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José Luis Rebordinos • Director of the San Sebastian Film Festival

"This year is still a good year for Spanish cinema, but next year will be more complex"


- Spain's most important film festival is approaching its 60th edition, to be along the same lines as its last edition with just a few changes.

José Luis Rebordinos • Director of the San Sebastian Film Festival

This year, José Luis Rebordinosis directing the San Sebastián International Film Festival for the second year in a row. The festival's upcoming edition is to be a complex one, to feature the Spanish film funding crisis, the festival's 60th anniversary, a nod to the industry with the Europe - Latin America Co-production Forum, and a little reshuffling of its sections.

Cineuropa: With the Europe - Latin America Co-production Forum, the festival is consolidating its industry events and its connection with Latin American cinema. Was this necessary for the festival's future?
José Luis Rebordinos: Consolidating the industry-orientated part of the festival is essential. We need to make festivals such as San Sebastián become more than just presenting films, because otherwise you have a festival that becomes increasingly local. This is why we created the Europe - Latin America Co-production Forum. We already had an open door to Latin American cinema, because we had expanded on logical cultural connections through Films in Progress, one of the [festival's] most successful initiatives in the last few years. The Co-production Forum will complete this process by helping both Latin American and European films looking for co-financing at the same time. Once these films are finished, they will be able to take part in any of the festival's sections, or in Latin Horizons, and those that haven't found funding will go to Films in Progress.

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Another novelty in this edition is that New Directors is now its own, independent section.
The aim was to give it renewed value because it features a €90,000 award, which is the most substantial in the world. In the past, it has featured the first films of some very important directors, such as Assayas, Walter Salles, or Almodóvar, but its importance was diluted by it being part of the Zabaltegi section. We want to turn it into the festival's second most important section after the official one.

The first edition of the festival that you directed was greatly applauded by the international press. Will your second year directing the festival be along the same lines?
I don't think that there was ever a rupture with previous lines, and I don't think that there will be with this edition either. We are looking to make some elements more to my taste. We want to turn the Zabaltegi section into a real open area like Un Certain Regard, Orizzonti, or Panorama, a free space to see productions in any format, television series, animation, documentaries, to increase possibilities in the same direction as that of the audiovisual sector and in connection with other artistic means of expression.

What is the festival expecting of the Spanish film sector, in these difficult times for the industry, economy, and society?
This year is still a good year for Spanish cinema, but next year will be more complex, because we collect what was filmed and produced during the previous year. We have several titles confirmed for the Official Section, but it's not completely closed. San Sebastián is Spain's most important festival and so any film that comes to it needs to be able to gauge what is happening in Spanish cinema.

Could you let us know some of the titles and directors in the Official Selection?
This year, North American cinema will have an important presence, with two films by prominent directors already confirmed and, as usual, there will be lots of European films in all sections. We wanted to focus on New Directors, because of five or six very interesting films by directors who we will see again at major film festivals in a few years time.

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