Seventeen films selected for Perlak will compete for the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award, sponsored by the San Sebastian City Council for eight years in a row. This initiative is a tribute from the City Council to its citizens, who decide the award.
The Perlak section, sponsored by Armani Beauty, is made up of titles to have been awarded or acclaimed at other international festivals. The screenings take place at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre and the audience attending the first screening of each film votes to choose the winner. The award will be presented at the Festival closing gala.
The City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award is divided into two accolades: a Best Film Award, coming with 50,000 euros, and a Best European Film Award of 20,000 euros. The two winning films will therefore remain forever connected to the city thanks to this recognition decided jointly by the locals.
The Mayor of Donostia / San Sebastian, Eneko Goia, emphasized that “the audience is the soul of our Festival”, meaning that the Audience Award “is the expression of the enjoyment of those who pack out the cinemas”. Goia stressed that the Perlak section enables viewers to enjoy some of the year’s best films, “making it one of the most popular and best loved by the locals”.
The first councillor said that the Festival “is one of the year’s gatherings in which our city shines with its own light in the international arena”, stating that he trusts in and will support its endeavours to maintain the same standard and, if possible, to improve it gradually every year. He also mentioned the Festival’s dynamic of collaborating with other areas such as science and gastronomy, making the Zinemaldia a “multiplying agent which improves the individual results of the parties”.
Last year the City of Donostia / San Sebastian Audience Award for Best Film went to Santiago Mitre’s Argentina 1985, which had previously competed at the Venice Film Festival, while the Best European Film Award went to Rodrigo Sorogoyen for As bestas / The Beasts, which had previously premiered in the Cannes Premières section.
Free tickets for the unemployed
The City Council and the Festival have also distributed 1,000 tickets to disadvantaged groups for screenings at the Kursaal and the Velodrome. The tickets were distributed last week to unemployed persons aged 18 and registered as residents of San Sebastian.
The Festival Director, José Luis Rebordinos, thanked the City Council for its collaboration in this initiative aiming to ensure that people in disadvantaged groups can also enjoy the Festival experience. “I have always believed in culture in general and in the cinema in particular as a valuable tool for those who have the least: it develops a critical outlook, provides tools to combat the abuse of power, to widen horizons. That’s why we believe that this joint initiative between the San Sebastian City Council and the Festival is enormously important”, he said.