The San Sebastian Film Festival and Basque cinema
Historiak, 7 

Towards a definition of Basque cinema

Writing about the history of the relationship of the San Sebastian Festival and Basque cinema leads us to ask ourselves the question: what is Basque cinema, and how has it been historically defined? Has the Festival participated in this definition, either theoretically or practically, through its selection of films? [1]

In 2009 a new section saw the light of day in the San Sebastian Festival, under the name of Zinemira. Picking up the gauntlet from the defunct Jornada del cine vasco (Basque film seminar), it provided a space in which Basque films could be seen over the nine days of the duration of the Festival.

In 2011 the Festival created a specific across-the-board prize for this kind of cinema, initially sponsored by the company Serbitzu and, from 2013 onwards, by Irizar. That is when the Festival had to answer the question: which films could compete for the Basque cinema prize?

The first set of regulations in 2011 stated that “all unreleased feature films programmed in any of the sections of the Festival that had at least 51% of Basque production could compete for the ‘Serbitzu Saria’ Prize…”.

By doing this, the Festival joined the current of thinking that had proposed a more pragmatic definition of Basque cinemafrom the 1990s onwards, and considered that “quoting a very graphic expression of Ángel Amigo, it could be said that Basque cinema would be that which pays taxes to the Basque Treasury”[2]. The Festival’s criterion for considering a film Basque in line with that of the Administration was, therefore, that most of its production should be in the Basque Autonomous Community.

Nevertheless, the regulations changed on several occasions in the short ten-year life of this prize; slightly but significantly, with the Festival moving away from the pragmatism of the 1990s and making it subject to a series of criteria that were held, with great passion, in the debate that took place in Euskadi in the 1980s.

Initially, three years after its creation (in 2014) the new regulations significantly reduced the percentage of production, meaning that films with only 20% of Basque production could compete for the prize. Another variable was introduced in 2018: films competing for the prize could ignore the production requirement if they were mostly in the Basque language. Most recently, in 2021, another opening was introduced: any first-release films could compete in the Zinemira section even though they had not been produced in the Basque Autonomous Community or were in Basque, if they dealt with a specifically Basque cultural theme. 

At present, therefore, films with 20% of Basque production and/or are mainly spoken in Basque and/or have Basque culture at their core them can compete for the Irizar prize.

In other words, the origin of their production, the main language used and the theme they cover are the criteria to define Basque cinema currently accepted by the Festival. These openings of recent years seem to be bringing the Festival closer to the positions that defended Basque cinema produced in Euskadi in the heat of the Transition to Democracy, i.e. films made in Basque that reflected themes close to Basque culture or the reality of the country.

The history of the debate on Basque cinema and the controversy around its definition started in the Transition to Democracy in Spain. A peculiar debate emerged in Euskadi at the time on what Basque (at the time, ‘national’) cinema “should be”. The Spanish State of Autonomous Regions was emerging at the time; it was an era of redefinition and rediscovery in many fields, among them culture. Many filmmakers, critics and theorists reflected and considered that their contribution to the recovery of Basque identity should take place in the field of cinematography and through the creation of a ‘national cinema’. The problem did not take long to appear, however: the definition of Basque national cinema was as diverse as the number of people who decided to take part in the debate.

This controversy did not originate in Euskadi, but fed off a humus and a much wider context: that of ‘national cinema’ in different parts of the world. It also flourished at a very particular and key moment in history that could be defined with two basic coordinates. On one hand, in the middle (and the heat) of a far-reaching political transformation from dictatorship to democracy, with the undeniable protagonism of the creation of a Spain of Autonomous Communities. On the other, it was considerably affected by theories on filmmaking that emerged following the events of May 1968. The debate, however, acquired certain specific features in Euskadi.

