#68SSIFF our 2020 hybrid film festival experience

Film festivals and markets have a huge responsibility, which goes beyond screening new films. They are the platforms where new initiatives are released and new behavioural changes emerge. Screen professionals come to these markets for the curation of new breakthroughs, they expect to be educated, to be inspired. Innovation, for so many years, has played a big part as the industry is witnessing a radical makeover. Furthermore, digitisation has only accelerated throughout months of online interactions during tight travel restrictions around the world.

San Sebastián Film Festival took the brave decision to bring a few selected participants together at WIP Europe and WIP Latin America and to screen the well-deserved films that have been selected this year.

Worldwide live pitch moderated by AC Coppens; photo by Ruth Morris, FilmChain

As one of the five finalists at Zinemaldia Startup Challenge, FilmChain was also invited to attend in person. While the big pitch was held online, broadcast globally, in a perfectly organised session opened by the director of the festival José Luis Rebordinos and moderated by AC Coppens, we were delighted to attend and indulge in everything the festival had to offer.
The five finalists from Spain, the UK, Norway and Germany are looking at improving processes behind the screen, interacting with audiences, better fulfilling regulatory policies and enabling interactive narratives.

We won’t shy away from saying that our favourite part was winning this year’s Zinemaldia Startup Challenge with an added bonus of being featured in Variety! Nevertheless, participating was a real thrill.

Seeing film directors, producers and the actors step on stage under thunders of applause in what was the first public screening of years of work, sweat and tears, against all odds of seeing the light of a cinema projection in 2020, was a truly humbling event that sensitised everyone present and reminded us all about the motivation to power through these strange months.

Image from DEATH KNELL screening; photo by Maria Tanjala, FilmChain

At the same time, producers that had their productions screened as part of the festival’s Work-In-Progress programmes were buzzing with excitement, equipped with promo materials from across the ocean and from neighbouring Europe, taking meetings with sales agents, financiers and co-producers on the ground.

Creative Europe MEDIA Basque Country (Euskadi) also had a booth at the Industry Club and welcomed people, preparing future training activities for MEDIA calls amongst others.

During the day, film screenings, press conferences and the related events unfolded impeccably, with industry weights gracing the 2020 edition. If you don’t trust us, see for yourselves these beautiful portraits.

While wearing masks everywhere, inside and outside, we at FilmChain have been thoroughly energised seeing what the incredible festival team has achieved. We congratulate them for delivering such an ambitious hybrid edition, for welcoming us in San Sebastián, where we cannot wait to return as winners growing roots in the Basque Country.

Big Couch is the home of FilmChain and Crewfund. Supporting the films you love.

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