NORA directed by Lara Izagirre Garizurie
NORA directed by Lara Izagirre Garizurie

A total of 13 feature films will compete for the Irizar Basque Film Award award and 20,000 euros for the film’s producer or producers at the San Sebastian Festival’s 68th edition.

Overall, twenty-one titles – 14 feature films, three short films, two series, one medium-length movie and a film at the production stage – make up the Basque titles at the San Sebastian Festival’s 68th edition.

Following the premiere of her debut film Un otoño sin Berlín (An Autumn without Berlin, Basque Film Gala, 2015), Lara Izagirre Garizurie (Amorebieta-Etxano, Bizkaia, 1985) will open Zinemira with Nora. Ane Pikaza, Héctor Alterio and Loli Astoreka figure in the cast of this film about Nora, a young girl who loses her Argentinean grandfather and sets out in an old Dyane 6 car to drive along the Basque Coast and lay his ashes alongside those of her grandmother.

David González Rudiez (Bilbao, 1980), who participated in Zinemira two years ago with La noche los lleva / The Night Take Us (2018), will return to the section to present his fourth feature film, Talento / Talent, the story of a guerrilla film director faced with the challenge, at last, of making a commercial film. Eugène Green (New York, 1947), a North American filmmaker living in France whose feature films have screened at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, as well as at the Locarno and Berlin Festivals, proposes in Atarrabi et Mikelats a new look at both Basque myths.

Amaia Merino (Donostia-San Sebastian, 1970), who co-wrote and co-directed Asier ETA biok (Asier and I, 2013, Irizar Basque Film Award), now puts her name alongside that of Miguel Ángel Llamas (Noain, Navarra, 1980) to Non dago Mikel? / Where is Mikel? an account of the disappearance in 1985 of Mikel Zabalza, a young man arrested by the Civil Guard whose body was found 20 days later without anybody ever having been tried or sentenced for the crime.

The new collaboration between Josu Martínez (Bilbao, 1986) and Txaber Larreategi (Donostia-San Sebastian, 1986), who have presented in San Sebastian works including Sagarren denbora. 25 urte deserritik itzultzen / Apple Times. 25 Years of Exile (2010), Gure sor lekuaren bila (2015) and Jainkoak ez dit barkatzen (Basque Film Gala, 2018), is entitled Caminho longe and reflects the homecoming journey of the former ETA activist Alfonso Etxegarai after decades in exile on the African island of San Tomé and Principe.

Javier and Romerales, two homeless veterans who sleep in the streets of Madrid, play the lead part in Hijos de Dios / God’s Children, the latest work from Ekain Irigoien (Donostia-San Sebastian, 1981), author of the documentary La cañada de Andrea (2014) and of the short film Kresala, included in the anthology film Kalebegiak (2016), premiered at the Velodrome during the Festival. For his part, after directing the documentaries N’Diawaldi Bouly (2011) and Born in Gambia (2019), Natxo Leuza (Pamplona, 1977) has created a multi-faceted portrait of the musician Enrique Villarreal ‘El Drogas’, former member of the band Barricada and one of the leading lights of Spanish rock music.

A regular in different Festival sections with titles including Aupa Etxebeste! (2005), Urte berri on, amona! / Happy New Year, Grandma! (2011) and Dantza (2018), Telmo Esnal (Zarautz, 1967) has recovered a tale by Pablo Azkue, transforming it into Urtzen, a cinematic essay on existence created based on the recycling of dialogues, images and music. With extensive experience in documentary directing, Pepe Andreu (Elche, 1973) and Rafael Molés (Castellón, 1974) will close the Zinemira section with Lobster Soup, a film which gives a voice to the parishioners of a picturesque Icelandic café.

Several titles in other Festival sections will compete for the Irizar Basque Film Award: Akelarre, by Pablo Agüero, included in the Official Selection; Ane, by David Pérez Sañudo, and Hil kanpaiak / Death Knell, by Imanol Rayo, all screening in New Directors; and ARZAK Since 1897, by Asier Altuna, opening film of Culinary Zinema.