The first is that the debate arrived there ten years late, for obvious political reasons, and it would therefore come under what has been called “the long May of 68”. The second is that was an almost exclusively theoretical controversy, or rather deductive. It did not take place when a series of historians, analysts, critics and filmmakers reflected on a compendium of films to try and find the features that would unify the films in a certain way -if that were possible- until one could speak of a ‘national cinematography’. The opposite was the case in Euskadi: it was decided a priori which factors should later be applied to everything that was done if it wanted to be considered as Basque national cinema, converting criteria used by historians, analysts, critics and filmmakers to classify it through prescriptive rules.

In practice, this “should be” of Basque cinema, and not without contradicting the theoretical roots, meant that the theoretical “should be” was considered by some in terms of what the Administration “should do”. On occasions, national Basque cinema thus became the cinema that certain theorists or filmmakers demanded, or wanted the new Basque Government to subsidise. 

There was also a highly ideological debate linked to the “should be” aspect; not surprisingly, it was very controversial and passionate. It even reached a state of tedium, boredom, pessimism and scepticism as the years went by. Over time, the Administrations took up a position in favour of a certain conception of what this cinema was, or should be, in a more pragmatic position: Basque cinema was that created in the Basque Autonomous Community.

In any case, the more pragmatic evolution of this debate had little to do with its initial moments, which were full of enthusiasm and expectation about the future. It should be said that it was open to the most varied and disparate criteria right from the start.

Antxon Eceiza, a Basque filmmaker closely linked to the San Sebastian Festival, was particularly involved in this controversy. He reflected on what had happened with great lucidity -and derision- in the following terms:

[An] AKELARRE DE CRITERIOS (witches’ coven of criteria). Here the IUS LOCI, the IUS SANGUINIS (common RH), FISCAL, LINGUISTIC, ADMINISTRATIVE AND AUTHORITIAN EXSCLUSION conditions are energetically bandied about until authentic CHAMPIONSHIPS OF BASQUENESS occur, in which, if you can shout loud or have strong support, you can claim to be the winner and give yourself the apparently glorious title of ‘MVQN’…i.e. MÁS VASCO QUE NADIE…(more Basque than anyone).[3]

This disparity of criteria that was prevalent in the 1980s, and after reviewing them now, leads us to ask the question: is the San Sebastian Festival participating once more in this “akelarre (witches’ coven) of criteria” by moving away from the more pragmatic vision of the 1990s by opening up the criteria whereby a film is considered Basque? 

At present it does not seem that filmmakers, theorists and critics will go back to debating (at least with the same passion) what Basque (national) cinema is or should be. The context (the Transition to Democracy and the creation of a Spain of Autonomous Regions), the need to contribute to the recovery of an identity through culture that had been erased or made invisible by Franco’s dictatorship, the desire to create one’s own autonomous film industry (non-existent until that time), and the fervour with which the debate took place, has changed a lot. Nowadays, the Basque audiovisual sector and its relationship with the San Sebastian Festival has been consolidated, and there is a kind of “golden age”.

In any event, something from that controversy was reflected in the Festival and its programme, as is described in the history of the relationship between the Festival and Basque cinema, as we will see below.


A brief history of Basque cinema in the San Sebastian Festival

It could be said that the Festival has gone through ups and downs in its relationship with Basque filmmaking.

In the conference in the Summer Course in 2014[4], which later appeared in the book Cine vasco: tres generaciones de cineastas[5], which analysed the relationship of the Festival with Basque cinema from a historical perspective, taking the premiere of Loreak in 2014 as its endpoint, it was concluded that the Festival went through three phases in its relationship with Basque cinema.

The relationship between the San Sebastian Festival and Basque cinema has gone through three phases during its long history.

The first, from the creation of the Festival (1953) to the screening of Ama Lur in 1968, is a period that we could call one of “no relationship”, or “no mutual knowledge”. They were years in which the two ignored each other, for various reasons. Basically, they were the years of Francoism in which Basque cinema mostly did not exist or, if it was allowed to exist, did so by decree.

