Twenty-four representatives from 15 different countries will be getting together today in the Kursaal for a working meeting to map out the challenges and possibilities facing cinema industries in either minority languages or in those that are not one of the 5 main European languages, with the aim of bringing the meeting to a close tomorrow with the reading of a manifesto.
Clara Montero, Director of Cultural Promotion for the Basque government had already held some informal meetings with representatives of film industries in lesser-spoken languages at the Festival last year and hopes to continue along the same lines: how can they collaborate to make films in minority languages more visible? How can they find partners for co-productions? How can they share strategies to gain better access to the European cultural market? These are questions that the Basque Country shares with other regions and states such as Iceland, Denmark, Flanders, Wales, Scotland and many others.
Clara Montero stressed that Basque cinema was going through a very special period, with Loreak having just been preselected as one of the Spanish entries for the Oscar for best foreign film, and Amama being screened in this year’s Official section here at San Sebastián. The situation of the Iceland’s film industry is really interesting for the Basques as even less people speak Icelandic than Basque. Laufey Gudjonsdottir, the director of the Icelandic Film Centre said that although things were still looking good on the artistic side, film production had been adversely affected by the financial crash of 2008. Despite this she emphasised how important it was to promote cinema in local languages: “the more local stories are; the more authentic they are.”
Charlotte Appelgren, secretary general of Cine Regio, the network of European regional film funds totally agreed with her as in her opinion, “a film must be in your own language or it’s not honest. Audiences sense that.” The priority was however on subtitling films rather than dubbing them as with the latter the cultural component was always lost.