San Sebastian celebrates its 70th birthday with star selfies

Jessica Chastain, the last winner of the Oscar for best actress, broke the protocol last year and Olatz Miner and Román Cid had her selfie./San Sebastián Film Festival

Jessica Chastain, the last winner of the Oscar for best actress, broke the protocol last year and Olatz Miner and Román Cid had her selfie. / San Sebastian Festival

The Zinemaldia commemorates seven decades of history with an overwhelming exhibition at Tabakalera for which it asked the people of San Sebastian for their photographs with illustrious guests

Oskar Belategui

San Sebastián has something that differentiates it from other festivals: the way in which its inhabitants turn to the event. The cinemas are filled with even the most unknown film from a lost section and the people of San Sebastian live for ten days awaiting their illustrious visitors. The surroundings of the María Cristina hotel and the Kursaal are the territory in which moviegoers who can see their myths in person and even take a selfie with them satisfy their dreams.

The Zinemaldia will be 70 years old this September and will celebrate it in a big way –if the pandemic allows it– from 16 to 24. But before that, it wanted to pay tribute to its public, the media and the industry with an overwhelming exhibition at Tabakalera, which collects thousands of images from the history of the contest. ‘Imagine a festival’ is the title of the exhibition prepared over a year, the visit to which is free and which will remain open until September 24. A giant 200 meter red carpet winding through the air welcomes you to this audiovisual and interactive journey through 70 years of movies and glamour.

It is convenient to go with time: there are two floors with twenty screens –one of them 24 meters long– and hundreds of videos that add up to more than 150 minutes of content. In the installation called ‘Público’, the photographs that the festival requested from the people of San Sebastian of their encounters with the stars are exhibited. Selfies with Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Bradley Cooper, Kristen Stewart and countless other actors, directors and even a film critic.

Amaia González and Sigourney Weaver, who received the Donostia Award in 2016; . Josu Zarrabeitia took a selfie with Meryl Streep, winner of three Oscars and recipient of the Donostia Award in 2008; John Travolta, in an autographed photo, walked through La Concha in 1983 and was awarded the Donostia Award in 2012. / San Sebastian Festival

The collection of snapshots sent allows us to see how the Zinemaldi has evolved from more elitist beginnings to become an eminently popular event. In the section called ‘Zinea’, emotional and fun images from the festival’s history are projected: John Travolta strolling through La Concha in 1983, Antonio Ferrandis unleashing childhood madness when he was Chanquete, the premieres of mythical films such as ‘Star Wars ‘ and ‘Tiburón’, which were seen in San Sebastián for the first time in Spain, Penelope Cruz’s astonishment upon seeing that the 2019 Donostia Award was given to her by U2’s very own Bono…

A giant red carpet of 200 meters that winds through the air welcomes the sample

“Without the public, the festival would not make sense,” says the director of Zinemaldia

A sentimental journey through 70 years of history that accumulates so much information “that you have to come and see it several times”, recommends the director of the festival, José Luis Rebordinos, who during the presentation especially reminded the public: “Without him it would not make sense”. The fact that the Zinemaldia has been documented since its first edition thanks to NO-DO allows us to have abundant television material. In the long corridor as a photocall, a giant 24 by 4 meter screen reflects images launched by five projectors of more than 800 personalities who have visited the capital of San Sebastian over these seven decades. A time tunnel that is presented chronologically, so that the visitor can simultaneously see Gloria Swanson, Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn, Harrison Ford, Bette Davis, Robin Williams and Brad Pitt, among many others.

Around the exhibition, with hours from 10 in the morning to 8 in the afternoon, children’s workshops, guided tours and a contest of questions related to the history of the event have been organized. Tickets for the 70th edition and merchandising items will be raffled among the correct answers.

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