It has established itself as one of the most important cinema festivals in the world, being one of the 14 "A" category competitive festivals acredited by the FIAPF. It has hosted several important events of the history of cinema, such as the international premiers of Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock (who attended the Festival) or Melinda & Melinda by Woody Allen and the European premier of Star Wars. Actors and directors such as Bette Davis, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Richard Gere, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mel Gibson, Demi Moore, Naomi Watts or Brad Pitt have attended the festival since its inception. It was the first festival attended by Roman Polanski and it was a key element to advance the professional careers of Francis Ford Coppola or Pedro Almodóvar, for instance.
- Official selection (world premiers);
- New directors (first and second directors' films);
- Horizontes Latinos (A competition between the most interesting Latin American features of the year not previously screened in Spain);
- the Pearls Section (A selection of the best films of the year not yet released in Spain);
- Zabaltegi (heterogeneous section showcasing the biggest and best movies of the year);
- Culinary Zinema: Film and gastronomy (section offers a non-competitive selection of gastronomy-related films accompanied by themed dinners);
- Savage Cinema (offering a non-competitive selection of the latest and most outstanding productions in the rapidly growing field of adventure and action sports films);
- Zinemira (A section on Basque film);
- Made in Spain (Non-competitive selection showcasing Spanish films of the year);
- International Film Students Meeting;
- Movies for kids (A non-competitive section with film premieres specially chosen for younger audiences);
- Classic retrospective.
- Thematic retrospective.
- Films in Progress.
An international jury evaluates the films in the Official Section and awards the following prizes:
- Golden Shell for the best film (for the producer),
- Silver Shell for the best director,
- Silver Shell for the best actress,
- Silver Shell for the best actor,
- Jury Prize for the best cinematography,
- Jury Prize for the best screenplay,
- Special Jury Prize.
The following are the main awards for films in the pararell sections:
- New Directors Award - 50,000 Euros - is shared by the winning film's director and the Spanish importer;
- Horizontes Award - 35,000 Euros - for feature films produced totally or partially in Latin America, directed by filmmakers of Latin origin, set around or dealing with Latin communities in the rest of the world.
- The Audience Award (the Pearls Section) is made up of two different awards: a 1st Award for Best Film, carrying €50,000 euros, and a 2nd Award for Best European Film carrying €20,000. Goes to the distributor of the film in Spain.
- Youth Award: A jury composed of youngsters aged between 18 and 25 chooses a film from those competing for the New Directors Award;
- The Irizar Basque Film Award to the best basque film presented in world premiere in any section of the Festival - €20,000 for the producer or producers of the winning film.
- The “ANOTHER LOOK” - to one of the films presented in any section of the Festival. This Award will consist of acquiring the right to broadcast the film on television for the general public.
The International Film Students Meeting Awards:
- The Panavision Award - HD Genesis camera and Primo standard lenses for four weeks of filming, or a voucher worth €10,000 for renting any kind of Panavision material, for the winning director.
- The Freak Independent Film Agency Award - the free submissions of the winner film to 50 international film festivals.
- Three candidate directors to participate with their works in the Short Film Corner at the next Cannes Festival.
- The Torino Award - the winner will be guaranteed attendance to a TorinoFilmLab programme within 2 years after the award is given.
- The BioBio Award the short film awarded with the Panavision Award will be directly shortlisted for the BioBio Cine, Festival Internacional de Conpeción (Chile).
- The Orona Award - €5,000 for the director the most cutting edge short film in the Meeting.
- Submitted feature films must be over 60 minutes in length, have been produced in 12 months prior to the start of the Festival and respect the rules or guidelines for each of its sections.
- World and international premieres will be given priority in the selection process. However, each of the Festival sections has its own requirements and specifications.
- Films produced or co-produced in countries other than Spain must not have participated in any other festival taking place prior to the dates of the San Sebastian International Film Festival. This excludes festivals accredited by the FIAPF in the category “non-competitive festivals” and national competitions at festivals in their countries of production.
- Films produced or co-produced in countries other than Spain must not have participated in film events in their country of production if these are accredited by the FIAPF as falling into the category: “competitive festivals”.
- The inclusion of films in VOD platforms is not allowed, with the exception of cases where their use is strictly professional and with restricted access.
- New Directors. First or second feature films by their directors. Have not been premiered in any country other than their country or countries of production.
- Spanish films competing in the Official Selection, New Directors and Zinemira Premieres must be world premieres;
- Films produced in countries other than Spain will not be accepted if they have been screened at any other festival prior to or during the San Sebastian Festival.
Feature films can also participate in the New Directors Section provided that they Are the first or second feature films by their directors.
Audio language: original
Subtitles language: english, french spanish
Documents and Other Requisite Items
- Sign up via official site;
- Fill out special for after registration process;
- Send DVD with the film by mail.
The transport and insurance costs of the selected copies will be paid by the participant until their arrival at the Festival offices.
Selection Media Type: DVD, Blu-Ray (region free), DCP
Screening Media Type: 35 mm, DCP
World premiere required.
Jury and Organizers
José Luis Rebordinos, festival director.