September 18 sees the start of the 63rd Donostia Zinemaldia, the Donostia-San Sebastián Film Festival. This year’s edition sees the world premiere of eight movies, including Regression, directed by Alejandro Amenabar and starring Emily Watson and Ethan Hawke.


The Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium in Donostia-San Sebastián, decorated to promote the 2014 Zinemaldia. Photo by Joxemai, via Wikimedia Commons

This year also promises to be an especially eclectic mix, with different festival sections include “Horizontes Latinos,” “Culinary Cinema,” “Savage Cinema,” and “New Japanese Independent Cinema.” In an interview with Basque daily Berria, festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos emphasizes this diversity, citing three examples of films showcasing this year: the surreal French film Evolution, the cool British black comedy High Rise (based on a novel by J.G. Ballard), and the Japanese children’s animation film Bakemono no ko / The Boy and The Beast. Moreover, Basque films on show this year include Amama (When a Tree Falls), Sagardoa bidegile (Cider Stories), Jai Alai Blues,  and Aitaren Etxea. And there will also be a screening of the Basque-themed French movie, Sanctuaire (Sanctuary).

“From art house to mainstream films, from indie to potential Academy-winning features, San Sebastian has it all,” according to Telefonica production chief Axel Kuschevatzky, quoted in Pamela Rolfe’s article in The Hollywood Reporter here.

If you’re interested in exploring more about Basque movies, check out Basque Cinema: An Introduction, by Jaume Martí-Olivella, for a good general overview of the development of Basque film-making. And for a more detailed study of the intersection between film and Basque culture, see The Basque Nation On-Screen: Cinema, Nationalism, and Political Violence, by Santiago de Pablo.