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When we hear those three magical words, we are in no doubt that some film director, somewhere in the world, is in the midst of making their next film. Often—as with the ones that we see at ZINEBI every year—it may be their first, or it might be a short film. Whatever it is, I feel like these words hold the key that makes cinema an art unlike any other.

The lights are necessary, but it is not just the spotlights on the set. It is also the shining light in the director’s head. Their awareness that they want to show the audience something original – a different, critical, engaged way of viewing the world.

The camera is, of course, an essential instrument to the art of cinematography, as it is used to capture the images that constitute its raison d’être and, above all, to show the possibilities and limitations of each filmmaker with regard to matters as decisive as their virtuosity in setting up the shot, their handling of light and its relationship to decoration, scenery and the bodies and faces of the actors – what we usually call their personal style.

Action not only indicates the start of each take; it is also a character trait pertaining to creators of cinematographic images. To be a filmmaker, you have to be a person of action, with energy and drive or, as the great critic José Luis Guarner said of Rossellini, that “blend of curiosity and courage” that is essential in order to bring a film into being.

All of this abounds in the filmmakers from around the world that are joining us at this 61st ZINEBI. Including some who come from right here: men and women who are competing for the festival prizes with very clear ideas, an iron will, a personal style capable of completely changing our way of seeing cinema and, above all, with character – lots of character. Qualities also embodied by our festival, a true celebration of good cinema that continues managing to offer the citizens of Bilbao and everybody who visits us a unique experience unlike any other, year upon year.

To the filmmakers, the organisers and ZINEBI’s partners, I would like to say thank you for your work. I wish you lots of luck in your 61st year.

Juan Mari Aburto
Mayor of Bilbao

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