San Sebastian boosts its industrial side and the promotion of the Spanish audiovisual industry

Emiliano de Pablos
25 September 2022

Co-production agreements continue to emerge as producers need partners beyond their territories to secure financing for their projects.

The 70th edition of the San Sebastian Festival, held from September 16 to 24, confirmed that the Spanish production sector is still in full swing, driven both by the latest art-house cinema and the vibrant production of drama series.

The recent edition of San Sebastian also confirmed the growth of the festival supported by the rise of its industrial side. "Industry-wise, more and more things are happening here, and for me it's more interesting to be in San Sebastian," explained Iván Díaz, director of Filmax's international division, which markets Cesc Gay's choral comedy "Historias para no contar" (Stories Not to Be Told), which premiered during the festival at the Victoria Eugenia Theater as an RTVE Gala.

Two types of industry announcements took precedence during the Donostia event. First, the agreements made by sales agents with many of the films in competition in the weeks leading up to the event. Next, co-production agreements continue to emerge as producers need partners beyond their territories to secure financing for their projects.

Among the foreign marketing agreements secured by Spanish agents, particularly of note are Latido Films, which acquired the international sales rights for two documentaries: "Tequila, sexo, drogas y rock and roll" (Tequila, sex, drugs, and rock and roll), by director-producer Álvaro Longoria, and "Las paredes hablan" (The Walls Talk), by acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Saura.

Film Factory Entertainment, the Barcelona-based agency founded by Vicente Canales, acquired the international sales rights for"Mibu, la luna en un plato" (Mibu. the Moon on a Dish), a documentary by Roger Zanui that opened the festival's Culinary Zinema section.

In addition, Film Factory added to its growing list of Colombian acquisitions with "El otro hijo" (The Other Son), Juan Sebastián Quebrada's debut feature film, currently in production, which during its development stage was selected by several international events, including the San Sebastian Co-Production Forum.

Underlining the prominence of its industrial activity, the event in San Sebastian hosted the first edition of the Creative Investors Conference, which took place on September 19 and 20, hosted by CAA Media Finance.

At this meeting, international executives and investors discussed the state and future of the film business in a total of eight panels, chaired by consultant Wendy Mitchell.

"It has been an edition of San Sebastian with a particularly strong industry area, with those conferences with investors that have been a great success and a great source of networking," said Adolfo Blanco, founder of the production-distribution company A Contracorriente Films.

Spanish Screenings on Tour

Continuing its energetic drive in international markets, Spanish film and export authorities presented the Spanish Screenings on Tour 2022initiative, which will multiply Spain's presence at the next edition of Ventana Sur, Latin America's leading film and television market.

The Spanish Screenings On Tour Awards will consist of the inclusion in the Spanish showcase at the Buenos Aires event of a project presented at each of the four festivals with which Spanish Screenings has established partnerships (Sitges, Weird, Abycine Lanza, and Conecta Fiction).

Beatriz Navas, general director of the ICAA, the director of the San Sebastian Festival, José Luis Rebordinos, the director of the Malaga Festival, Juan Antonio Vigar, and Pablo Conde, director of fashion, habitat and cultural industries of ICEX, presented the details of this commitment.


Spanish presence on the list of winners

As for the awards, "Los reyes del mundo" (The Kings of the World), by Colombian Laura Mora, won the Gold Shell for best film. Sold internationally by Film Factory Entertainment, its Spanish rights were acquired by Bteam Pictures.

Spanish actress Carla Quílez also won the Silver Shell for best leading performance—ex aequo with "Winter Boy"actor Paul Kircher—for her work in Pilar Palomero's film "La Maternal."

Renata Lerman won in the Best Supporting Performance category for "El suplente" (The Substitute), a co-production with the Spanish production company Arcadia Motion Pictures.

In addition, the Irizar Basque Film Award went to Mikel Gurrea's film "Suro" (Cork), a production of the Spanish companies Lastor Media, Malmo Pictures, and Irusoin, also winner of the Fipresci Award.

Additionally, the Audience Award for Best European Film went to "As Bestas" (The Beasts), the Spanish-French co-production directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.


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