The second period, opened up by the selection of Ama Lur for the 16th edition of the Festival, was one characterised by mutual knowledge and gradual recognition. It started in 1968 and we could extend it, using evidently arbitrary criteria, to the moment when the Festival took on the creation of the Zinemira section in 2009, for example. This second period is the one in which Basque filmmaking started to appear, gradually with greater frequency and a higher profile, in the different sections of the Festival. 

The decision to organise Zinemira could be understood as an opening up to a third phase. The Festival had consolidated itself as a Class A international competition and, as a result, constituted an undeniable international platform for any film that participated in it, with the Festival assuming a much more proactive attitude towards Basque cinema in the process.

The Festival thus became an increasingly interesting platform to raise the profile and internationalise films produced in the Basque Country, while trying to make this momentum help to to gradually create and consolidate a Basque film industry[6].

Seven years after that text was written, it is now time to reformulate the historical framework and the phases, attributing new milestones to them and contextualising them within the history of the Festival and the academic framework of the study of film festivals. Naturally, we need to update everything that has happened in this relationship after the premiere of Loreak (Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga) in 2014.

We could summarise by saying that the Festival has gone through three major phases in its relationship with Basque filmmaking: 1953-1978; 1978-1989 and 1989-present day. This coincides with the three major phases marked out by the theorists and historians who study the history of international film festivals.

The first phase is one of “no relationship”, although its end was not marked by -as was said at the time- the premiere of Ama Lur in 1968, but that of El proceso de Burgos in 1978.

The release of Ama Lur, by Nestor Basterretxea and Fernando Larruquert, on 10 July 1968 in the Official Section (out of competition) in the 16th edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, was a major milestone: it was the first Basque feature film programmed by the Festival[7]. However, it did not represent the starting gun in the relationship, as eleven years would go by before another Basque film appeared in Festival’s programme. The “Basque” element or the epidermic and simplistic translation of Franco’s era was seen in the Festival in a number of ‘folkloric’ manifestations such as the txistularisdantzaris and poxpolinas[8] that usually appeared on the different red carpets of the event.

The presence of El proceso de Burgos in the Festival, with the controversy it created, did represent, however, the start of a second phase, which could be said to end in 1989 with the premiere of Ke arteko egunak by Antxon Eceiza, the first Basque language film to compete for the Golden Shell in the San Sebastian Festival. 

These were years of controversy around Basque national cinema, and also a time when the Festival started to programme a large number of Basque films.

From that era there were films such as Sabino Arana (1980) by Pedro de la Sota and José Julián Bakedano, La fuga de Segovia (1981) by Imanol Uribe, 7 calles (1981) by Juan Ortuoeste and Javier Rebollo, La conquista by Albania (1983) by Alfonso Ungría, Euskadi, hors d’etat (1983) by Arthur MacCaig, El pico (1983) by Eloy de la Iglesia, Erreporteroak–Reporteros (1984) by Iñaki Aizpuru, Tasio (1984) by Montxo Armendáriz, Otra vuelta de tuerca (1985) by Eloy de la Iglesia, Golfo de Vizcaya (1985) by Javier Rebollo, Kalabaza Tripontzia (1985) by Juanba Berasategi, 27 horas (1986) by Montxo Armendáriz, Ander eta Yul (1988) by Ana Díez, Viento de cólera (1988) by Pedro de la Sota or Itsaso urdina–El mar es azul (1988) by Juan Ortuoste, which were programmed in different sections of the Festival. 

They were very turbulent, politicised and decentralising years in the story of the Festival, and could be included under what was called the “long May of 1968”.  

As Pablo La Parra says in the text “El Festival fuera del palacio. Una aproximación al ’68 tardío’ del Festival de San Sebastian”: 

It is important to point out that the most sophisticated readings of the period –from the essential study by Kristin Ross to recent contributions in the field of film studies– emphasise the need to the extend the understanding of the ‘long May of 1968’ chronologically and geographically. Basically, it is about ‘deprovincializing’ 1968 in the strict sense that Harry Harootunian gives the term: not only focusing on the peripheral areas that have been ignored in traditional analysis but extending the range of the historical analysis to create complex and interlinked periodizations that are able to overcome unidirectional narratives.

