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Research work, curated in collaboration with the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, Tabakalera and Basque Film Archive will guarantee its conservation and access to the Festival’s documentary resources

How many stories can you fit into seven decades of history of an International Film Festival? How should we re-examine the social, political and film histories generated by the San Sebastian Festival from its foundation in 1953 to the present day? In collaboration with the research department of the Elías Querejeta Film School, the Tabakalera International Centre for Contemporary Culture and the Basque Film Library, the San Sebastian Festival has set up ‘Zinemaldia 70. All Possible Histories’, a project which seeks to create a living archive of the festival. The first phase will conclude with the 70th staging of the festival in 2022.

‘Zinemaldia 70’ highlights the important documentary collections containing letters, photographs, press reviews and reports, books, etc., compiled since the festival's foundation in 1953. The aim is to prepare this previously unpublished archive for public consultation and to encourage deliberation and debate on the festival's past, present and future, opening dialogue with contemporary filmmakers and critical thinkers.

The working group is made up of the coordinator of the EQZE research department, Pablo La Parra, and its director, Carlos Muguiro, students specialising in Archive and Film Curating studies, representatives of Ubik, the Tabakalera’s Creation Library, and Basque Film Archivee and the Festival team. Also Ubik will house the researchers’ working space, and the Festival archive will have its physical location in the Basque Film Archive installations.


Methodology of the project

The project involves transporting the material (currently held in a depot in Martutene) to the Tabakalera building, where it will be examined, prepared and catalogued to ensure proper conservation at the premises of the Basque Film Library. In 1922, the archive will be opened for public consultation, both in person and online (through digitised contents). Consultation of the collections will include curated ‘spotlights’, based on the research carried out during the project. These will centre on aspects such as the fight between censorship and dissidence during the years of Franco’s dictatorship; the effect on the festival of the transition to democracy; political violence in Basque and Spanish cinema; the attempts to build a national Basque cinema and the Kimuak generation, among others.

Until 2022, the output of the project will be publicised through two simultaneous and interconnected avenues of work. On the one hand, specialist research material (academic articles, conference papers, in-house publishing projects, seminars, etc.) will be produced, with a view to generating a critical dialogue with the latest developments in the field of film studies. At the same time, public programmes will be organised, based on interdisciplinary dialogue, which will target a wider audience. Each year the conclusions of the project will be publicised through exhibitions, publications and screening programmes, establishing a critical dialogue between the social, political and film history of the festival and contemporary work in the medium.

However, the memory of the festival is not only preserved in its own archives; the project also includes a section that will seek to explore other archive collections (both institutional and private) and conduct interviews with a view to building an oral history of the festival.



* Main picture: "Barrios y pueblos" Section - Screening at the Don Bosco parish cinema, Intxaurrondo (Maite Berradre, 1977)

* Other images: San Sebastian Film Festival / Alex Abril

Data sheet

Research team:
Pablo La Parra (lead investigator)

Alumnado participante 2020-2021: Amaranta Díaz, Ekhiñe Etxeberria, Laida Mendia, Oderay Ponce de León, Pablo Lillo

Alumnado participante 2019-2020: Diego Ginartes, Irati Crespo, Marcela Hinojosa, Noemi Cuetos, Olatz Arrieta, Silvia Cruz, Sofía García Broca

Alumnado participante 2018-2019: Antonio Miguel Arenas, Clara Rus, Felipe Montoya, Irati Cano Alkain, Julieta Juncadella, Neus Sabaté, Sara Hernández

Related institutions:

San Sebastian FestivalTabakalera, Basque Film Archive, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola

2018/05/02 - ongoing

Research line:
Theoretical approaches to innovative techniques in archiving, curating and filmmaking


Basque, English, Spanish