San Sebastian chief describes programming a film festival at the busiest time of the year

Screen | 9/20/2019 | Staff
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José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, talks to Screen about the key role the Spanish event plays in both the European and Latin American industries, industry innovations for this year and the art of programming a festival at one of the busiest times of the year.

The festival opens today (September 20) with the European premiere of Roger Michell’s Blackbird and runs until September 28.

Festival - Talents - Work - Practice

You are proud of how open the festival is to new talents. How does this work in practice?

It involves different strategies. One of them is the New Directors section and also the official competition often includes a fair amount of first or second features. This year they are A Thief’s Daughter by Belén Funes, The Audition by Ina Weisse; Pacificado by Paxton Winters, Workforce by David Zonana and Patrickby Gonçalo Waddington.

Festival - Ikusmira - Berriak - Programme - Talent

The festival’s Ikusmira Berriak programme is also designed to foster new talent. It is an eight-week development residency for project development. An award is presented during the festival to help with the post-production stage of the films. Last year the winner was Jordi’s Letters by Maider Fernández Iriarte, and this year she is competing in New Directors with the film.

We also have the Nest Film Students section, for students from film schools all over the world whose short films have been previously pre-selected. They get the chance to screen their work and attend discussions and master classes by industry professionals.

Art - San - Sebastián - Festival - Season

What is the art of programming San Sebastián during such a busy festival season?

We are the smallest of the big ones, as we like to say, in a calendar that often sees films going to Venice and Toronto. Competition for world premieres is very tough and we cannot rely on it exclusively, but we usually have about 30 international premieres.

We also include...
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