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

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You are in: Home > 2020. 68th Edition  > News > ‘Akelarre’, by Pablo Agüero, and ‘Courtroom 3H’ (‘Sala de Juzgado 3H’), by Antonio Méndez Esparza, to compete for the Golden Shell at the Festival’s 68th edition
‘Akelarre’, by Pablo Agüero, and ‘Courtroom 3H’ (‘Sala de Juzgado 3H’), by Antonio Méndez Esparza, to compete for the Golden Shell at the Festival’s 68th edition
Rodrigo Sorogoyen will participate out of competition in the Official Selection with the complete screening of the series ‘Antidisturbios’

The series ‘Patria’, created by Aitor Gabilondo, can be seen as a special screening
Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Akelarre, by Pablo Agüero, and Courtroom 3H, by Antonio Méndez Esparza, will compete for the Golden Shell at the Festival’s 68th edition, whose Official Selection will include the screening of two Spanish series: Antidisturbios / Riot Police, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, will be programmed out of competition, while Patria, created by Aitor Gabilondo, will be a special screening.

Pablo Agüero (Mendoza, 1977), who participated in New Directors with 77 Doronship (2009) and in the Official Selection with Eva no duerme (Eva Doesn’t Sleep,2015), will return to compete with Akelarre, winning project of the Arte Kino International Prize at the VI Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017. Shot in Basque and Spanish with Amaia Aberasturi and Alex Brendemühl heading the cast, the fifth movie by the Argentine moviemaker is a co-production between Spain, France and Argentina filmed in Basque lands and presented as a historical drama inspired by a trial for witchcraft which took place in the Basque Country in the 17th century.

Faithful to his concern for social issues, Antonio Méndez Esparza (Madrid, 1976) will once again compete for the Golden Shell with his third feature film, Courtroom 3H (Sala del Juzgado 3H), a nonfiction taking place in a Florida court specialised in judicial cases involving minors. The filmmaker living in the USA returns with this Spanish-North American co-production to the Festival where he presented his previous works: Aquí y allá (2012), winner of the Grand Prix at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes, subsequently screened in Horizontes Latinos, and Life and Nothing More (Official Selection, 2017), with which he won the Fipresci Prize and the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. 

Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Madrid, 1981) will participate for the third time in the Official Selection following Que Dios nos perdone (May God Forgive Us, Jury Prize for best screenplay, 2016) and El reino (The Realm, 2018). This time round, the director will present, out of competition, Antidisturbios / Riot Police, a 6-episode Movistar+ series about a riot police squad accused of murder after things go wrong while evicting a man from his home. The cast features Vicky Luengo, Raúl Arévalo, Álex García, Hovik Keuchkerian, Roberto Álamo, Raúl Prieto and Patrick Criado.

The Official Selection will also include the special screening of Patria, an 8-episode series created by Aitor Gabilondo for HBO Europe based on Fernando Aramburu’s best-selling book about three decades in the history of the Basque Country seen through the eyes of two families divided by the violence.  

Moreover, the Official Selection will be opened, out of competition, by a previously announced title, Rifkin’s Festival, Woody Allen’s latest rom-com, which has North American, Spanish and Italian production.



The New Directors section, which includes first and second films, will host the feature film debuts of two moviemakers with extensive previous experience in the field of short films. This is the case of David Pérez Sañudo (Bilbao, 1987) who, after having travelled to festivals all over the world and having presented Aprieta pero raramente ahoga (2017) at Zinemira-Kimuak, will compete with Ane, a feature debut shot in the Basque language about borders and communication between a mother and her missing daughter. On the other hand, the Spanish-Dutch co-production La última primavera / Last Days of Spring, set in Madrid’s Cañada Real shanty town, is directed by Isabel Lamberti (Bühl, 1987), born in Germany and raised in Spain and the Netherlands, whose short film Volando voy (2015) landed the Torino Award at Nest, the activity going at the time by the name of the International Film Students Meeting. In addition, Imanol Rayo (Pamplona, 1984), winner of the Zinemira Award with his debut Bi anai (Two Brothers, 2011), will present his second full-length film, Hil kanpaiak / Death Knell, a tale based on Miren Gorrotxategi’s novel 33 ezkil, starting with the appearance of a skull on the land belonging to a farmhouse. 

Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, the Festival section where anything goes, will host the return of Juan Cavestany (Madrid, 1967) who, after films such as Gente en sitios / People in Places (Made in Spain, 2013) and series like Vergüenza (Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, 2017), uses Un efecto óptico / An Optical Illusion / Interval to ensnare Pepón Nieto and Carmen Machi in a fantasy time loop. Zabaltegi-Tabakalera will also programme three short films: Correspondencia will follow the exchange of audiovisual letters between filmmakers Carla Simón (Barcelona, 1986), who debuted with Estiu 1993 (Verano 1993 / Summer 1993, Made in Spain, 2017), and Dominga Sotomayor (Santiago de Chile, 1985); Ya no duermo, selected for the Basque Government’s Kimuak programme, represents the debut by the young Marina Palacio (San Sebastián, 1996) after her graduation from the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE), while Laida Lertxundi (Bilbao, 1981), former head of Filmmaking studies at the same centre, will participate with Autoficción / Autofiction, an experimental work co-produced in the USA, Spain and New Zealand.