As for the San Sebastian Festival, “…protected by the repressive umbrella of Francoism, the 1968 edition took place relatively normally. It could be concluded, therefore, that San Sebastian remained on the fringe of these transformations. This approach largely coincides with the melancholic and inward-looking perspective commonly found in critics and academic studies, which highlights the incomparable singularity of Spanish filmmaking culture. Adopting a wider historical perspective, my theory points in another direction: San Sebastian was affected by the transformations that other festivals experienced in the ‘long 68’, although they took place almost a decade later in the second half of the 1970s”.

Since the end of the 1970s the San Sebastian Festival has transformed and decentralised itself. An example of this is the creation of the ‘Barrios and Pueblos’ (neighbourhoods and villages) section, which took the programming of the Festival out of the official venues (as the name of the new section indicated) and introduced films that, until then, had been considered to be for a few privileged persons or popular viewers. The section lasted until 1986[9]; it disappeared three years before the milestone that marked the end of that phase of the Festival with Basque cinema, which is none other than the release of Ke Arteko Egunak (Días de humo; Antxon Eceiza, 1989), a film that set out to crystallise the Basque national cinema movement, give it a new boost and a definitive push, although this was no more than a destination, a cul-by-sac. Twenty-five years would go by before another film in the Basque language appeared in the Official Section of the Festival.

In the 1990s a new, much more pragmatic, phase began and the third phase of the relationship was born, one that could be defined as a “normalization” between Basque cinema and the Festival. 

Films such as Terranova (1990) by Ferran Llagostera, Siempre felices (1991) by Pedro Pinzolas, El maestro de esgrima(1992) by Pedro Olea, La gente de la Universal (1993) by Felipe Aljure, Días contados (1994) by Imanol Uribe, Rigor Mortis (1996) by Koldo Azkarreta or Perdita Durango (1997) by Álex de la Iglesia were part of the selection of the Festival.

Regarding Basque cinema, however, and under the direction of Peio Aldazabal (1990), Rudi Barnet (1991-1992), Manuel Pérez Estremera (1993-1994) and Diego Galán (1995-1999, his second period as director), the Festival did not manage to really function as a platform for the discovery and internationalisation of Basque filmmakers. 

Films that represented a clear aesthetic and generational renewal were left out of the Festival, for example, Vacas (presented in Cannes in 1993) and La ardilla roja (presented in the Panorama section of the Berlin Festival in 1992) by Julio Medem; Acción Mutante (1993) and El día de la bestia (presented in the Venice Festival in 1995) by Álex de la Iglesia; Cómo ser feliz and disfrutarlo (1994) and Cachito (1996) by Enrique Urbizu; Salto al vacío (presented in the Panorama section of the Berlin Festival in 1994), Pasajes (presented in the Directors’ Fortnight in the Cannes Festival in 1996) and A ciegas (presented in Venice in 1997) by Daniel Calparsoro; La madre muerta (presented in Venice in 1993) and Airbag (1997) by Juanma Bajo Ulloa…

The exception to this situation was Alas de mariposa by Juanma Bajo Ulloa; it competed in the Official Section in 1991, and won the Golden Shell for Best Film.

The result of this ‘failure’ to discover Basque filmmakers was remedied by Mikel Olaciregui when he took over as director. This third phase represented an organisational milestone as a result of the new structure of the sections of the festival.

This was reflected in the text published in “Cine vasco: tres generaciones de cineastas[10]“:

The Basque Cinema Seminar would set out to show as wide and representative a panorama as possible of Basque productions from the current year; First-release films and others that had already been seen in movie theatres were programmed. The idea was to consolidate the Festival as a platform for the internationalisation of local productions, making it their best ally to disseminate their work to the press and sales/distribution agents from all around the world.

