Outside the BoxGonzalo Olabarria. Culture and Governance Councillor
We had very few doubts that those who claimed cinema was dead were wrong. Although no one fails to realise that the seventh art constantly strives to reinvent itself, and tirelessly seeks to win over new audiences with a heterodox range, the numbers of patrons showing up at cinemas this year enable us to shout aloud that films look set to be a part of our lives for a few generations more, because their appeal is on the up and up.
Standing up for this principle, even though they are not necessarily screening the films that have met with the greatest success at cinemas (because this would not be the proper place for them), are the film festivals. No one is waiting around for ZINEBI to see the hugely successful Barbie, Oppenheimer or Campeonex, which apparently do not require much more than their flashy advertising campaigns to draw in viewers.
An event with the background and prestige of our International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, however, must make use of this new ambience: it must allow itself to go with the flow and extend the offer to the public at large, who are again choosing cinemas as one of their recurring leisure/culture options. Moreover, like any major international festival, ZINEBI attempts to bring in films that the people of Bilbao have not been able to watch as yet: films with carte blanche to act outside (or inside) the box, cinema that has been a symbol of the State’s third oldest film festival, the mainstay of which is a selection of innovative animation, fiction and documentary short films from all over the world: opera prima feature films signalling the debut of new voices that have given their all for their first film, and, who knows, these could well be the names of the maestros and maestras of the 21st century; with documentaries on our times, on cinema and on our history; and an extensive range of films painstakingly made in Euskadi, seeking an encounter with their closest audience.
The construction of a cultured, curious, critical society is based on its ability to appreciate cinema, music, literature, theatre, and art in general, beyond what it is already familiar with. With total conviction, we undertake the obligation as a public institution to offer this opportunity to local people, and respond to the curiosity of the men and women of Bilbao, demonstrated time and time and time again. And in the case of films, hopefully ZINEBI will draw them from their homes to the cinema, where they will find a cultural/artistic range that is more plural, more wide-ranging, more appealing, and more thought-provoking.