Two Basque films are screened in the main competition of San Sebastian, several others, from more and more famous and well-known filmmakers, play other sections or adorn the Basque showcase Zinemira. A detail:
“Blue Files” (“Karpeta Urdinak”, Ander Iriarte, Spain-France)
Iriarte leads a doc who investigates his father’s possible torture while in custody. The investigations take the document deeper into the findings of the Basque “Research Project on Torture and Abuse in the Basque Country between 1960-2014.” Produced by Gastibelza, Filmak and Iriarte’s own Mirokutana.
“Bi Arnas,” (Jon Mikel Fernandez Elorz, Spain)
A debut documentary by the Basque journalist and teacher Elorz. Bi Arnas, meaning ‘two breaths’, depicts mother Maria Nieves Diaz and her daughter, Iratxe Sorzabal, who was a former head of ETA. It is investigating the alleged use of torture of Sorzabal by the Spanish police while in custody.
“Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa”, (Fermin Muguruza)
The sequel to Muguruza’s 2018 animated film, which follows Ainhoa, the daughter of Manex, the protagonist of the previous film, on a late Cold War journey through Lebanon, Afghanistan and Marseille as she becomes embroiled in the international narcotics trade. Talka Records & Films lead produces. Display at Velodrome of San Sebastian
“chords”, (“Cuerdas,” Estíbaliz Urresola, Spain)
A 2022 Cannes Critics Week winner and a Basque shorts catalog Kimuak title, which says a lot about the levels Kimuak is punching these days. A reeking drama rooted in local reality as a Basque women’s choir must decide whether to accept a grant from a factory that is polluting its city or if it appears to be closing. Produced by Sirimiri Films, with Katz Studio and Garitza Films.
“Come Back to Life”, (Berpiztu, Fermin Aio, Spain)
Director Aio’s “Ongietorri” (“Welcome”) won Best Documentary Under 40 Minutes at the Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival. His latest work, produced by Filmak Media, charts the recovery of Latin Grammy Award winner Kepa Junkera, a master of the accordion who virtually disappeared from view in 2018 following a stroke.
“Dear Grandma,” (“El Vasco,” Jabi Elortegi, Spain, Argentina)
Co-produced by Pausoka Entertainment, Prisme Cine and Oeste Films. A comedy starring Joseba Usabiaga whose ‘Handia’, one of the greatest Basque films to date, won the Special Jury Prize in San Sebastian 2017. It follows Mikel (Usabiaga), who accepts an invitation from a distant Argentine relative, played by Eduardo Blanco, at a time when he desperately wants to get away from life in the Basque Country, only to arrive in a village charmed by all things Basque.
“Erro Bi”, (Nagore Muriel Letamendia, Spain)
Letamendia brings her debut shorts to the festival. A daughter wants to leave the family farm after her father’s death and struggles emotionally with her mother who wants her to stay.
“Flying Hands”, (Paula Iglesias and Marta Gómez, Spain)
Iglesias and Gómez’s fourth documentary film at Al Borde films. Paula also directed ‘Solo son peces’, a short documentary that was awarded the Grand Prize of Spanish Cinema at Zinebi 61 and nominated for the Goya Awards 2021. Pitched on the Lau Haizetara forum
“Gesto,” (“El Vasco,” Xuban Intxausti, Spain)
A film about those who have campaigned for Basque pacifism for the past 30 years. Intxausti previously directed “Mugaminak” (2016), which starred San Sebastian, “The Act of Killing. Cinema and Global Violence” and “Grietas” (2018). Produced by Humanis3c with TV rights purchased by EITB.
“Lullaby,” (“Cinco Lobitos,” Alauda Ruiz de Azúa, Spain)
One of the most notable Spanish art films of the year, a mother-daughter reconciliation drama set in a Basque fishing village that bowed to Berlin, won awards at the Málaga Film Festival in March and, backed by Pedro Almodóvar, gained popularity at the Spanish checkout. Nahikari Ipiña (“Open Windows”) produces from the Basque Country, Latido handles the sales.
“My Way Out”, (Izaskun Arandia, Spain)
Documentary about the legendary trans nightclub The WayOut in London and its founder Vicky Lee. Director and producer Izaskun Arandia charts its 30-year history. Produced by Izar Films, founded by Arandia in 2010.
“The Spring Ritual,” (La consacración de la primavera,” Fernando Franco, Spain)
Ana starts university in Madrid and befriends David, who has cerebral palsy, in a life-changing development. A third film in Franco’s San Sebastian main competition, which built a reputation with 2013’s San Sebastian double winner “The Wound” and 2017’s “Dying” for both psychological acumen and uncompromising honesty. This movie looks sunnier. Kowalski Films co-produces.
“Silence in the Storm”, (“Gelditasuna Ekaitzean” (Alberto Gastesi, Spain)
A San Sebastian Fest Basque Gala and Gastesi’s first feature film, a love story shot in black and white between two people: Lara, just back from Paris, Daniel, who never left San Sebastian. Their lives, in different circumstances, may have turned out differently. An early feature film by Vidiana Films from San Sebastian, behind short films by Gastesi, Andrés Daniel Sainz, Oskar Tejedor and Peru Bergaretxe.
“Suro,” (Mikel Gurrea, Spain)
According to a poll of Spanish critics in El Diario Vasco, one of Spain’s most anticipated feature film debuts of the year, he plays San Sebastian’s main league and its frontrunner. A young middle-class couple moves to a family’s cork plantation and infuriates the locals as a “Straw Dogs” lineup evolves into an in-depth exploration of capitalism and the right to private property. San Sebastian’s Irusoin co-produces.
“Third Notebook”, (“Hirugarren Koadernoa,” Lur Olaizola, Spain)
Lur Olaizola whose previous short film “Zerua Blu” won the Zinebi Grand Prize for the best Spanish short film in 2021, follows with “Third Notebook”. In it, actress and filmmaker rehearse a script with fragments from diary entries of former ETA leader María Dolores González Katarain. These are interwoven with words from other notable female figures, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Tina Modotti. Another Kimuak entry.
“For books and women I sing”, (“A los libros ya las mujeres canto,” Maria Elorza, Spain)
A first documentary by Elorza, a well-known figure in the San Sebastian film scene, about women’s relationship to books and oral literature. Selected as a special showing in San Sebastian.
“When Does a Forest Begin” (“Noizko Basoa”, Mikele Landa Eiguren, Spain)
For the fourth consecutive year, Nest will shoot a short film submitted by Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE) from San Sebastian. Directed by Mikele Landa Eiguren who won best director at the Euskal Zine Bilera (2019) for graduation film ‘Heldu’.