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As with so many other cultural activities held in Bilbao throughout the year, despite the blustering winds and strange tides of 2020, ZINEBI is once again here in our city.

We should always remember the difficulties culture must overcome to reach us in the form of a song, a book, a play or a film. Even more so this year, which will remain in the memory of creators and workers in the cultural sector as one of the blackest ever. After the gruelling months of spring, more than a few of us are wondering how we will repay our debt to those creators and workers, who, when we were—seemingly endlessly—confined to our homes, brought us culture to provide relief, entertainment and food for thought as time stood still. The answer is to be found in the title of a song by Le Pera and a film by Almodóvar: Volver (Return).

 As public institutions, we have unanimously clamoured for citizens who love culture and are its reason for existing to be allowed to return to museums, art galleries and centres, theatres and cinemas, complying scrupulously with the health measures put in place by the competent authorities. What is at stake is nothing less than the survival of our cultural fabric. 

There is a saying that a calm comes after a storm. But, as in the film by Hirokazu Koreeda, Mikeldi of Honour at the 2014 festival, the return to our former customs will not be immediate or simple, especially when the devastating health consequences of the pandemic are added to by the social and economic difficulties we will have to tackle in order to continue into the future with any kind of confidence.

In the midst of this as yet uncertain panorama, it is also time to return to ZINEBI, to show the trust and love that the people of Bilbao feel for our veteran festival, to enjoy the art of the moving image, and to support the creators who make it all possible. 

And especially, to see how some of the works in this 62nd festival show us, almost in real time, the reflections of filmmakers from the five continents on what has happened to us during this unforgettable 2020.


Juan Mari Aburto
Mayor of Bilbao

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