Two Basque movies screen in San Sebastian main competition, multiple others, from ever more notable and noted filmmakers, play other sections or grace Basque showcase Zinemira. A drilldown:
“Blue Files” (“Karpeta Urdinak”, Ander Iriarte, Spain-France)
Iriarte directs a doc investigating his father’s potential torture while in police custody. The investigations take the doc deeper into findings from Basque’s “Research project on torture and ill-treatment in the Basque Country between 1960-2014.” Produced by Gastibeltza, Filmak, and Iriarte’s own Mirokutana.
“Bi Arnas,” (Jon Mikel Fernandez Elorz, Spain)
A debut documentary from Basque journalist and teacher Elorz. Bi Arnas, meaning “two breaths,” features mother Maria Nieves Diaz and her daughter, Iratxe Sorzabal, who was a former head of ETA. It explores the alleged use of torture of Sorzabal by Spanish Police while in custody.
“Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa,” (Fermin Muguruza)
The sequel to Muguruza’s 2018 animated feature, following Ainhoa, the daughter of Manex, the prior film’s protagonist, in a late Cold War journey through Lebanon, Afghanistan and Marseille as she becomes embroiled in the international narcotics trade. Talka Records & Films lead produces. Screening at San Sebastian’s Velodrome
“Chords,” (“Cuerdas,” Estíbaliz Urresola, Spain)
A 2022 Cannes Critics Week laureate and Basque shorts catalog Kimuak title, which says much about the levels Kimuak is punching these days. A redolent drama grounded in local reality as a Basque women’s choir has to decide whether to accept a subsidy from a factory that pollutes its town or, it seems, close down. Produced by Sirimiri Films, with Katz Studio and Garitza Films.
“Come To Life Again,” (Berpiztu, Fermin Aio, Spain)
Director Aio’s “Ongietorri” (“Welcome”) won best documentary under 40 minutes at the Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival. His latest effort, produced by Filmak Media, charts the recovery of Latin Grammy Award winner Kepa Junkera, a master of the accordion who virtually vanished from public view in 2018 having suffered 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 biggest Basque films to date, won the Special Jury Prize at 2017’s San Sebastian. It follows Mikel (Usabiaga), who accepts an invitation from a distant Argentine relative, played by Eduardo Blanco, at a time he is desperate to get away from life in the Basque Country, only to arrive in a village enamored by all things Basque.
“Erro Bi,” (Nagore Muriel Letamendia, Spain)
Letamendia brings her debut short to the festival. Wanting to leave the family farm after her father’s death, a daughter emotionally grapples 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 has also co-directed “Solo son peces,” a short doc awarded at Zinebi 61 with the Grand Prize of Spanish Cinema and nominated for the 2021 Goya Awards. To be pitched at the Lau Haizetara forum
“Gesto,” (“El Vasco,” Xuban Intxausti, Spain)
A film tracing those who have campaigned for Basque pacifism over the last 30 years. Intxausti previously helmed “Mugaminak” (2016), which played San Sebastian, “The Act of Killing. Cinema and Global Violence” and “Grietas” (2018). Produced by Humanis3c with TV rights bought by EITB.
“Lullaby,” (“Cinco Lobitos,” Alauda Ruiz de Azúa, Spain)
One of the standout Spanish art films of the year, a mother-daughter reconciliation drama set in a Basque fishing village which bowed at Berlin, swept prizes at March’s Málaga Film Festival and, endorsed by Pedro Almodóvar, gained traction at Spain’s box office. Nahikari Ipiña (“Open Windows”) produces out of the Basque Country, Latido handles sales.
“My Way Out,” (Izaskun Arandia, Spain)
Documentary about London’s legendary trans nightclub The WayOut ,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 Rite of Spring,” (La consacración de la primavera,” Fernando Franco, Spain)
Ana begins university in Madrid and, in a life-defining development, befriends David, who has cerebral palsy. A third feature in San Sebastian main competition from Franco who carved out a reputation with 2013 San Sebastian double winner “The Wound” and 2017’s “Dying” for both psychological acuity and uncompromising honesty. This film looks sunnier. Kowalski Films co-produces.
“Stillness in the Storm,” (“Gelditasuna Ekaitzean” (Alberto Gastesi, Spain)
A San Sebastian Fest Basque Gala and Gastesi’s first feature, a love story shot in B&W between two people – Lara, just back from Paris, Daniel, who’s never left San Sebastian. Their lives, in other circumstances, may have played out differently. An early feature from San Sebastian-based Vidiana Films, behind shorts by Gastesi, Andrés Daniel Sainz, Oskar Tejedor and Peru Bergaretxe.
“Suro,“ (Mikel Gurrea, Spain)
One of Spain’s most awaited feature debuts of the year, playing San Sebastian main competition and its frontrunner, according to a Spanish critics’ poll in El Diario Vasco. A young middle-class couple move to a family cork plantation and rile local inhabitants as a “Straw Dogs” set-up evolves into a probing examination 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 “Zerua Blu” won Zinebi’s Grand Prize for best Spanish short film in 2021, follows up with “Third Notebook.” In it, an actress and filmmaker rehearse a script containing fragments of diary entries by former ETA leader María Dolores González Katarain. These are intertwined with words from other notable female figures, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Tina Modotti. Another Kimuak entry.
“To Books and Women I Sing,” (“A los libros y a las mujeres canto,”Maria Elorza, Spain)
A first doc feature from Elorza, a well-known figure on the San Sebastian film scene, about women’s relation to books and oral literature. Selected as a San Sebastian Special Screening.
“When Does A Forest Begin” (“Noizko Basoa”, Mikele Landa Eiguren, Spain)
For the fourth year running, Nest will include a short film submitted by San Sebastian’s Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE). Directed by Mikele Landa Eiguren who won best director at the Euskal Zine Bilera (2019) for graduation film ‘Heldu’.