This initiative did not fully achieve its aims, however. Given that the tickets to these sessions were in the form of invitations from institutions and a variety of stakeholders from Basque industry, the Basque Cinema Seminar became an ‘in-house party’, a place for Basque filmmakers to meet, although it never managed to attract the foreign industry and press.

As a result of a reflection on the ‘failure’ of the Basque Cinema Seminar year after year, the Zinemira Section was created in 2009. Thanks to it, Basque films could be seen every day in the Festival. 

The section can be sub-divided into three sections: 1) premieres of Basque films; 2) the Panorama section was created for films that had already been released on the cinema circuit, and 3) a selection of short films started to be shown in the Kimuak programme, an initiative of the Department of Culture of the Basque Government and the Basque Film Library; the aim was to disseminate the most outstanding Basque shorts of the year.

Another result of the same reading and the desire to “correct the error” was that, under the direction of Mikel Olaciregui, first, and José Luis Rebordinos later, a number of Basque filmmakers who had left to work in Madrid were once again programmed in different sections of the Festival, although they could no longer be considered, under the Rules of the Festival, to be making “Basque cinema”. This is the case, for example, of Enrique Urbizu (No habrá paz para los malvados, 2011, Official Section; Gigantes, 2018, Official Section (out of competition) or Alex de la Iglesia (Las brujas de Zugarramurdi, 2013, Official Section (out of competition); Mi gran noche, 2015, Official Section (out of competition). Films by Daniel Calparsoro and Julio Medem also appeared in the Panorama (non-competitive) and Made in Spain sections at the time.

In the field of Basque film programming, the milestone in this phase happened in 2014, when -25 years later- filmgoers and others attending the Festival were able to see a film in Basque, Loreak, which competed for the Golden Shell. A real boom took place after that, as a reflection of what was going on in the Basque film sector, and Basque cinema (and films in Basque) started to feature in every section of the Festival, including the Official Section. 

Feature films such as Lasa eta Zabala (Pablo Malo, 2014, Official Section out of competition), Los tontos y los estúpidos(Roberto Castón, 2014, New Directors), Negociador (Borja Cobeaga, 2014, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera), Pikadero (Ben Sharrock, 2015, New Directors), Amama (Asier Altuna, 2015, Official Section), Sipo Phantasma (Koldo Almandoz, 2016, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera), Handia (Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño, 2017, Official Section), Morir (Fernando Franco, 2017, Official Section – Special Screenings), Oreina (Koldo Almandoz, 2018, New Directors), Dantza (Telmo Esnal, 2018, Official Section – Special Screenings), Un día más con vida/Another Day of Life (Raúl De la Fuente and Damian Nenow, 2018, Perlak), La trinchera infinita (Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goenaga, 2019, Official Section), Las letras de Jordi (Maider Fernández Iriarte, 2019, New Directors),  O que arde (Lo que arde; Oliver Laxe, 2019, Perlak), Ane (David Pérez Sañudo, 2020, New Directors) and Hil Kanpaiak (Imanol Rayo, 2020, New Directors) were presented in the San Sebastian Festival.

Many of these films were also included in the Official Section Prize List, receiving recognition from the jury and boosting their international projection in the process. This is the case, for example, of La trinchera infinita, which won the Silver Shell for best director and the Jury Prize for the best screenplay (Luiso Berdejo, Jose Mari Goenaga); Un día más con vida, which won the Audience Award in the Perlak (pearls of other festivals) section; Handia, which received the Special Jury Prize, or La herida (Fernando Franco, 2013), which won the Special Jury Prize and the Silver Shell for best actress for Marian Álvarez.