ZINEMIRA

NORA
LARA IZAGIRRE (SPAIN – FRANCE)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Ane Pikaza, Héctor Alterio, Loli Astoreka, Naiara Carmona, Ramón Barea, Klara Badiola, Kepa Errasti, Iñigo Aranbarri, Joseba Usabiaga, Aia Kruse, Peio Berterretche, Catherine Domain, June Isasi, Paul Correa, Hegoa Negueloua, Aizpea Goenaga, Tessa Andonegi, Nagore González, Ainhoa Artetxe, Joanes Passicot, Jean Marc Toto
OPENING NIGHT FILM

Nora is 30 years old; she lives with her Argentinian grandfather Nicolás and regularly takes care of her friend Meri’s children. She writes the horoscope for the town newspaper, although her dream is to be a travel writer. When her grandfather dies, she inherits an old Dyane 6. Despite being a terrible driver, Nora will set out aimlessly on a road trip along the Basque coast so that her grandfather’s ashes may finally rest beside those of her grandmother. The road will soon teach her that she’s not a born traveller and that her dream had nothing to do with roving, but was only an excuse for the chance to be free, to grow, to close wounds and, for the first time, to find her own happiness.

LOBSTER SOUP
PEPE ANDREU, RAFAEL MOLÉS (SPAIN – ICELAND – LITHUANIA)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
CLOSING NIGHT FILM

Every morning Krilli prepares the myriad ingredients required to make the lobster soup at the Bryggjan café, a tiny eatery in Iceland’s most anodyne town. His wife helps him in the kitchen and yearns to return to Rejkyavik. In the café, Krilli’s brother Alli sits with the old fishermen, the last boxer in Iceland and the translator of Don Quixote into Icelandic. Every day they find a new answer to the world’s problems. Once a month the neighbours meet at the Bryggjan café to remember those who died in Grindavik and pronounce their names. Four crazy musicians play jazz. A few lost tourists turn up at the fishing harbour and are captured by the atmosphere in the café. Real people, they think. A real place. On the other side of the mountain is the Blue Lagoon, the island’s great attraction. People from all over the world come in fascination to see the volcanoes, the ice and the genesis of the Earth. But now the mountain, the tourists and the lava field seem to increasingly push the whole town towards the sea.

ATARRABI ET MIKELATS
EUGÈNE GREEN (FRANCE – BELGIUM)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Saia Hiriart, Lukas Hiriart

The goddess Mari entrusts her two sons, both born to a mortal father, to the Devil for their education. When they reach their majority, one, Mikelats, decides to stay with the master, while the other, Atarrabi, flees. But the Devil succeeds in retaining his shadow.

CAMINHO LONGE
JOSU MARTINEZ, TXABER LARREATEGI (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award

Former ETA militant Alfonso Etxegarai makes his way home after decades of exile on the African island Sao Tomé and Principe, to which he had been deported by France and Spain in 1986. He is accompanied by his indefatigable partner, Kristiane Etxaluz.

EL DROGAS
NATXO LEUZA (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Enrique Villarreal, Mamen Irujo

A biographical documentary which explores, like a river, the length and breadth of the figure of Enrique Villareal. A human portrait where individual memory converges with its collective counterpart to bring us a tale taking an in-depth look at the historical and vital background of one of the leading lights of Rock & Roll in Spanish. An emotional story where we can observe the different faces and paths taken up by this singular artist. This is the story of a being who walks crooked so that he can see what’s on the other side. It is the story of Enrique Villareal, “El Drogas”.

EL ESTADO CONTRA PABLO IBAR / THE MIRAMAR MURDERS: THE STATE VS. PABLO IBAR
TV Series
OLMO FIGUEREDO (SPAIN)

In July 1994, Pablo Ibar is arrested accused of a triple murder in Miami. A crime that shook the foundations of the whole community given that the whole thing was recorded on a home security camera. Although he defends his innocence throughout, Pablo is condemned to death and will spend more than 20 years in prison… until Florida Supreme Court confirms the lack of proof against him and grants a retrial. Back in the starting box, the District Attorney’s office once again asks for the death sentence while the Ibar family sets about finding the money to pay for a trial that will cost more than a million dollars. This is his last chance.

HIJOS DE DIOS / GOD´S CHILDREN
EKAIN IRIGOIEN (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Javier Lea Cano, Mariano López de la Isidra, María José Sarabia

Javier and Romerales, two homeless veterans, sleep under one of the cornices surrounding Madrid’s tourist-packed Plaza de la Ópera. In company of the two, a long journey will begin round the busy streets of the capital, where surviving without giving in to madness becomes all of an art. The friendship between these two characters and their outlandish lives make this film a hymn to life, death and dignity.

