The highlight of the opening gala of the 62nd San Sebastián Festival was undoubtedly the presentation of the Donostia Award to Denzel Washington at the end of a ceremony that officially opened the Festival, hosted by Karra Elejalde and Edurne Ormazabal.
The gala began as usual with the presentation of the Fipresci International Critics’ Award for best film which was announced by Pamela Bienzobas, the coordinator of Fipresci. The representative of Universal Pictures picked up the award on behalf of Richard Linklater, the director of Boyhood, who sent in a video message offering his warmest gratitude to Fipresci and the Festival and hoping he’d be able to visit San Sebastián soon with another movie.
This was followed by the traditional overview of all the sections in the Festival presented by a series of Spanish actors, culminating in the entrance on stage of the six members of the Official Jury, whose president Fernando Bovaira expressed his conviction that the films they would be watching would make them travel and live new experiences.
Director Antoine Fuqua, who worked with Washington on his Oscar-winning Training Day and on The Equalizer, the film that opened this year’s Festival, was tasked with introducing Denzel Washington and presenting him with the Donostia Award. He described him as an amazing actor, compassionate, big-hearted and one of the most sincere people he had ever met whose performances were transcending: “He’s what makes my camera move.”
Washington himself then came on stage to receive his award. He said that although he didn’t speak Spanish, in his heart he was Spanish, and that he was humbled and genuinely touched by the passion and love he had felt in San Sebastián. “Thank you for this honour and hanks for this opportunity to say thank you”.