San Sebastián International Film Festival

San Sebastián International Film Festival
San Sebastian International Film Festival

Kursaal Palace
Location San Sebastián, Spain
Awards Golden Shell
Hosted by Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia-San Sebastián, Sociedad Anónima
Number of films 200-250
Language International
Official website

The San Sebastián International Film Festival (Spanish: Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián; Basque: Donostiako Nazioarteko Zinemaldia) is an annual FIAPF A category film festival held in the Spanish city of San Sebastián (officially Donostia-San Sebastián).



The festival was founded in 1953. Although it was originally intended to honour Spanish language films, films of other languages became eligible for consideration in 1955, when the festival was specialized in color films. It has been acknowledged by the FIAPF as an A category festival since 1957, with the exception of the 1980–1984 period, when no major awards were given.


Victoria Eugenia Theatre
María Cristina Hotel during the San Sebastian International Film Festival

These are the main sections of the festival:

  • Official Selection: According to FIAPF regulations, a selection of recent cinematographic works, which have not been shown in other festivals, compete for the major awards. Some films are included out of competition.
  • Zabaltegi: The open section of the festival. It's divided in three sub-sections:
    • Pearls: A selection of the best movies screened at other festivals throughout the year.
    • New Directors: First or second movies of new talents.
    • Specials: The most heterogeneous area.
  • Horizontes Latinos: A selection of films from Latin America, unreleased in Spain.
  • Made in Spain: A showcase of the year's Spanish movies for their international launch.
  • Zinemira: A showcase of movies produced or directed by Basques.
  • Retrospectives: Retrospectives are included in the program to present the works of a renowned filmmaker or works that represent a particular theme.
  • Velodrome: Projections of movies for a big audience in a giant screen installed at the Velodromo de Anoeta.
  • International Film Students Meeting: Selected shorts, mostly graduation projects, from film schools around the world.


An international jury evaluates the films in the Official Section and awards the following prizes:

  • Golden Shell for the best film
  • Special Jury Prize
  • Silver Shell for the best director
  • Silver Shell for the best actress
  • Silver Shell for the best actor
  • Jury Prize for the best cinematography
  • Jury Prize for the best screenplay

The following are the main awards for films in the pararell sections:

  • New Directors Award: decided by a special jury, both the film in the Zabaltegi-New Directors section and the films by new directors in the official section compete for this prize.
  • Audience Award: The audience chooses a film from among those in the Zabaltegi-Pearls section.
  • Youth Award: A jury composed of 350 youngsters aged between 17 and 21 chooses a film from those competing for the New Directors Award".
  • Horizontes Award: A specific jury chooses the best film in the Horizontes Latinos section.
  • "Otra Mirada" Award: TVE gives the Another Look award to the film, from any section, that best reflects the female world.
  • Sebastiane Award: a jury chooses the film, from any section, that best reflects the values and reality of lesbians, gays, transgenders and bisexuals.

Best Films

Best Directors

  • See Silver Shell for Best Director

Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award

Movie Actors since 1953


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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