JO TA KE / NON-STOP
Medium-length film
AITZIBER OLASKOAGA (SPAIN)

A film crew embark on a persistant search to find the cracks between two strongly polarised national identities. The successive refusals and silences will mark the way from the Basque Country to La Mancha, home of the first high-security prison built in Spain. A voyage with no answers and a single question: How can we represent History when the images are denied to us?

NON DAGO MIKEL? / WHERE IS MIKEL?
AMAIA MERINO, MIGUEL ANGEL LLAMAS (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award

Account of the disappearance in 1985 of Mikel Zabalza, a young man from Navarre arrested by the Guardia Civil, who confused him with an ETA activist. For the 20 days that Zabalza was missing, the mistrust of Basque society towards the official version ended with huge protests and social unrest when his body was finally found floating in the waters of the Bidasoa River. Despite the generalised conviction that Zabalza had died from torture, nobody was ever tried or punished for these occurrences. In November 2020 it will be 35 years since he died, and his family continues to call for the truth about what really happened.

TALENTO / TALENT
DAVID GONZÁLEZ RUDIEZ (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: David Huertas, Marta Reig, Jesús Soria, Juan Jiménez Estepa

Jorge is a guerrilla filmmaker on the point of completing his latest and most ambitious work, the one he hopes will finally earn him an established place in the avant-garde film scene. An improbable grant leads to the reappearance of an old project that will turn his life upside down: to make a film with money, at last. A commercial film.

URTZEN
TELMO ESNAL (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award

During lockdown, Telmo Esnal recovered a long-forgotten project: UR, a tale by Pablo Azkue taking a deep look at the conscience and the sea. Urtzen is a special cinematic essay, a curious collage which, recycling and reusing dialogues, images and music, reflects on existence.

BASQUE ZINEMA GALA

BIZIMINA
Short film
PABLO IRABURU, MIGUELTXO MOLINA, JON MAYA (SPAIN)

Bizimina combines documentary cinema with dance. Through a series of independent pieces, it composes a story around the emotions we find it so difficult to express these days: distance, longing for others, desire, the community spirit, impotence, isolation, confusion, hope. The choreography builds a tale serving to provide comfort and company in this uncertain time.

EITB GALA

ALARDEA / BOAST
TV Series
DAVID PÉREZ SAÑUDO (SPAIN)
Cast: Itziar Ituño, Carmen Climent, Klara Badiola, Iñigo Aranburu

Amaia’s life is turned upside down when the women’s association of Uriola, her town, decide to participate in the traditional Alarde parade. Becoming involved in this matter is something that could bring this primary school teacher into confrontation with her community, and with her family. Deciding what to do is an enormous dilemma for her. The planned struggle also implies Amaia’s reunion with her mother, Edurne, now a nurse, and from whom she was distanced 25 years ago after the divorce from and subsequent death of her father. Amaia has never forgiven her mother for putting her involvement in the parade before the interests of the family. She has no intention of letting the same thing happen again, precisely in the year that her husband Aitor is named burgomaster and her daughter Jone, a water carrier. Screening of two of the four episodes making up this miniseries.

OFFICIAL SELECTION – In competition

AKELARRE
PABLO AGÜERO (SPAIN – FRANCE – ARGENTINA)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Álex Brendemühl, Amaia Aberasturi, Garazi Urkola, Irati Saez de Urabain, Jone Laspiur, Lorea Ibarra, Yune Nogueiras, Daniel Fanego, Asier Oruesagasti, Iñigo de la Iglesia, Elena Úriz, Daniel Chamorro, Jeanne Insausti

Basque Country, 1609. The men of the region are at sea. Ana joins other girls from the village to dance in the woods. Judge Rostegui, given the task of purifying the region by the King, arrests the women and accuses them of witchcraft. He decides to do what it takes for them to confess what they know about the akelarre, a ceremony with magical connotations during which the Devil is said to initiate his servants and mate with them. Winning project of the Arte Kino International Prize at the VI Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017.