Many other Basque filmmakers such as Lara Izagirre, Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina, Juanma Bajo Ulloa, Olatz González Abrisketa and Jørgen Leth, Juan Barrero, Iratxe Fresneda, Maider Oleaga, Fermín Muguruza, Kepa Sojo, Justin Webster, Asier Urbieta, Maria Elorza and Maider Ferrnández Iriarte, Mikel Rueda, Patxo Tellería, Juanmi Gutiérrez, Josu Martínez, Juan Palacios, David Arratibel, Juanba Berasategi, Raúl by la Fuente, Irati Gorostidi and Arantza Santesteban,  Txuspo Pollo, Raúl Urkijo, Helena Taberna, Iñaki Arteta, Koldo Serra, Aitziber Olaskoaga, David González Rudiez, Aitor and Amaia Merino have presented their films in the Zinemira section over the years.

The Serbitzu/Irizar prize for Basque cinema was won by Bi Anai (2011) by Imanol Rayo, Pura vida (2012) by Pablo Iraburu and Migeltxo Molina, Asier eta biok (2013) by Aitor and Amaia Merino, Negociador (2014) by Borja Cobeaga, Amama (2015) by Asier Altuna, Pedaló (2016) by Juan Palacios, Handia (2017) by Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño, Oreina (2018) by Koldo Almandoz, La trinchera infinita (2019) by Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño and Jose Mari Goeanga and Ane (2020) by David Pérez Sañudo.

The Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section, the open zone of the Festival, also became a space to present Basque short films to the world. This was the case of Ya no duermo (Marina Palacio, 2020), Autoficción (Laida Lertxundi, 2020), Leyenda dorada (Ion de Sosa and Chema García Ibarra, 2019),  Lursaguak (Izibene Oñederra, 2019),  592 metroz goiti (Maddi Barber, 2018), Plágan/Plague (Koldo Almandoz, 2017), Gure Hormek/Las chicas de Pasaik (María Elorza and Maider Fernández Iriarte, 2016), Caminan (Mikel Rueda, 2016), Duellum (Tucker Dávila Wood, 2015), Zarautzen erosi zuen (Aitor Arregi, 2014), Hubert le blonden azken hegaldia (Koldo Almandóz, 2014) or Soroa (Asier Altuna, 2014).

This third phase was also defined by an alignment with the general characteristics that studies of festivals have attributed to the third phase of the history of international film festivals. It is what Aida Vallejo[11], referring to the work of Marijke de Valck[12], defines as “the era of the industry”; it involves, among other elements, the institutionalisation and professionalisation of film festivals and the inclusion of industrial activities in their programmes.

Under present director José Luis Rebordinos the San Sebastian Festival took a number of decisions that meant, without abandoning the idea of giving Basque cinema a high profile and internationalising it, that the Festival undertook the task of contributing to the fabric of the Basque film industry, either supporting the development of Basque projects with the Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum (created in 2012) or through the Ikusmira Berriak residencies organised together with Tabakalera and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (created in 2015), or by actively participating in a dialogue with stakeholders in the territory such as the associations of Basque producers (Ibaia and EPE/APV).

Projects such as Claria (Luis Ángel Ramírez, 2012), Pieta (Iñaki Elizalde 2012), La puerta del amor (Ana Díez, 2013), Operación concha (Antonio Cuadri, 2013), Walls (Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina, 2014), Akelarre (Pablo Agüero, 2017), El doble más quince (Mikel Rueda, 2017), Nora (Lara Izagirre, 2018) or Karmele (Asier Altuna, 2019) participated, flourished and were completed thanks to the Co-production Forum. 

The projects Ira 26-2 –later titled Muga deitzen da pausoa– (Maider Oleaga, 2015),  Fantasía (Aitor and Amaia Merino, 2016), Suro (Mikel Gurrea, 2016), Las letras de Jordi (Maider Fernandez Iriarte 2017), 918 gau (Arantza Santesteban, 2018), Jo ta ke (Aitziber Olaskoaga, 2019), O corno do centeo (Jaione Camborda, 2020) or Y así seguirán las cosas(Marina Palacio, 2021), were made in the Ikusmira Berriak residency programme.

