24th May 2024
Basque Country Culture Festivals Film

Focus: Sant Sebastian International Film Festival (20-28 Sept)

The prestigious San Sebastian International Film Festival kicks off its 67th edition this Friday 20 September and will run until 28 September.

Among those already confirmed to make appearances are Donald Sutherland, Penelope Cruz and Costa-Gavras (who are all Donostia Award-winners), as well as Sam Neill, Tim Roth, Kristen StewartJavier BardemGael García Bernal, Eva Green and Juliet Binoche, among many others – in what has the makings of a star-studded festival.

The Irish filmmaker and scriptwriter Neil Jordan will chair the Official Jury, on which he will be accompanied by the actresses Bárbara Lennie and Mercedes Morán, the producers Pablo Cruz and Katriel Schori, and the director of photography Lisabi Fridell.

ALSO READ: Judi Dench honoured at San Sebastian Festival (2018)

Canadian Donald Sutherland will be honoured with a Donostia Award recognising his more than fifty years of excellent performances. The actor, who has participated in almost 200 productions, will attend the 67th festival on Thursday 26 September to receive the accolade prior to the screening of The Burnt Orange Heresy, a thriller directed by Giuseppe Capotondi. The film, with a cast featuring Mick Jagger, Claes Bang and Elizabeth Debicki will also close the coming edition of the Venice Festival.

Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland will receive a Donostia Award at this year’s festival.

Capable of shining with the same intensity either as the lead character or in a supporting role, Sutherland has shown great talent when embodying dozens of characters, with no regard for genre: from drama to war movies, including thrillers, horror and science fiction films.

Despite never having received an Academy Award nomination for any of his myriad parts, in 2017 he was presented with an Honorary Academy Award for his acting career.

His many roles over five decades include great performances in award-winning films and series including The Dirty Dozen,  M.A.S.H., Kelly’s Heroes, Klute, Ordinary People, JFKDisclosure, Space CowboysCold MountainThe Hunger Games and La migliore offerta (The Best Offer). Sutherland is currently filming opposite Nicole Kidman in The Undoing, HBO’s six-episode limited series.

ALSO READ: Danny DeVito to receive Donostia lifetime achievement award

Penelope Cruz will receive her Donostia Award on Friday 27 September. The ceremony will be followed by the screening of Wasp Network, directed by Olivier Assayas and starring the Spanish actress.

Penelope Cruz is the Spanish actress who enjoys the greatest international recognition: she received the best supporting actress Academy Award and a BAFTA for her part in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (directed by Woody Allen), three Goyas for her work in La niña de tus ojos (The Girl of Your Dreams), Volver (directed by Pedro Almodovar) and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, among many other awards.

Cruz will be the fifth Spanish actor to receive the festival’s most important honorary award, preceded by Fernando Fernán Gómez (1999), Paco Rabal (2001), Antonio Banderas (2008) and Carmen Maura (2013).

‘I receive the news of this Donostia Award full of emotion and gratitude to the San Sebastian Festival for granting me this immense honour,’ Cruz said. ‘San Sebastian is not only an internationally renowned Festival but also the most important in our country and a very special place to me because I have had the pleasure of visiting it since I was very young and have lived very touching moments there.’

Costa-Gavras, a French filmmaker of Greek origin, will also receive a Donostia Award at the festival, in recognition of the militant cinema of the author of movies including Z, Missing and Capital. The filmmaker will collect the award on 21 September at a gala screening of his latest feature film, Adults in the Room, an adaptation of the memories of the former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

Seventeen productions will compete in the San Sebastian Festival’s Official Selection. The diverse range of films include Blackbird (directed by Roger Michell), Mientras dure la Guerra / While at War (Alejandro Amenabar), Rocks (Sarah Gavron), Zeroville (James Franco) and Proxima (Alice Winocour).

There are also sixteen titles within the festival’s Made in Spain section, presented for their international dissemination, including various films presented at the Malaga Festival, a number of debut films and works by directors with an extensive career, such as Pedro Almodovar and David Trueba.

The Festival will also offer the chance to take another look at Dolor y gloria (Pain and Glory), in which Pedro Almodovar follows the profile of a moviemaker in the twilight of his career. The film competed in the Official Selection at the Cannes Festival, where its lead character, Antonio Banderas, won the best actor award. It has also been recently selected to represent Spain at the next Academy Awards.

The various sections of the Sant Sebastian International Film Festival also include:

Horizontes Latinos – a selection of films not yet released in Spain, produced totally or partially in Latin America and directed by filmmakers of Latin origin.

Zabaltegi Tabakalera  – the festival’s most competitive section – ‘no rules, no limits of style or time: short, medium-length, feature-length, fiction, non-fiction, animation, series, audiovisual installations, future discoveries and contemporary classics’

Culinary Zinema –  a section created in collaboration with the Berlin International Film Festival and jointly organised with the Basque Culinary Center ‘to unite cinema, gastronomy and activities related to food in education, science and agriculture’, This section offers a non competitive selection of gastronomy-related films accompanied by themed dinners.

The Sant Sebastian International Film Festival runs from 20-28 September.

Click here for all further information on screenings and ticket information.


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