San Sebastian Film Festival director discusses plans for 2021 – Deadline


Spain’s major film event, San Sebastian film festival was one of the few major international film festivals to host the physical version last year as the pandemic raged around the world. Flashed 12 months ago, the Covid is far from behind us, but the festival is drawn into this strange new world. After the summer when Cannes and Venice were already successful in face-to-face events, San Sebastian returned to its typical niche, serving as a second platform for other major festival titles and a showcase for them. new Spanish films. To do.

The program is full of intrigue of the international premiere of the Chinese epic a second – Famous for being pulled from the Berlin International Film Festival 2019 program at the last moment – for the first screening of new photos by Javier Bardem Good boss And new photos of the big Spanish names Paco Plaza and Luis Tosal.

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Like other major European events, San Sebastian has no objection to courting certain controversies in its choice, and this year there is no difference in the decision to award the Honorary Donostia awards. Johnny Depp He received a lot of criticism. Meanwhile, the introduction of this year’s Gender Neutral Acting Award is widely known as a progressive movement.

A week before the event, Deadline sat down with festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, to discuss the organization of the event.

deadline: First, tell us about Covid’s plans for this year. We know that attendees do not need to post negative tests at this festival. What restrictions remain from last year? Also, are there any new measures?

JOSÉ LUIS REBORDINOS: This year’s Covid-related security measures are very similar to those of last year. The number of seats in cinemas is 60% and the use of face masks is compulsory in all cinemas.

deadline: What do you think of the city now? Has the number of tourists declined this summer?

Luis Lebordinos: The city is currently crowded with tourists and walking around feels quite normal.

deadline: Do you expect a limited number of international representatives given the continuing difficulty of traveling abroad?

Luis Lebordinos: It is not yet clear how Covid will affect the number of international representatives. Last year there was around 40% attendance compared to the regular edition. Without last minute cancellations, this year’s attendance will be close to 80% of the normal year.

deadline:Your opening film, a second, At the very end of 2019, I was taken out of the Berlin Film Festival and had a fascinating journey. I think you’ve seen a movie, what’s it like?

“a second”

Luis Lebordinos: It’s an international first for San Sebastian, but I don’t think it’s that important. It will be screened in Toronto the next day, so we can say that it kind of shares this international premiere. This film is a beautiful tribute to a film that was only seen in China, which was released exclusively in China. I am very happy that the film can finally start an international career here.

deadline: You are introducing a gender neutral actor award this year – tell us about your decision.

Luis Lebordinos: The introduction of gender neutral actor awards has already been undertaken by festivals such as Berlin, Mar del Plata and Huelva. Just a few days ago, the Netherlands Film Academy made exactly the same decision. For us, when some reps define themselves as non-binary, we consider it important that the acting price does not mean gender attribution. At the same time, we believe that this position is a step towards a celebration of egalitarianism.

deadline: The Donostia Awards for Johnny Depp’s decision drew some criticism that you leveled in a recent statement. Did you anticipate such negative acceptance when making the decision?

Luis Lebordinos: The opposition to this award comes from a particular area, I agree with you. But others support this price. Our position is clear. We reward the great actors and producers who are the icons of cinema of the 20th and 21st centuries. Johnny Depp has never been arrested or convicted of abusing women. I have no further comments on this question.

deadline: One of the critics was the Spanish Association of Women Film Directors. Do you think there could be some form of manifestation at the festival?

Luis Lebordinos: I don’t know yet, but anyway, if it happens, I have nothing to say as long as it respects him.

deadline: Karlovy Vary celebrates Depp again this year, did you discuss it at the festival?

Luis Lebordinos: Despite being very close to the organizer of Karlovy Vary, we didn’t. I heard it four or five days before the press release was due. We each contacted Depp on our side.

deadline: We will also be hosting a gender equality workshop to discuss the Depp controversy. What would you like to achieve with it?

Luis Lebordinos: Our gender equality workshop was scheduled before the announcement of the Donostia Awards to Johnny Depp. Broadening of the scope of target subjects

deadline: You also give the Donostia Award Marion Cotillard Why did you choose her this year?

Luis Lebordinos: For many years, we have wanted to award Marion Cotillard the Donostia Prize. This is because of the quality of her performance and the quality of the movies she appeared in. It is finally possible this year and I am very proud and honored.

deadline: From a business perspective, how tricky has the pandemic period been for the festival? How has the decline in ticket sales affected you?

Luis Lebordinos: The pandemic is mainly about not being able to make certain decisions until the last moment. Cinemas in the Basque Country had 35% seats until August 30, and it was not possible to organize a festival in this situation. Since that day, the cinema has a capacity of 60%, which means that 40% of the capacity of the festival, or 40% of the box office, has been lost. The box office drop in 2020 was around 600,000 euros compared to 2019.

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