The Perlak section will include El agente topo, work of the Chilean Maite Alberdi (Santiago, 1983) about an 83 year-old widower who infiltrates a home for the elderly as a spy. Having won the EFADs-CAACI Award at the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017, this project co-produced by Chile, USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain had its world premiere in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the last Sundance Festival.

Lastly, Warner España and the San Sebastian Festival will offer a charity screening of El verano que vivimos, a romantic drama directed by Carlos Sedes (A Coruña, 1973) and starring Blanca Suárez, Javier Rey and Pablo Molinero. Completing the cast are Carlos Cuevas, Guiomar Puerta and María Pedraza.


Pablo Agüero  (Spain - France - Argentina)
Cast: Álex Brendemühl, Amaia Aberasturi, Garazi Urkola, Irati Saez de Urabain, Jone Laspiur, Lorea Ibarra, Yune Nogueiras, Daniel Fanego, Asier Oruesagasti, Iñigo de la Iglesia, Elena Úriz , Daniel Chamorro, Jeanne Insausti
VI Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum

Basque Country, 1609. The men of the region are at sea. Ana joins other girls from the village to dance in the woods. Judge Rostegui, given the task of purifying the region by the King, arrests the women and accuses them of witchcraft. He decides to do what it takes to make them confess what they know about the akelarre, a ceremony with magical connotations during which the Devil is said to initiate his servants and mate with them. Winning project of the Arte Kino International Prize at the VI Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017.

Courtroom 3H
Antonio Méndez Esparza  (Spain - USA)

The Tallahassee Unified Family Court (Florida) specialises in judicial cases involving minors. It is the only court in the United States that deals with matters relating to children and parents. The families are summoned to this court when accused of abuse, abandon or negligence in regard to the minors. The objective of this court according to the Law is to reunite families as quickly and safely as possible. The movie takes its inspiration from the words of James Baldwin: “If one really wants to know how justice is administered in a country, one goes to the unprotected and listens to their testimony”.

OFFICIAL SELECTION - Not in competition
© 2020 Mediaproducción S.L.U., Gravier Productions, Inc. y Wildside S.R.L. - Foto de Quim Vives
Rifkin's Festival
Woody Allen  (Spain - USA - Italy)
Cast: Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon, Sergi López, Wallace Shawn, Christoph Waltz
Opening Night Film
Not in competition

Rifkin’s Festival centres on a married American couple who go to the San Sebastian Film Festival and get caught up in the magic of the event, the beauty and charm of Spain and the fantasy of movies. She has an affair with a brilliant French movie director, and he falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman who lives there. A comedy-romance that resolves itself in a funny but romantic way.

Antidisturbios / Riot Police
Rodrigo Sorogoyen  (Spain)
Cast: Vicky Luengo , Raúl Arévalo, Álex García, Hovik Keuchkerian, Roberto Álamo, Raúl Prieto
Not in competition

Six riot police proceed with an eviction in the centre of Madrid, but things go wrong and a man loses his life. An Internal Affairs team is given the task of investigating the facts and the six riot police are accused of manslaughter. The squad set about trying to find their own way out, leading to their separation and, finally, complicating the situation even more. Laia, one of the Internal Affairs team, becomes obsessed with the case and ends up discovering that, behind the fateful eviction, there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Series of six episodes, each running for 50 minutes.

OFFICIAL SELECTION - Special Screenings
Aitor Gabilondo  (Spain)
Cast: Elena Irureta, Ane Gabarain, Jose Ramón Soroiz, Mikel Laskurain, Jon Olivares, Susana Abaitua, Loreto Mauleón, Iñigo Aranbarri, Eneko Sagardoy
Special Screenings

The day ETA announces its plan to give up weapons, Bittori heads for the cemetery to tell the tomb of her husband, El Txato, murdered by the terrorists, that she has decided to return to the village where they had lived their whole lives. Can she live alongside those who hounded her before and after the attack that shattered her life, and that of her family? Can she discover the identity of the hooded man who killed her husband as he headed for his transport company? Bittori’s presence disturbs the village’s false appearance of tranquillity, and above all that of her neighbour Miren, a close friend in other times, and the mother of Joxe Mari, a jailed terrorist. What happened between these two women? What poisoned the lives of their children and their husbands, so close to one another in the past? With their hidden torments and their unshakeable convictions, with their wounds and their bravery, the passionate story of their lives before and after the crater left by El Txato’s murder tells us about the impossibility of forgetting and the need for forgiveness. Eight-episode series based on Fernando Aramburu's honomymous novel and first production in Spanish by HBO Europe.

Ane / Ane Is Missing
David Pérez Sañudo  (Spain)
Cast: Patricia López Arnáiz, Jone Laspiur, Mikel Losada, Luis Callejo, Nagore Aramburu, Fernando Albizu, Gorka Aguinagalde, David Blanka

The Basque Country, 2009. Lide is a security guard for the high-speed train works, a project that generates social protests in the streets. Coming home after work and partying all night, she makes breakfast for two, but her teenage daughter, Ane, is nowhere to be found. The next day, she’s still not back. Lide isn’t particularly worried, believing that her disappearance is probably connected to their huge argument of the previous day. Looking through Ane’s things, she gradually realises that her daughter is a stranger to her. Debut film.  

