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José Luis Rebordinos • Director, San Sebastián Film Festival

"With Glocal in Progress we want to enhance visibility, quality and prestige"


- We chatted to José Luis Rebordinos, the director of the San Sebastián Film Festival, about Glocal in Progress, the gathering's industry event open to films shot in non-hegemonic European languages

José Luis Rebordinos  • Director, San Sebastián Film Festival
(© Montse Castillo / SSIFF)

We chatted to José Luis Rebordinos, the director of the San Sebastián International Film Festival, about Glocal in Progress, the gathering’s new industry event, which will unspool during this year’s edition of the festival in late September. The deadline to present films for this new industry sidebar of the Basque event is 30 June, and the call is open to unfinished movies shot in non-hegemonic European languages.

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Cineuropa: What makes Glocal in Progress different from other industry activities at this festival as well as others?
José Luis Rebordinos:
 The fact that it is intended for European films that, owing to their linguistic characteristics, have smaller market shares: they are movies that are not shot in hegemonic languages (ie, they have dialogue in languages other than French, English, German, Spanish, Italian or Russian). For instance, a movie produced today in Basque has a potential market of fewer than one million people, and Icelandic films, which are outstanding and have a major impact at festivals, have a possible market of under 300,000 people. We want to create a meeting place for these European productions that are at a bigger disadvantage than those produced in English or Spanish, which have a more sizeable market. We are thus carrying the successful idea from Films in Progress across from Latin American films to content in non-hegemonic languages.

And what awards are given out at the event?
The completion of the film from post-production to the final copy, subtitled in English and Spanish, and €10,000 to travel to Madrid to carry out that post-production work. From among all the films presented, we will select three that we will screen for the professionals attending San Sebastián on the same days as Films in Progress is being held; in this way, the Glocal in Progress movies will be able to benefit from the presence of those people who already attend this industry event every year. The objective of both sidebars is to enhance visibility and prestige: the movies in Films in Progress then end up at Berlin and Cannes; they gain such a high level of prestige that the programmers keep a close eye on what has been happening here or in Toulouse. We’d like Glocal in Progress to be a quality label: we want the sales agents to show an interest in distributing the films, but we also want the festivals to want to see them in order to select them.

It’s been proven that international co-productions are the best way to get a project off the ground.
Yes, after having served as an access point for Latin American films in Europe, on the programming and industry levels, we would now also like to be a meeting point for European movies with the above characteristics: those from the Nordic and Baltic countries, Eastern Europe, Ireland and Scotland, parts of Belgium and Italy... It’s a good time for us, as Basques who speak the Basque language, to join forces with European countries that also speak different languages.

What prerequisites must the films presented at Glocal in Progress have?
They must have already been shot and be at the work-in-progress stage – the more advanced the better – but must still be in post-production: the film must not have been finished already. In addition, they must be movies produced in Europe and in non-hegemonic languages. The final deadline for submissions is 30 June, and on the festival website, you’ll find all the details of the terms and conditions of the call.

What criteria will be valued particularly highly by the selection committee when weighing up the films to be presented?
Above all, the quality of the film, the feasibility of its being completed and its capacity for internationalisation: it should have characteristics that enable it to be distributed and shown in different countries, at markets as well as at cultural showcases and festivals.

At San Sebastián itself, during the last few editions, audiences have already been able to see titles in non-hegemonic languages...
Yes, besides the Icelandic film Sparrows [+see also:
film review
interview: Atli Óskar Fjalarsson
interview: Rúnar Rúnarsson
film profile
, which won the Golden Shell two years ago, last year we also had the Polish movie Playground [+see also:
film review
interview: Bartosz M. Kowalski
film profile
 in the official section: Europe is very diverse, boasting many cultural productions made in non-hegemonic languages, which doesn’t mean to say that they are sidelined, just that they suffer from that problem of market access owing to the fact that they have a far smaller base of potential customers (ie, those who speak that language).

Will the Glocal in Progress titles, much like the Films in Progress ones, end up forming a kind of pool of young talent from the San Sebastián Film Festival in some way?
We like to follow “our children’s” careers: we love it when a project that was presented in the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum is subsequently featured in Films in Progress and ends up in some section or other of the festival. This is happening more and more: we keep a close eye on the creators, from the beginning until the completion of their works.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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