Some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars have been hitting the red carpet at the San Sebastian film festival.
Like the city itself, the Spanish celebration of film has been described as one of the most laid-back film festivals, but make no mistake, movies matter a lot here.
Denzel Washington graced the stage for the opening night to receive the Donostia Award in recognition of his work and career.
He was presented with the honour by director Antoine Fuqua with whom he has just completed ‘The Equalizer’, a film set for release this autumn. The pair last worked together on ‘Training Day’, for which Washington received an Oscar.
Receiving the award Washington said: “I don’t speak Spanish, pero en mi corazón, but in my heart I am Spanish”.
In the film, Washington plays a former “black ops” officer drawn out of retirement to battle a gang of ultra-violent Russian mobsters.
Benicio Del Toro is also being presented with the Donostia Award in recognition of his lifetime work.
A total of 17 films compete this year for the Golden Shell, the top festival award. Despite the economic crisis, 16 Spanish films are having their world premieres at San Sebastian.
San Sebastian Film Festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos told euronews: “Of course the main aim of the festival is to offer a good panorama of the best and more diverse of the world cinema. But we also want to consolidate the film industry and all the activities related to it such as the forum of co-production among Europe and Latin America.”
“We also intend this festival to be an open door to Europe for some of the highest profile titles from Latin America. And of course, we also want to showcase the latest Spanish cinema productions,” added Rebordinos.
Among the Spanish entries competing for the Golden Shell is the latest film from director Alberto Rodriguez. La Isla Minima (Marshland) is a thriller set in the Andalucian countryside.
Two homicide detectives who appear to be poles apart must settle their differences and bring the murderer to justice before more young women lose their lives.
With other famous directors competing for the main prize including Francois Ozon, Susanne Bier, and Christian Petzold to name just a few; our correspondent in San Sebastian says the award ceremony is one of the most eagerly awaited.
“A Mexican and a Venezuelan film were the big winners of last year’s festival. This time some of the best directors of the “Old Continent” will try to make European cinema shine brightly in San Sebastian,” said Carlos Marlasca.