A living archive, open to the public will be the star project of the San Sebastian Festival’s 70th anniversary
Research work, curated in collaboration with the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, Tabakalera and Basque Film Archive will guarantee its conservation and access to the Festival’s documentary resources.
The San Sebastian Festival has created, together with the research department of the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE), Tabakalera International Centre for Contemporary Culture and the Basque Film Archive the project Zinemaldia 70. All possible stories, with a view to generating a living Festival archive, the first stage of which will culminate with its 70th edition, in 2022.
The initiative will highlight the importance of the Festival’s documentary resources (letters, photographs, reviews and mentions in newspapers and magazines, books, etc), creating digitized collections for free online access. It will also prompt an exchange of dialogue between these materials and contemporary film creation. The project, involving EQZE teachers and students, aims to generate reflection and discussion on the past, present and future of the Festival.
“This is an archive full of surprises to be discovered. The research and curating proposal, which is highly ambitious, will lend its shape to the star project of the 70th anniversary,” indicates the San Sebastian Festival Director, José Luis Rebordinos.
“The San Sebastian Festival’s documentary archive project is a fine example of how Tabakalera functions as a space to encourage interaction and complementarity between different cultural agents. In this framework, the contribution which can be made by the Ubik creative library to the archive project fully coincides with the objectives of promoting research work and enabling public access to the contents generated,” explains the General Director of Tabakalera, Edurne Ormazabal.
For Carlos Muguiro, director of the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, “the Z70 project is the result of the impetus introduced by the EQZE which, as a centre for research and training, acts as a hinge between the past and future of the actual Festival.” In this respect, he says “the school brings the desire to discover and the capacity for reflection typical of academic and artistic research in the cinematic context of Tabakalera. It also acts as a generator of relations between local film agents and opens paths of work and knowledge. Z70 clearly illustrates the essence of EQZE. Because, while it is unquestionably important to transmit accumulated knowhow to students (through training), it is perhaps even more so to instil curiosity for the so many things still to be discovered (precisely through research).”
For his part, the director of the Basque Film Archive, Joxean Fernández, specifies that “the mission of the Basque Film Archive has always been to conserve and research film heritage. Participating in safeguarding and highlighting the value of the San Sebastian Festival archive jointly with sister institutions is, as well as our obligation, one of the most beautiful and stimulating challenges with international reach of the coming years.”
The working group is made up of the coordinator of the EQZE research department, Pablo La Parra, and its director, Carlos Muguiro, students specialising in Archive and Film Curating studies, representatives of Ubik, the Tabakalera’s Creation Library, and Basque Film Archivee and the Festival team. Also Ubik will house the researchers’ working space, and the Festival archive will have its physical location in the Basque Film Archive installations.
“It is impossible to tell a story without an archive. This said, the existence of an archive does not guarantee that a story can be told. An archive requires conditions of access, organisational criteria, voices, points of view and narratives to set it in motion. An archive can only be relevant in as much as it interacts with the practices and concerns of the present,” underlines La Parra, a researcher at New York University.
The work will take place in two spaces, at the Martutene depot, where the material is currently stored, and at Ubik, where the materials will be examined, inventoried and catalogued with a view to guaranteeing their conservation and the conditions of public access. Consultation of the collection will have itineraries and material will be classified not only by years, but also by subject; for example, the effects of the Transition on the Festival, political violence in Basque and Spanish cinema, the Ikuskas and the attempt to create Basque national cinema, the generation of Kimuak...
There will be two simultaneous, connected lines of work: on the one hand, to generate the research material – academic articles, presentations at congresses, own editorial projects, seminars, etc. – aimed at researchers and, on the other, to socialise the results and create contents for broader publics. Ever year the conclusions of the research work will be made public in the shape of exhibitions, publications or film screening programmes. Also being considered is the organisation of seasons accompanied by informative material proposing critical interaction between films programmed for earlier editions of the Festival, their cinematic, social or political context and contemporary films.
“The aim is to promote innovative research initiatives which study the Festival’s rich history in relation to other historical, political and social phenomena, but also to situate the Festival as an essential element in the creation and consolidation of cinematic culture. In other words, to understand Zinemaldia not only as an object for studying the history of cinema, but as an active generator of the history of cinema,” La Parra specifies.
The Festival memory is not only made up of the collections catalogued by its workers over the last 65 years, it is also to be found in the materials amassed by film lovers over its history, meaning that at a later date we will launch a call to citizens for them to contribute any documents they have in relation to the Festival.