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You are in: Home > 2021. 69th Edition  > News > San Sebastian Festival, Kutxa Fundazioa and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola look back at the changes experienced by the Festival during the Spanish Transition
San Sebastian Festival, Kutxa Fundazioa and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola look back at the changes experienced by the Festival during the Spanish Transition
Kutxa Kultur Plaza will host, until 20 February 2022, an exhibition including 30 photographs portraying a decade marked by experimentation and the shift to democracy, but also by profound instability

The show ‘Festival in transition: the San Sebastian International Film Festival in times of change (1976-1985)’ is curated by the team of the research project ‘Zinemaldia 70. All possible stories”
Thursday, December 16th, 2021

The exhibition Festival in transition: the San Sebastian International Film Festival in times of change (1976-1985) opened today in Kutxa Kultur Plaza, on Tabakalera’s fourth floor, organised by the Festival, the Kutxa Fundazioa and the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE). The show includes 30 photographs looking at how the Festival tackled the years of the Spanish Transition, a decade marked by experimentation and the shift to democracy, but also by profound instability.

The exhibition is curated by the team of the Zinemaldia 70. All possible stories research project, directed by Pablo La Parra Pérez.

Demonstration in memory of Josu Zabala, killed by the Civil Guard in 1976, as it passes in front of Victoria Eugenia Theatre.
Photo: Arturo Delgado
Discussion in the Cinema by Women section at the 1978 edition. From left to right: Nelly Kaplan, Vivian Ostrovsky, Rosine Grange, Paula Delsol and Herta Álvarez.
Photo: Foto Gallego


RUPTURES OF THE TRANSITION

While the show running last February rescued historic images revealing “other approaches” to the Festival’s early years, this second exhibition focuses on “some of the ruptures” to have taken place during the years of the Spanish Transition in the shape of some thirty images from the Festival and Fototeka Kutxa archive photo collections.

From 1977, the Festival management was taken over by San Sebastian City Council following three decades of archaic structure under Franco. The Board of Governors started to welcome new voices particularly including artists opposed to the Franco regime like Nestor Basterretxea and Eduardo Chillida, in addition to representatives of residents’ associations, film clubs and individuals devoted to survival of the Festival such as José Ángel Herrero-Velarde and Luis Gasca.

Meeting with the press during San Sebastian Festival in 1978: Antxon Eceiza together with Peter Besas, correspondent of Variety.
Photo: Foto Gallego
Pedro Almodóvar, Olvido Gara (Alaska) and Blanca Sánchez making their way up the stairs of the Victoria Eugenia Theatre for the premiere of Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (1980).
Photo: Fotocar

During these years, San Sebastian became a meeting point and place of homage to filmmakers in exile and censured by Franco’s dictatorship. The Festival broke away from its elitist tradition to introduce more democratic audiences on extending its screenings and talks to working neighbourhoods and municipalities throughout the Basque Country thanks to its Barrios y Pueblos section. The screens welcomed new creators including Iván Zulueta and Pedro Almodóvar, who can be seen in the Kutxa Kultur exhibition alongside, among others, Pilar Miró, Antxon Eceiza, Rafael Ruiz Balerdi, Mariano Ferrer and Mirentxu Loyarte.

The Festival turned to new languages in the shape of pioneer initiatives such as the Festival Vídeo, created and directed by Guadalupe Echevarría between 1982 and 1984, while the cinemas were becoming sounding boards for the struggles underway at the time. From the insumisión movement of those who refused to do their military service to the Basque conflict, and from denunciation of the Latin American dictatorship (some photographs document the demonstrations against Pinochet and Somoza held outside the Victoria Eugenia Theatre) to the demands of the feminist and LGBTIQ+ movements, images abound of artists including Alaska, Bibiana Fernández, José Pérez Ocaña and Ángel Pavlovsky.

In short, the exhibition invites you to delve into those years of change experienced by the Festival during the Transition, years when the foundations were lain for many of the identifying features that define San Sebastian Festival as it stands today, four decades down the line.

Filmmaker Iván Zulueta at the entrance to the Victoria Eugenia Theatre in 1981.
Photo: Estudio Kursaal
Pepa Flores, Marisol, at the tribute to ETA member Pakito Arriaran in Arrasate-Mondragón on 29 September 1985.
Photo: Foto Gallego


THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION ON THE FESTIVAL’S PAST

In 2020, the Z70 project, result of the joint work carried out by the Festival and the EQZE, began to address the Festival’s photographic heritage in two lines of work: conservation, classification and research of the Festival archive photo collection and the study and perfecting of the Fototeka Kutxa collection classification. The project aims to highlight the importance of the documents (letters, photographs, press archive, books and magazines...) stored in the Festival archive since 1953. It also aspires to prompt thought and discussion on the past, present and future of the Festival, together with dialogue critical towards film creation and contemporary thought.

The exhibition, which opened today (December 16), will run until 20 February 2022. It can be visited from 09:00-21:00 Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 22:00 on Saturdays, and 10:00 to 21:00 on Sundays.

 
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