Tabling straightforward simple stories and experimenting with new narratives, the newest wave of Basque film talents has started to dip their toe into the international scene, landing at movie launchpads such as Venice, Berlin and San Sebastian festivals.
The new generation addresses universal issues telling small, local stories, attaining quality standards thanks in part to studies in Spain and quite often at film schools in Europe and the U.S..
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The newest directors are emerging at a moment when SVOD giants and private investors are broadening the range of financing possibilities as co-production options, especially with the rest of Spain, are expanding.
Here are some of the latest Basque Country Talents films, some of which have just been released in Spain, there are sci-fi genres such as Dune 2021 Pelicula Completa en Español or the drama genre film El Club del Paro Pelicula Completa and several others that are often watched with family, namely Las Consecuencias Pelicula Completa or the following film Sevillanas de Brooklyn Pelicua Completa.
Eyeing feature debuts or sophomore projects, among current standout moves by Basque emerging talents figure:
*A prominent member of the newest film wave, Mikel Gurrea, whose short “Foxes” won at the Montreal World Film Fest, has just featured at the Venice Festival’s Horizons sidebar with short “Heltzear” and finished in August lensing his feature debut, “Suro.”
*Maider Oleaga, winner of Doc España at the Valladolid Intl. Film Festival with “Verabredung” in 2017, world premieres at San Sebastian her feature documentary “Kuartk Valley,” vying for the Zinemira’s Irizar Basque Cinema Award.
*Estibaliz Urresola, who caught attention with her short “Adri” and her debut doc “Voces de Papel,” is prepping “20,000 Species of Bees.” It is scheduled to roll next year, after being selected at Madrid’s The Screen – La Incubadora and winning the Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival Co-Production award and Tallinn Black Nights’ best cinematographic script.
*Bilbao-born David Pérez Sañudo, one of Spain’s most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers after his “Ane Is Missing” debut – he won a 2021 Spanish Academy Goya Award for best adapted screenplay – is teaming with Atresmedia Cine for film project “Cava dos fosas” and also with the Seville-based La Claqueta and top Basque company Irusoin to direct a movie adaptation of the acclaimed novel, “Los últimos románticos.”
*Paul Urkijo, whose 2017’s debut “Errementari” was godfathered and produced by Álex de la Iglesia and sold by Filmax, is initiating principal photography on medieval fantasy “Irati,” produced by Ikusgarri Films, backed by nationwide pubcaster RTVE.
*Navarre-born Maddi Barber will direct part of the literary-film project “This Is Not a Poem,” produced by Cáceres-based Garde Films, after showcasing at San Sebastian’s Zabaltegi-Tabakalera the doc “Land Underwater” in 2019. The same section showcased two more of her works: 2018’s “Above 592 Meters” and 2020’s “Gorria.”
In many cases, new Basque filmmakers share spaces, knowledge and experiences via a context that allows them to continue growing and learning.
Under the auspices of entities such as San Sebastian Film Festival, short-film collection Kimuak and the Tabakalera International Center for Contemporary Culture, initiatives have been launched such as Ikusmira Berriak, a project-based training-residence program, and the Elías Querejeta ZineEskola film school.
Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
“There are many collectives, initiatives, producers and institutions working for a nurturing environment so that a new generation of filmmakers can grow,” points out Mikel Gurrea, whose feature debut “Suro” was developed at Ikusmira Berriak.
For years, the Basque Country has been marked by a conflictive political and social history, reflected in film. But “Loreak,” Spain’s 2016 Oscar submission, proved a game-changer.
“Fortunately, in recent years film’s concepts have multiplied and there are filmmakers making and premiering very diverse films,” Oleaga says.
“We share a search for different ways of narrating, sometimes from documentary, experimental film or fiction,” argues Barber.
What the newest generation does often have in common is an aim to reflect people’s interactions with the natural environment. In her works, for example, Barber charts man’s vestigial and ambivalent relationship to nature in Navarre’s Pyrenees.