FOCUS: BASQUE CONTEMPORARY CINEMA. HETEROGENOUS LANDSCAPES
Within the limitations of its small proportions, the main features of Basque cinema have always been its heterogeneity thanks to a combination of styles and generations that has fortunately become much more prominent since the advent of democracy. The short film is probably the epitome of this diversity, amid the incessant production of films pertaining to the genre of experimentation, animation, documentaries and fiction.
One decisive contribution to the development and consolidation of short films was the audiovisual/artistic training of a large number of directors who dared to take the plunge into films; the insistence on production and distribution activities; and also institutional support from the Basque Government – which was responsible for the successful short film distribution catalogue “Kimuak” – not to mention other public bodies such as Instituto Etxepare and Zineuskadi, without whose assistance our programme this year would not have been possible.
Since it was created in 1959, ZINEBI – International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao has been the maximum exponent of the promotion and dissemination of Basque cinema, and of short films in particular. It has featured names such as Montxo Armendariz, Imanol Uribe, Mirentxu Loyarte and Julio Medem.
Specifically, in recent years ZINEBI has sought to transform itself into a territory welcoming the creative freedom of film directors and audiovisual artistes in the Basque Country, open to all kinds of proposals. Some of them have been presented at this 69th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen; short items by leading experimental directors such as Laida Lertxundi, Iñigo Salaberria, Koldo Almandoz or Teresa Sendagorta; documentary makers such as Maria Elorza and Maddi Barber; professional animation teams headed up by Bego Vicario, Isabel Herguera and Izibene Oñederra.Here in Bilbao we have always supported Oberhausen as a leading bastion of short films: the presentation of this programme here fills us with joy and pride.