FILM FESTIVAL: Stars to shine in San Sebastian

The cool Kursaal beachfront festival venue

SAN SEBASTIAN International Film Festival 2023 runs from September 22-30 and the renowned event is sure to bring the essence of cinema to the Basque Country. Since its creation in 1953 it has become an established arena for filmmakers and fans.

With over 200 films to be screened, there is something for everyone.

The festival is right up there with the biggest names in the film world, like Cannes, Berlin and Venice.

It’s a respected event that happens every year in San Sebastian and it holds the title of being Spain’s oldest film festival.

The International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) has given it an ‘A’ category, which means it is one of only 14 competitive festivals worldwide with that rank.

Other festivals rewarded with this classification include Fajr, Berlin, Cairo, Cannes, Goa, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Mar del Plata, Shanghai, Tallinn Black Nights, Tokyo, Venice and Warsaw.

In addition to being credited by FIAPF, it also has been the stage for the European premiere of Star Wars and other notable films.

Opening night will see The Boy and the Heron by Hayao Miyazaki start the festivities and closing the competition is Dance First by James Marsh, the director of the notable The Theory of Everything.

In the running for the Golden Shell is All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt by Raven Jackson, A Journey in Spring by Tzu-Hui Peng and Ping-Wen Wang, and Sultana’s Dream by Isabel Herguera.

The festival will also be showing films from Noah Pritzker, Cristi Puiu, Thomas Lilti, Xavier Legrand and Joachim Lafosse.

Late additions to the competition include features from emerging talent Kei Chika-Ura to Christos Nikou and Isabella Eklöf.

Olivia Wilde arriving at the festival in 2022

In the past many celebrities have graced the red carpet at this event including some of Spain’s own, Penelope Cruz and Blanca Suarez. Iconic stars such as Olivia Wilde, Ana de Armas, Kristen Stewart and the recent talk-of-the-town Ryan Gosling have also made appearances in San Sebastian.

In attendance this year is Javier Bardem. He is the star of the poster for the 71st edition and he will receive a Donostia award. The latest films from Maria Alche and Benjamin Naishtat also means they will be in attendance along with Robin Capillo, Martin Rejtman, Jaione Camborda and Isabel Coixet.

The public are welcomed to join any screening (except press screenings) throughout the duration of the festival. Tickets are available online at the San Sebastian International Film Festival site and the online ticket office site or at multiple ticket offices in Gipuzkoa. They include Zinemaldi plaza, Kursaal Center, Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Principe Cinema, Trueba Cinema, Antiguo Berri Cinema, Principal Theatre, Tabakalera, Antonio Elorza Velodrome. 

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