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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 > ‘ARZAK Since 1897’ to open Culinary Zinema
‘ARZAK Since 1897’ to open Culinary Zinema
The other world premieres in the section are ‘Camí lliure / Free Way (Vía libre)’ and ‘La receta del equilibrio’

The Festival will host the international premiere of ‘The Truffle Hunters’, screened at Sundance and included in the Cannes 2020 official selection

Twelve renowned chiefs will participate in the themed dinners, which will take place at the Basque Culinary Center
Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

ARZAK Since 1897, the documentary by Asier Altuna about the restaurant run by Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena, will open the Culinary Zinema section which, at the San Sebastian Festival’s 68th edition, will have another three feature films. Camí lliure / Free Way (Vía libre), by Ángel Parra, also has a strong family component and shows the relationship between chefs Raül Balam and his mother Carme Ruscalleda, while La receta del equilibrio, by Óscar Bernàcer, places the chef Ricard Camarena before the challenge of opening his premises after the lockdown. Lastly, The Truffle Hunters, by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, brings a portrait of several elderly people and their search for the coveted white truffle in Italy’s Piedmont region.

ARZAK Since 1897Camí lliure / Free Way (Vía libre) and La receta del equilibrio will screen in San Sebastian as world premieres, while The Truffle Hunters will be an international premiere.

Asier Altuna (Bergara, Gipuzkoa, 1969) returns to the Festival after participating in sections such as the Official Selection, where he competed with Amama (Irizar Award, 2015), having screened Bertsolari (2011) out of competition, and participated in New Directors and the Basque Cinema Gala, where he respectively presented Aupa Etxebeste! (Youth Award, 2005) and Agur Etxebeste! (2019), both co-directed with Telmo Esnal. In ARZAK Since 1897, which participated in the Lau Haizetara Documentary Co-production Forum in 2018, he analyses the transform of traditional cookery into the new cuisine d’auteur through the Restaurante Arzak. Juan Mari and his daughter Elena, who has been running the business for some time now, are the leading characters in a film also featuring the appearance of colleagues including Ferran Adrià, Pedro Subijana, Joan Roca, Karlos Arguiñano, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Dabiz Muñoz, among others.  

For his part, Ángel Parra (Madrid, 1978) gets to grips in Camí lliure / Free Way (Vía libre) with the story of how Catalan chef Raül Balam overcame the odds, and how, having beaten his drug addiction, he had the opportunity to run the prestigious restaurant of his mother, Carme Ruscalleda, but rejected the offer to follow his own path. With different responsibilities as a director and producer with TVE, Ángel Parra already approached foodie films in Soul (2017), a documentary about chefs Eneko Atxa and Jiro Ono.

Author of different fictional and non-fictional works, Óscar Bernàcer (Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1978) has already collaborated with Ricard Camarena over three seasons of the documentary series Cuineres i cuiners. Now, in La receta del equilibrio, he once again works with the Valencian chef, portrayed as he sets about the difficult task of reopening his restaurants after the lockdown while the local vegetable garden, heedless of the pandemic, continues its natural cycle of growth.

Having co-directed their first feature films, The Last Race (2018), Michael Dweck (Brooklyn, New York) and Gregory Kershaw (Utica, New York) join forces once again on The Truffle Hunters, which had its premiere at Sundance Festival and is part of the official selection for Cannes 2020, cancelled due to Covid-19. The film follows a handful of men in their seventies and eighties who, accompanied by their dogs, search the forests of Italy’s Piedmont region for the rare and coveted Alba white truffle. 


The four titles in the section will be accompanied by themed dinners, to take place from September 21-24 at the Basque Culinary Center. Tickets for the screenings and dinners will go on sale on the Festival and Kutxabank websites at 09:00 on Friday, September 4, at a price of 70 euros. Tickets for the films alone will be available for purchase at a price of 7.90 euros from September 14 for screenings on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, and from the 15th in the case of the session on the 24th.  

Seven famous chefs who have trained and worked at Arzak will provide the opening dinner (on the 21st), corresponding to the film ARZAK Since 1897. This is an ensemble dinner revisiting and paying homage to the universe generated by Juan Mari and Elena Arzak. The male and female chefs participating in the dinner are Yolanda León and Juanjo Pérez, from the restaurant Cocinandos in León (one Michelin star), Pablo González, from the restaurant La Cabaña in Murcia (two Michelin stars), Xabier Diez from the restaurant Xarma in Donostia-San Sebastian, Bruno Oteiza from the restaurant Gatxupa in Donostia-San Sebastian, Xanty Elías from the restaurant Acánthum in Huelva (one Michelin star) and Fernando Bárcena, professor at the Basque Culinary Center and head chef at the Restaurante Arzak for eleven years.

The dinner on the 22nd will be laid on by Ricard Camarena. The Valencian chef from the Ricard Camarena Restaurant, an eatery with two Michelin stars, will spell out his gastronomic proposal based on flavour and respect for the product. His is a creative cuisine, committed to tradition and flecked with cosmopolitan, Mediterranean and timeless influences. In 2018, Ricard Camarena received the National Gastronomy Prize as Best head chef from Spain’s Royal Academy of Gastronomy. 

