San Sebastian Int'l Film Festival

San Sebastian Int'l Film Festival

San Sebastián is a beautiful coastal town in the Basque region of Spain. Started during Franco's era, San Sebastián is the premier film festival in Spain. It has a competition section and the top prize is the Concha de Oro (Golden Seashell). The other main section is Zabaltegi, a panorama of films made during the last year, some of which have been at other festivals.

Conceived as an International Film Week for the purpose of screening and marketing films, it was not long before the IFFPA granted it B status (non-competitive), thanks to the success of its first edition. A year later it was called the International Film Festival, and in 1955 the IFFPA recognised the festival as competitive, specialising in colour films. In other words, it could now grant official prizes. This marked the emergence of the "Concha", or shell - at the time only awarded in silver - determined by an international jury.

In 1957 the festival was granted "A" status and the Shell awarded in the main categories turned to gold. The festival symbols became increasingly recognisable, as did the direction the festival was aiming for and still strives for to this day. That is, a tendency towards liberalisation, shying away from the corseted censorship of the past, still alive today. The festival's primordial role is to serve as a showcase for each year's most disquieting and innovative films.