© David Herranz
Hil kanpaiak / Death Knell
Imanol Rayo  (Spain)
Cast: Itziar Ituño, Eneko Sagardoy, Yon González, Asier Hernández, Iñigo Aranburu, Dorleta Urretabizkaia, Josean Bengoetxea, Kandido Uranga, Patricia López Arnaiz, Andrés Gertrúdix, Itxaso Arana

Human bones are found at the Garizmendi farmhouse. Farmers Fermín and Karmen call their son Néstor, who reports the matter to the authorities. But, when the agents turn up, the bones are gone. Suddenly, the bell on the nearby chapel begins to peal. This bad omen announces the coming of tragic events and reopens old wounds within the family and those around it. Second feature film by its director.

© Borja de Miguel (IJswater Films & Tourmalet Films)
La última primavera / Last Days of Spring
Isabel Lamberti  (Netherlands - Spain)
Cast: David Gabarre Jiménez, Agustina Mendoza Gabarre, David Gabarre Mendoza, Ángelo Gabarre Mendoza, María Duro Rego, David Gabarre Duro, Isabel Gabarre Mendoza, Angelines Gabarre Mendoza, Alejandro Gabarre Mendoza

The Gabarre-Mendoza family is celebrating their grandson’s birthday when a police inspection interrupts the party. In La Cañada Real, a shanty town outside Madrid, tensions are running high between the officials and the inhabitants given that the land has been sold and the families must leave the homes they put up with their own hands. The mother, Augustina, once full of laughter, is now tormented by fear; the father, David, a hardworking scrap merchant, tries to find a solution but is let down by the bureaucratic system. Meanwhile, the younger members of the family—David Jr, the adolescent mother and daughter-in-law Maria and the young Alejandro—struggle in their own way with their lives in transition. Debut film.  

Autoficción / Autofiction (Short film)
Laida Lertxundi  (USA - Spain -New Zealand)

Borrowing its name from the title of a literary genre, the film recognises the indeterminacy of both fiction and of the being. Film noir elements are reduced to inexpressive gestures under the bright Californian sunlight. Field recordings made in New Zealand can be heard while the women talk to one another about motherhood, abortion, break-ups and anxiety. A civil rights demonstration moves slowly along a street. The bodies appear in states of weariness, injured or relaxed, while the songs of Irma Thomas and Goldberg evoke the passing of time and an uncertain future. 

Correspondencia / Correspondence (Short film)
Carla Simón, Dominga Sotomayor  (Spain - Chile)

Visual correspondence between Carla Simón and Dominga Sotomayor in which they share little pieces of their lives and what has led them to tell the stories they tell on the big screen and to become the creators they are today. Reflections on the cinema, the family, inheritance and motherhood that intermingle with realities which at times change the filmmakers’ perception of the world. 

Un efecto óptico / An Optical Illusion - Interval
Juan Cavestany  (Spain)
Cast: Carmen Machi, Pepón Nieto

A couple from Burgos, Alfredo and Teresa, travel to New York where they intend to “switch off” and do all of the things listed in the guidebook. But the moment they land they start to notice signs, some subtle and others rather less so, that in fact they’re not in the city sold to them by the travel agency. So where are they? 

© Gariza Films
Ya no duermo (Short film)
Marina Palacio  (Spain)
Cast: Jesús Palacio Erauskin, Miguel Burgueño Herrero
Zinemira Kimuak

Ya no duermo is a family-made movie showing us Miguel and his Uncle Kechus, who want to shoot a film about vampires. In that endeavour to create something together, reality and fiction alternate, in a game which also shows the particular relationship established between boy and adult. 

El agente topo / The Mole Agent
Maite Alberdi  (Chile - USA - Germany - Netherlands - Spain)
Cast: Sergio Chamy, Rómulo Aitken, Marta Olivares, Berta Ureta, Zoila González
VI Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum

Rómulo is a private eye. When he’s hired to investigate the home for the elderly of which his mother is a resident, Rómulo decides to train Sergio (83 years of age), who has never worked as a detective, to live in the home for a while as an undercover agent. Once infiltrated, finding it seriously difficult to assume his role as a mole and hide his adorable and affectionate personality, he gradually becomes, more than a spy, an ally for his endearing companions. Premiered in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance Festival. EFADs-CAACI Award at the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017.

El verano que vivimos
Carlos Sedes  (Spain)
Cast: Blanca Suárez, Javier Rey, Pablo Molinero, Carlos Cuevas, Guiomar Puerta, María Pedraza
Charity Screening

A young female journalist receives a series of mysterious obituary notices. None of them signed. Always dedicated to a woman called Lucía. The notices hint at a story of love, friendship and betrayal set in the Jerez vineyards during the summer of 1958. A never-ending love that the protagonists, despite the forty years to have past, don’t want to forget. Some moments last for a lifetime. 

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