San Sebastian Film Festival’s Official Lineup Includes Zero Women Directors
Sixteen films have been announced in San Sebastian Film Festival’s Official Selection as of today, and exactly zero of them are directed by women. As its name suggests, the Official Selection is the fest’s most noteworthy program. Films in this category compete for the fest’s highest honor, the Golden Shell.
The Spanish festival, now in its 64th year, is one of the most well-known film festivals in the world. We’re (sadly) accustomed to fests featuring lineups dominated by male directors, particularly in their most prestigious categories (say, the Competition section at Cannes). Still, it’s rather shocking that San Sebastian’s programmers haven’t included a single female-helmed feature in the Official Selection given all of the recent attention surrounding gender inequality in the movie business.
This year marks the first time the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section of the fest will be competitive. Of 24 films screening in the program, five are directed by women, amounting to 21 percent. While this number is nothing to boast about, it’s not unusual for a major festival. And it’s certainly better than zero percent.
Zabaltegi-Tabakalera titles include Deborah Stratman’s “The Illinois Parables,” an experimental doc examining faith, ideology, and national identity, and Marilia Rocha’s “Where I Grow Old,” a narrative portrait of two Portuguese friends living abroad. Also included in this program are Hayoun Kwon’s “489 Years,” Paz Encina’s “Ejercicios de Memoria,” and Maria Elorza and Maider Fernandez Iriarte’s joint effort “Our Walls.”
The San Sebastian Film Festival runs from September 16-24. Sigourney Weaver will receive the 2016 Donostia Award for Career Achievement at the fest.