A number of signs lead us to think that we are now coming to the end of this third phase, and well on the way to a fourth. 

The digitisation that began in the 2000s created new production, distribution and screening models, as well as a revolution in the working process of the Festival; the economic crisis of 2008 led to the conception of sustainability, both environmental and of the event itself (nine days in September); greater awareness of the gender perspective and the debate on gender and race identity; the incorporation of the academic world into the festival, leading to greater self-reflection, and the disturbance created by the Covid-19 pandemic, which temporarily broke the competitive-collaborative hierarchy of the international film festival circuit and called into question the need for “presence-based” events… These factors all lead us to think that we are facing a change of paradigm.

Both the San Sebastian Festival and the Basque film sector are therefore facing structural changes together. 

The San Sebastian Festival is, and will continue to be, a community celebration of the film world that takes place in San Sebastián over nine intense days in September. A celebration in which films are screened and promoted, filmmaking projects are developed and thinking and debate around the world of the cinema are fostered. From 2021 onwards, with the creation of Z365, it is also an institution that works 365 days a year to promote the creation and transmission of knowledge around the film world, to accompany the development of filmmaking projects and to drive research and dissemination in the field. 

In this new phase that is opening up, both the Festival as an event and the Festival as an institution will have to find a way to continue to be useful to help the development of Basque cinema and filmmakers. This will be done together with the stakeholders that make up the industrial and creative fabric of the sector, and travelling companions who share objectives and programmes such as the Elías Querejeta film school, the Tabakalera cultural project and the Basque Film Library, from the creation to the screening of their films.

[1] This essay was originally published in: Quim Casas (coord.), Zinemaldia 1953-2022: singularities of the Donostia / San Sebastian International Film Festival. Nosferatu 18 (San Sebastián: Donostia Kultura, Filmoteca Vasca, San Sebastian International Film Festival, 2022).

[2] “El cine vasco, algo de dudosa existencia”, Santos Zunzunegui, El Correo español-el pueblo vasco, 26 January 1983.

[3] Talk by Antxon Eceiza in a Summer Course of the Basque Public University in 2001. The capital letters are part of the original text from his personal archive.

[4] A talk on Basque cinema in the San Sebastian Festival given by Maialen Beloki in Cine Vasco: tres generaciones de cineastas in a course at the Public University of the Basque Country organised by the Basque Film Library, 2014.

[5] Cine vasco: tres generaciones de cineastas, Joxean Fernández, (ed.), Fundación Filmoteca Vasca, 2015.

[6] Cine vasco: tres generaciones de cineastas, Joxean Fernández (ed.), Fundación Filmoteca Vasca, 2015; from the article “Cine Vasco en el San Sebastian Festival”, Maialen Beloki, pp. 183-184.

[7] The short film Pelotari by Néstor Basterretxea and Fernando Larruquert was the precedent. It was premiered in 1965 in the Official Section (out of competition).

[8] Men who played the txistu (a traditional Basque instrument of the flute family), dancers from euskal dantza (traditional Basque dances) and women dressed in the traditional costume of a neska (girl).

[9] The final edition of the ‘Barrios and Pueblos’ section took place in 1986, although on a much smaller scale than the previous ones. By 1986 tickets were only sold in Arrasate-Mondragón, and the screenings took place a week after the official Closing Ceremony of the Festival.

[10] Cine vasco: tres generaciones de cineastas, Joxean Fernández (ed.), Fundación Filmoteca Vasca, 2015; from the article “Cine Vasco en el San Sebastian Festival”, Maialen Beloki, pp. 181-182.

[11] “Festivales cinematográficos en el punto de mira de la historiografía fílmica”, Aída Vallejo, Universidad Pública del País Vasco.

[12] “Film festivals, from European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia”, Marijke de Valck, Amsterdam University Press, 2007.