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

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You are in: Home > 2019. 67th Edition  > Festival Diary > The ritual of watching cinema on a big screen
The ritual of watching cinema on a big screen
Saturday, September 21st, 2019

The 67th San Sebastian Film festival kicked off last night with an opening gala presented by actresses Cayetana Guillén Cuervo and Loreto Mauleón at the Kursaal. Whereas last year the focus was on comedy, the thread that ran through this year’s opening gala was a tribute to genre cinema together with a celebration of the ritual of watching films in cinemas on a big screen without distractions in what the hosts described as “the ritual of taking a seat in a film theatre, hypnotised by the light of the projector.”

As usual, the gala hosted the presentation of the FIPRESCI Grand Prix awarded to the best film of the year chosen by the International Federation of Film Critics which on this occasion went to Roma by Alfonso Cuarón. On behalf of Cuarón, the film’s producer, Gabriela Rodríguez, picked up the prize from Marta Armengou, the President of the Catalan Association of Film Critics and Writers (ACCEC).

Various guest personalities then announced the section contents and activities which this year were divided into genres rather than sections – comedy, thrillers, fantasy and horror, drama and social cinema. This was followed by a brief appearance by the members of the Official Jury chaired by the Irish director Neil Jordan. “I suppose we’ll have to ask ourselves the perennial question, through the next ten days, as to what cinema is. To me, it’s very simple. Cinema is what you experience when you sit with strangers in a darkened room and watch someone else’s dreams on the screen. Something you can’t experience between the pages of a book, on a stage, on an iPhone, or even on a television screen. So, over the course of the festival, we will do just that. What people have done since George Méliès took his trip to the moon. And maybe we won’t be strangers by the end of it”, Jordan said.

Finally, the director Roger Michell, the producer David Bernardi and the actor Sam Neill came on stage to introduce Blackbird, the opening film in the Official Selection that was screened after the ceremony. 

 
The Mexican producer, Gabriela Rodríguez, receives the FIPRESCI Grand Prix.
The Mexican producer, Gabriela Rodríguez, receives the FIPRESCI Grand Prix.
Sam Neill, Roger Michell and David Bernardi introduce Blackbird, the opening film in the Official Selection.
Sam Neill, Roger Michell and David Bernardi introduce Blackbird, the opening film in the Official Selection.

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