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The Festival has had 24 editions. We don't like it

Artium, Basque Centre-Museum of Contemporary Art

09/09/2020 - 08/12/2020

  • Exhibition

When the audience of the 25th San Sebastián Festival opened the first issue of its official magazine on 10 September 1977, they found neither a celebration of the silver jubilee nor the usual protocol formulas, but instead an unusual statement that was also written for the first time in Basque: “The Festival has had 24 editions: we don’t like it”. A promise of radical change and a confrontation with its own history. For the first time, the Festival was no longer managed from Madrid but by a local committee that included representatives from artists’ associations, film clubs and neighbourhood associations.

San Sebastián ’77 was an attempt to voraciously recover the time stolen by Franco’s regime: the programme paid homage to the victims of the dictatorship and to exiled and censored filmmakers, extended the screenings and talks to neighbourhoods and villages and explicitly backed the demands of the Basque people. In short, it claimed to be a platform from which to imagine a new democratic, popular festival.

This exhibition explores the pivotal 1977 edition based on the collective research conducted during the 2018-2019 academic year by the project team of Zinemaldia 70: todas las historias posibles (Zinemaldia 70: all possible stories). Jointly organised by the San Sebastián Festival and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola and sponsored by Spain’s National Lottery and Gambling Agency (Loterías y Apuestas del Estado), the project aims to recover, study and enhance the Festival’s historical archive, which has been preserved until today ever since it was set up in 1953. The aim of the project is to create a living, public archive that can trigger critical debate with contemporary creation and thought.

The exhibition, which is linked to the Artium Museum Collection show Zeru bat, hamaika bide. Artistic Practices in the Basque Country in the Period 1977-2002, is part of the project Zinemaldia 70: all possible stories, promoted by the Festival and the EQZE.