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Could anyone imagine a year without ZINEBI? In Bilbao, definitely not. For the past 62 years, we can boast of a cinematic autumn around our International Festival of Documentary and Short Film, which for many years has been held in this usually rainy November in Bilbao that invites so many people to shut themselves away in the cinemas, to discover films that the audience will not be able to see so soon or with such a high quality as in ZINEBI.

In this year, signalled by this global pandemic that has also attacked cultural industries around the world, the festival has received the registration (which began on the same day as the state of alarm) of thousands of short films and hundreds of feature films.

You only have to think of all the people who have set out during this very difficult year to shoot short and feature-length fiction, documentary or animation films to realise the significance for all of them that the holding of such prestigious festivals as ZINEBI has: a place where to show success (because it is a success to be selected for a competition like this) that they have achieved with their talent and their effort. All these people, and also the audience in Bilbao that wants to enjoy every year the most creative works of young directors from all over the world, need platforms and meeting places like our film festival.

In times like these, the City Council of Bilbao does not want to forget the people and companies that fight every day to continue creating and renewing the image of our city with their audio-visual works. Nor do we forget the various agents of our local cultural fabric. For all these reasons, in this calamitous year of the COVID-19 we have launched Bilbao Aurrera, an ambitious Plan of Urgent Measures for Social Cohesion, Economic Reactivation and Employment and Culture in the City. Among other measures, it will allocate an extraordinary budget to support its production sector through the creation of an audio-visual fund to promote the City.

We already demonstrated this during the confinement: in times of difficulty we cling to culture. When we are trying to get out of this dramatic pandemic, we cannot fail to give back to its creators and workers the support and relief they gave us during those hard times for all of us.


Gonzalo Olabarria
Councillor for Culture and Governance, City Council of Bilbao

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