On the 23rd, chefs Edorta Lamo, from the restaurant Arrea! in Kanpezu, Araba, Óscar García from the Baluarte restaurant in Soria (one Michelin star) and Andrea Tumbarello, from the Don Giovanni restaurant in Madrid, will serve an original dinner focussing on the truffle. Three different gastronomic viewpoints reflected in three different types of truffle from three different territories: Piedmont, Soria and Araba.

Raül Ballam, son of Carme Ruscalleda and chef of the restaurant Moments (two Michelin stars) in Barcelona, will lay on a dinner bringing this edition of Culinary Zinema to a close. Moments takes the shape of a gastronomic space based on the concept of the San Pau restaurant, created by Carme Ruscalleda, modern Catalan cuisine taking its inspiration from the seasonal products of the Maresme region. 

The dinners have been designed according to a strict protocol of safety and hygiene in view of COVID-19. All professionals participating in the dinners, both in the kitchen and in the dining room, will wear specific IPE protection equipment. Hand sanitiser dispensers will also be available in the different spaces, where the diners will be invited to proceed in certain directions to prevent cross contamination. Access to the dinners will be strictly controlled. The number of attendees has also been reduced to 60 people, as per current regulations, and seating at the tables will be distributed according to the bookings made and observing the recommended distance. All of these measures will make the Basque Culinary Center a safe space.

The Culinary Zinema section is sponsored by Nespresso.


ARZAK since 1897
Asier Altuna  (Spain)
Opening Night Film

When Juan Mari told his mother he wanted to study catering and continue in the tradition of the family business, she tried to convince him to choose a career offering a better future. Sixty years later, the social prestige enjoyed by gastronomy is enormous, the change has been revolutionary and today many children encouraged by their parents dream of becoming great chefs. Juan Mari has lived this evolution in first person and has been a fundamental part of it. Arzak, the family eatery situated at the top of San Sebastian’s Alto de Miracruz, has become one of the world’s best restaurants. Today, the new generation has taken up the baton. Elena Arzak, Juan Mari’s daughter, now runs the restaurant and her father is gradually retiring. The time has come to look back, to take stock of a whole life; to analyse the transformation of traditional cuisine into the new cuisine d’auteur.

Camí lliure / Free Way
Ángel Parra  (Spain)

Camí Lliure (Free Way) is a film that goes deep into the mind, heart and creativity of chef Raül Balam. Achieving excellence in the competitive culinary world is a task that requires hard work, which is no problem for him, because that example has always been present in his mother, Carme Ruscalleda. For several years, Raül was immersed in the world of drug addiction, which meant he was unable to be a rational person who liked to enjoy life. It also prevented him from growing more professionally. Nevertheless, he finally succeeded in standing up and being the person that he is today, the real Raül. His family is a fundamental pillar and now he sets himself increasingly higher challenges in which he combines his passion for cooking with the extravagant daily activities he publishes on Instagram. This documentary shows part of his journey since the closure of Sant Pau, his mother's 3-star restaurant.

La receta del equilibrio
Óscar Bernàcer  (Spain)

Ricard Camarena bases his cuisine on Valencia’s local vegetable production. His constant search for harmony between flavours has seduced the critics and crossed borders. Alongside Mari Carmen Bañuls, the brain behind the management of their restaurants, the two form an indissoluble team which have overcome great adversity to achieve success, vouched for by two Michelin stars and the recent National Gastronomy Prize. The couple are enjoying their most balanced moment. Balanced? The Covid-19 outbreak has thrown them up against a hitherto unheard-of challenge: to reopen their restaurants with the uncertainty of the “new normal”. Heedless of the pandemic, the vegetable garden continues its natural growth cycle and offers the chef a new horizon of flavours.

The Truffle Hunters
Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw  (USA - Italy - Greece)

Deep in the forests of Northern Italy resides the prized white Alba truffle. Desired by the wealthiest patrons in the world, it remains a pungent but rarified mystery. It cannot be cultivated or found, even by the most resourceful of modern excavators. The only souls on Earth who know how to dig it up are a tiny circle of canines and their silver-haired human companions, Italian elders with walking sticks and devilish senses of humor who only scour for the truffle at night so as not to leave any clues for others. Still, this small enclave of hunters induces a feverish buying market that spans the globe.


(Opening Night Film)
Basque Culinary Center
Yolanda León y Juanjo Pérez (Cocinandos), Pablo González (La Cabaña), Xabier Diez (Xarma), Bruno Oteiza (Gatxupa), Xanty Elias (Acanthum), Fernando Bárcena (Basque Culinary Center)

Basque Culinary Center
Ricard Camarena (Ricard Camarena Restaurant)

Basque Culinary Center
Edorta Lamo (Arrea!), Óscar García (Baluarte), Andrea Tumbarello (Don Giovanni)

Basque Culinary Center
Raül Balam (Moments)

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