NEW DIRECTORS

ANE
DAVID PÉREZ SAÑUDO (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Patricia López Arnáiz, Jone Laspiur, Mikel Losada, Luis Callejo, Nagore Aramburu, Fernando Albizu, Gorka Aguinagalde, David Blanka

The Basque Country, 2009. Lide is a security guard for the high-speed train works, a project that generates social protests in the streets. Coming home after work and partying all night, she makes breakfast for two, but her teenage daughter, Ane, is nowhere to be found. The next day, she’s still not back. Lide isn’t particularly worried, believing that her disappearance is probably connected to their huge argument of the previous day. Looking through Ane’s things, she gradually realises that her daughter is a stranger to her. Debut film.

HIL KANPAIAK / DEATH KNELL
IMANOL RAYO (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
Cast: Itziar Ituño, Eneko Sagardoy, Yon González, Asier Hernández, Iñigo Aranburu, Dorleta Urretabizkaia, Josean Bengoetxea, Kandido Uranga, Patricia López Arnaiz, Andrés Gertrúdix, Itxaso Arana

Human bones are found at the Garizmendi farmhouse. Farmers Fermín and Karmen call their son Néstor, who reports the matter to the authorities. But, when the agents turn up, the bones are gone. Suddenly, the bell on the nearby chapel begins to peal. This bad omen announces the coming of tragic events and reopens old wounds within the family and those around it. Second feature film by its director.

ZABALTEGI-TABAKALERA

AUTOFICCIÓN / AUTOFICTION
Short film
LAIDA LERTXUNDI (USA – SPAIN -NEW ZEALAND)

Borrowing its name from the title of a literary genre, the film recognises the indeterminacy of both fiction and of the being. Film noir elements are reduced to inexpressive gestures under the bright Californian sunlight. Field recordings made in New Zealand can be heard while the women talk to one another about motherhood, abortion, break-ups and anxiety. A civil rights demonstration moves slowly along a street. The bodies appear in states of weariness, injured or relaxed, while the songs of Irma Thomas and Goldberg evoke the passing of time and an uncertain future.

YA NO DUERMO
Short film
MARINA PALACIO BURGUEÑO (SPAIN)
Cast: Jesús Palacio Erauskin, Miguel Burgueño Herrero

Ya no duermo is a family-made movie showing us Miguel and his Uncle Kechus, who want to shoot a film about vampires. In that endeavour to create something together, reality and fiction alternate, in a game which also shows the particular relationship established between boy and adult.

CULINARY ZINEMA

ARZAK SINCE 1897
ASIER ALTUNA (SPAIN)
Competes for the Irizar Basque Film Award
OPENING NIGHT FILM

When Juan Mari told his mother he wanted to study catering and continue in the tradition of the family business, she tried to convince him to choose a career offering a better future. Sixty years later, the social prestige enjoyed by gastronomy is enormous, the change has been revolutionary and today many children encouraged by their parents dream of becoming great chefs. Juan Mari has lived this evolution in first person and has been a fundamental part of it. Arzak, the family eatery situated at the top of San Sebastian’s Alto de Miracruz, has become one of the world’s best restaurants. Today, the new generation has taken up the baton. Elena Arzak, Juan Mari’s daughter, now runs the restaurant and her father is gradually retiring. The time has come to look back, to take stock of a whole life; to analyse the transformation of traditional cuisine into the new cuisine d’auteur.

MADE IN SPAIN

LA ISLA DE LAS MENTIRAS / THE ISLAND OF LIES
PAULA CONS VARELA (SPAIN – ARGENTINA – PORTUGAL)
Cast: Nerea Barros, Darío Grandinetti, Aitor Luna, Victoria Teijeiro, Ana Oca

In the early hours of 2 January 1921, the ship Santa Isabel, on its way to Buenos Aires and with 260 people on board, sunk off the sheer, harsh coast of Sálvora island, in Galicia. With very few men on the island, three young local women, María, Josefa and Cipriana, set about rescuing 48 people, a heroic act that would cost them very dearly. After those events, an Argentine journalist, León, makes his way to Sálvora to cover the story of the shipwreck. Gradually he will discover that on said night there had been too many coincidences, even starting to suspect that they ship may have been deliberately sunk. Meanwhile, nothing will be the same. The shipwreck will shake and forever change life on the island. Inspired by true events.

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