San Sebastian International Film Festival

“Donostiako Zinemaldia”

It is the denomination, in Euskera, of the San Sebastian Film Festival.

The San Sebastian International Film Festival is the only A category festival in the country and one of the 14th  world championships: Berlin, Cannes, Shanghai, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Montreal, Venice, Warsaw, Tokyo, Cairo , Goa (India) and Mar del Plata.

It is the most important in Spain and in the group of Spanish-speaking countries.


Its first edition started in 1953, on September 21, as the International Film Week.

In 1954, when taking charge of the organization of the contest the National Syndicate of Shows and the Ministry of Information and Tourism, acquired the denomination of International Film Festival.

In 1955 the Festival awarded the first Silver Shell (distinctive prize of the contest) to the film “Giorni d’amore”, the first award granted to a foreign film.

In 1957, the International Federation of Cinematographic Producers’ Associations (FIAPF) awarded the film category the highest category (A). The “FIAPF” (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films), created in 1933 in Paris, is an international organization that brings together 26 associations of film producers from 23 countries.

Throughout more than 60 years of existence, the San Sebastian Film Festival has contributed to the birth of new directors: Pedro Almodóvar, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, to name a few.

Likewise, the Festival has enjoyed the presence of numerous stars, today consecrated: Michael Douglas, Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, Meryl Streep, Demi Moore, Naomi Watts, to name a few.


Since 2007, in its 55th edition, the International Film Festival of San Sebastian appears with a new formula that attracts with greater force and that the critic appreciates. At the present, the Festival combines independent cinema of international quality, in particular Spanish and Latin, with a greater presence of actors and directors known by the public. In the last edition, 169,000 spectators attended in 670 screenings to watch 223 films from 45 countries (the figures speak for themselves). The San Sebastian Film Festival is managed by a public company with the participation of the Ministry of Culture, the Autonomous Community of Euskadi (Basque Country), the Province (Guipúzcoa) and the City of San Sebastián, in equal parts. The Festival is made up of different sections and numerous prizes.

The Golden Shell is awarded to the best film, of any nationality. The Silver Shells distinguish the best director, the best actor and the best actress. Then comes  the Jury Prizes, the best script and the best photography. There are several Awards: New Directors, Perlas, Zabaltegi, Public, Youth (elected in schools), Horizontes Latinos (to stimulate the production and distribution of unpublished Latin American films in Spanish territory), Made in Spain, Zinemira, Cine en Construction, Meeting of Film Schools, Another Look, Irizar to Basque Cinema, Donostia (to honor an actor for his professional career), and some more. The San Sebastian Festival is thus reinforced in its traditional approach to the Spanish-speaking world without having renounced its international dimension.


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