EN EL CENTRO, ZINEBIVanesa Fernandez.
Director of ZINEBI
Every time the Arriaga Theatre’s curtain comes down at the ZINEBI gala closing ceremony, it signals the new commencement of the next festival, which invariably carries a charge of responsibility and, of course, of enthusiasm and eagerness. A new round of meetings, encounters, festivals to deal with, films and new submissions, new teams and reflection to devise a sufficiently attractive and committed schedule.
It is usually said that each new beginning stems from the end of some other beginning, and so it is vitally important to never lose sight of the trajectory, the goals and the undertakings that the festival has to maintain, and the challenges that have to be faced during future festivals.
Once again we have configured, from my humble perspective, a festival with variety, an open-minded unorthodox festival that seeks to encourage debate and a critical spirit among creators and the general public. We are always drawn by specific cinematographic scrutinies of cinema showing different attitudes to the world and our society, through filmographies that combine the experience of fully consecrated directors and the vision of the latest up-and-coming talent, coming together each year in Bilbao.
This means we will delight in more than one hundred films and numerous professional events targeting all audiences: professional operators, critics, film-lovers, the public at large in Bilbao, guests and visitors who arrive in our city every year. Moreover, in these times of digital hyperconnectivity, we cannot fail to consider the audiences of the future, in an attempt to educate the gaze of the younger generations.
The festival is also still a major link in terms of showcasing and supporting new Basque creations, and once more this year it has close ties to all the main institutions. Proof of this – and a great source of pride for ZINEBI – is that this year we will again be working in association with the Arriaga Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, Azkuna Zentroa, the Gólem Alhóndiga Cinemas, Sala BBK, Bilborock and Cineclub FAS.
Sections focusing on the industry have risen increasingly to the fore at all film festivals. In our case, we will be staging more professional conferences, including the sixth round of ZINEBI NETWORKING, the Documentary Film Professional Forum of Bilbao, which is showing an extremely clean bill of health, judging by the success being reaped by the projects submitted at the forum in recent years.
Turning to synergies with other festivals, we continue to work with the Gijón International Film Festival (FICX) on the pioneer formula of “joint premieres” to assist the visibility of work produced in Bilbao and in Gijón/Xixón. Nor can the importance of our international alliances be forgotten. And so ZINEBI is still partner festival to the Cannes Docs-Marché du Film platform, devised to connect professionals operating as documentary specialists in the audiovisual industry worldwide. This is still extremely good news for the sector, since we must not forget our international role. It is the State’s only category A festival specialising in short films and documentaries, and a qualifier festival for the Oscars, the British BAFTA Awards, and the Goya Awards. ZINEBI also forms part of the small group of festivals from all over the world selecting a short film as a candidate for the EFA awards (from the European Film Academy). Within the working network we also establish with other international festivals, here in Bilbao we have always supported Oberhausen as a leading bastion of short films: this year’s programming of Basque films in Focus: Basque Contemporary Cinema. Heterogeneous Landscapes fills us with joy and pride.
Year after year, we continue to work in the firm belief that not only are our festivals cultural events to present the most attractive films in contemporary independent embryonic cinema, but that we are vital loudspeakers to help create a more equal and more solidarity-conscious present and future.
I cannot bring this to a conclusion without expressing my most sincere and profound gratitude to all the institutions, associate organisations, production companies, distributors, festivals, press and the general public, for all the support and affection they have shown yet again. Festival after festival, we will be starting with a blank page once more, without losing sight of the identity of ZINEBI and of the fact that the festival is and always will be a hands-on, collective, diverse, egalitarian experience.
Starting off again to continue.