Standing tall on the banks of the Urmia River, the international contemporary cultural center of Tabakal dominates the airspace of San Sebastian. It is the most prestigious Spanish-language film festival in the world, now celebrating its 69th year, and is home to other major cultural institutions, including postgraduate film school Elias Kerezeta Jean Escola (EQZE) and Filmoteca Vasca (Basque Film Archive). . Built in 1913, the former tobacco factory is one of many raised across the country when Spain monopolized its domestic tobacco business. For 90 years, it was a state-owned factory where more than a thousand people worked, most of them women.
Since its renovation in 2015, it has become a cultural center in the Basque region, with a growing international profile as a festival and a film school established in 2017, attracting filmmakers, film students and professionals from around the world. Since September 13, 30 women and 15 men from more than a dozen countries, including Spain, Argentina, Chile, Croatia, France, the United States and Japan, have launched their bilingual courses for the 2021-2022 academic year, including an in-depth festival that includes screenings, workshops. , Master classes and observes the internal workings of world-class events. According to Carlos Mugiro, director of EQZE, the school offers three postgraduate programs: film preservation, film curating and film making. “Actually, we cover three tomorrows: the past, the present and the future,” he said.
“Being all under one roof allows us to better coordinate our activities and work towards our common goal,” said Jose Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Film Festival. Formatting, Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, NEST shorts competition, master classes and other events are held at the center. “Zine Escola is now in her fourth academic year and we hope it will create a new generation of filmmakers, especially a new Basque movie.”
As a public space, the center’s year-round exhibitions and cultural events attract thousands of local and international visitors. This year alone, the center has attracted half a million visitors since January.
“We’re still figuring out how many places to explore but they’re open to a lot of projects,” said Clara Montero, cultural director of the 431,000-square-foot Tabakal.
Directed by Joxian Fernandez, its Filmoteca Vasca film is an equally valuable resource for students and researchers. It contains original prints of Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, which premiered worldwide in San Sebastian in 1958 where it won the Silver Shell and was rumored to be a non-commercial print of John Cassavets’s “A Woman Under the Influence” as a letter from Louis Bunuel, among others. Among the riches of cinema.
A restaurant run by the Basque Culinary Center and a digital gastronomy lab, LABe, and a hotel where film students are also enrolled in the Ikusmira Bariak Residency program, the Tabakals are proud of the three screens, especially for a project film. Timewarn format like 16mm or Super 8.
Since January 2020, the Center has launched its Spoken Cinema Focus, open to the public, where filmmakers share and discuss the complex processes behind their filmmaking, from its development to its post.
“We have three basic goals: to create a huge public space open to all, to be champions of creativity and to create an ecosystem where we all work together in the service of creativity and bring art closer to people,” Montero said.