival, Best Film and Best Cinematography at the European Fantastic Film Festival of Murcia, the Audience Award at the prestigious Sitges Film Festival, and it also received five nominations at the Goya Awards.
'Mission to Mars', the first feature film by Amat Vallmajor del Pozo, will also feature at the festival. It had its international premiere at the ninth Berlin Critics' Week. The film portrays a post-apocalyptic Basque Country where two brothers set off on a mission. Txomin, an unemployed archaeologist, is commissioned to carry out an expert report on Mars. With his brother Gene, they set off on an adventure through northern Spain. Gene's failing health and a mysteriously toxic haze cause them to seek help at their sister Mila. The reunion brings up old family issues while Gene's health gets severe. The film was produced by Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola, Muxika Zinema and Vitrine Films, and one of its main attractions is its soundtrack, based almost entirely on songs by the punk band Hertzainak.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy the film 'Tetuán'. Based on real-life personal experiences, Iratxe Fresneda takes us on a personal journey where past and present merge in a stunningly sensory visual experience; from the tranquil banks of the Danube to the hectic life of Madrid, four intertwined stories converge and become lost in the mysteries of Tetouan. We will also be screening 'Not Such an Easy Life', a film by Félix Viscarret, produced by Lamia Producciones, Klingsor Films, AIE and A Contracorriente Films. It tells the story of a father who finds it difficult to balance raising his children with leading an adult life. He spends his days between his architecture studio and the park outside the school, where his children play. Wherever he is, Isaías feels he is not where he should be. With his wife Ainhoa, he notices the passing of the years and how exhausting children can be. Isaías strikes up a friendship with Sonia, the mother of another child at school, who will show him that raising your children and entering adulthood is not so easy.
Another of the films competing for the Irizar Basque Film Award will be 'In the Company of Women'. The film directed by Silvia Munt, with participation from the Basque company Irusoin in the production, won the Audience Award at the 20th Film and Human Rights Festival. Fermin Muguruza will also present his latest project, 'Bidasoa 2018-2023', produced by Talka Records & Films and distributed by Barton Films.
Lastly, visitors will have the chance to see the two latest works by Josu Martínez, 'Mirande, film bat egiteko zirriborroa' and 'Bizkarsoro'. The first revolves around the figure of the writer Jon Mirande, while in the second, the director presents five true stories, based on oral and written testimonies, which took place from 1914 to 1982 in a town that doesn’t exist. Throughout the 20th century, various generations underwent major cultural changes. The loss and disappearance of a language and its struggle for survival.
Made in Spain
Likewise, 'Upon Entry' will participate in the non-competitive section Made in Spain. The award-winning debut feature, directed by Alejandro Rojas and Juan Sebastián Vásquez and produced by Basque Films, Zabriskie Films, Sygnatia and Upon Entry AIE. In this drama, a young couple arrives from Spain at JFK airport where they will enter the United States as immigrants. Just when they thought their process was complete and they’ve been approved, they unexpectedly learn they have to go through a final inspection. They will be forced to reveal secrets they have not yet shared, endangering their entry and leading them to question the nature of their own relationship. The film was awarded the Silver Biznaga for Best Male Performance at the Malaga Film Festival, as well as the FIPRESCI Award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia.
Basque Cinema Gala
The documentary 'A Deep Breath', by the directors Rosa Zufía and Bertha Gaztelumendi and the production company La tentación producciones will be the star of this year's Basque Film Gala. The work features female Basque filmmakers from different generations.