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65th San Sebastian Film Festival
22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2018. 66th Edition  > News > One of the Donostia Awards at the 66th edition of the San Sebastian Festival will pay tribute to the career of legendary actress Judi Dench
One of the Donostia Awards at the 66th edition of the San Sebastian Festival will pay tribute to the career of legendary actress Judi Dench
Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

The British actress Judi Dench will receive the prestigious Donostia Award at the 66th edition of the San Sebastian Festival next month. The Festival’s highest honorary award will be presented on Tuesday, September 25th, prior to the screening of Trevor Nunn’s Red Joan, in which Dench plays a woman whose tranquil life is suddenly disrupted when she’s arrested by MI5 and accused of providing intelligence to Communist Russia.

This will be Dench’s first visit to San Sebastian. The seven-time Academy Award® nominee received the Best Supporting Actress statuette 20 years ago for her potrayal of Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. The Oscar® was also a great acknowledgement to Dench and her career in theatre, particluarly with her connection to William Shakespeare’s greatest works. She launched her career on the stage at distinguished theatres such as the Old Vic and The National in London and later at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon where she played many of Shakespeare’s great dames.

Since her cinema debut in 1964, Dench has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films working with some of the top directors in the business, including Stephen Frears, James Ivory, Kenneth Branagh, Franco Zeffirelli, Sally Potter, Clint Eastwood and Sam Mendes. She has garnered dozens of accolades for roles as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown (1997); the eccentric Armande Voizin in Chocolat (2000); the novelist Iris Murdoch Iris (2001); a theatre impresario in Mrs Henderson presents (2005); a conflicted teacher in Notes on a Scandal (2006); a mother searching for her stolen son in Philomena (2013); once again as Queen Victoria in Victoria & Abdul (2017); and as M, Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6 - a role which she has played in seven James Bond films.

Trevor Nunn, a prolific theatre director, who has also directed Dench on the British stage, returns to film with Red Joan. His previous film credits include Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996) and Lady Jane (1986) – both of which screened in Official Selection at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Next year, Dench will star in Kenneth Branagh’s latest film Artemis Fowl, as well as Andy Goddard’s Six Minutes to Midnight.


Tickets for the Donostia Award ceremony at which Judi Dench will receive her accolade are on sale on the Festival website at the price of 45 euros.

The award will be presented prior to screening of Trevor Nunn's film Red Joan on Tuesday 25 at 19:30.

Talks with 2018 Donostia Awards in Tabakalera

Last year the International Centre for Contemporary Culture Tabakalera began the prologue to the San Sebastian International Film Festival with the screening of The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003), linked to the selection of The Disaster Artist (James Franco, 2017) at the Official Section, which would get afterwards the Golden Shell.

This year, the Tabakalera cinema proposes during September a dialogue with the Donostia Awards. The goal is to honor the honored, screening films that are fundamental in their career and to offer the city the possibility to watch again -or discover- in the big screen.

  • Saturday, September 8, 8:00 PM: first Academy Award nomination
    Mrs. Brown, John Madden, UK, 1997, 103'
  • Friday, September 14, 8:00 PM: Kore-eda’s first feature film
    Maboroshi no hikari / Maborosi, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 1995, 110'
  • Saturday, September 15: double-pop session
    8:00 PM Twins, Ivan Reitman, USA, 1988, 105'
    10:00 PM Batman Returns, Tim Burton, USA, 1992, 130'

Red Joan
Trevor Nunn  (UK)
Cast: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson

The year is 2000 and Joan Stanley is living in contented retirement in suburbia at the turn of the millennium. Her tranquil life is suddenly disrupted when she's arrested by MI5 and accused of providing intelligence to Communist Russia. Cut to 1938 where Joan is a Cambridge physics student who falls for young communist Leo Galich and through him, begins to see the world in a new light. Working at a top-secret nuclear research facility during WWII, Joan comes to the realisation that the world is on the brink of mutually assured destruction. Confronted with an impossible question - what price would you pay for peace? - Joan must choose between betraying her country and loved ones or saving them.

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