Skip to main content
"Akelarre" and "Courtroom 3H" to compete for the Golden Shell

"Akelarre" and "Courtroom 3H" to compete for the Golden Shell

Akelarre, by Pablo Agüero, and Courtroom 3H, by Antonio Méndez Esparza, will compete for the Golden Shell at the Festival's 68th edition, whose Official Selection will include the screening of two Spanish series: Antidisturbios / Riot Police, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, will be programmed out of competition, while Patria, created by Aitor Gabilondo, will be a special screening.

Pablo Agüero (Mendoza, 1977), who participated in New Directors with 77 Doronship (2009) and in the Official Selection with Eva no duerme (Eva Doesn't Sleep,2015), will return to compete with Akelarre, winning project of the Arte Kino International Prize at the VI Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017. Shot in Basque and Spanish with Amaia Aberasturi and Alex Brendemühl heading the cast, the fifth movie by the Argentine moviemaker is a co-production between Spain, France and Argentina filmed in Basque lands and presented as a historical drama inspired by a trial for witchcraft which took place in the Basque Country in the 17th century.

Faithful to his concern for social issues, Antonio Méndez Esparza (Madrid, 1976) will once again compete for the Golden Shell with his third feature film, Courtroom 3H (Sala del Juzgado 3H), a nonfiction taking place in a Florida court specialised in judicial cases involving minors. The filmmaker living in the USA returns with this Spanish-North American co-production to the Festival where he presented his previous works: Aquí y allá (2012), winner of the Grand Prix at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes, subsequently screened in Horizontes Latinos, and Life and Nothing More (Official Selection, 2017), with which he won the Fipresci Prize and the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. 

Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Madrid, 1981) will participate for the third time in the Official Selection following Que Dios nos perdone (May God Forgive Us, Jury Prize for best screenplay, 2016) and El reino (The Realm, 2018). This time round, the director will present, out of competition, Antidisturbios / Riot Police, a 6-episode Movistar+ series about a riot police squad accused of murder after things go wrong while evicting a man from his home. The cast features Vicky Luengo, Raúl Arévalo, Álex García, Hovik Keuchkerian, Roberto Álamo, Raúl Prieto and Patrick Criado.

The Official Selection will also include the special screening of Patria, an 8-episode series created by Aitor Gabilondo for HBO Europe based on Fernando Aramburu's best-selling book about three decades in the history of the Basque Country seen through the eyes of two families divided by the violence.  

Moreover, the Official Selection will be opened, out of competition, by a previously announced title, Rifkin's Festival, Woody Allen's latest rom-com, which has North American, Spanish and Italian production.


The New Directors section, which includes first and second films, will host the feature film debuts of two moviemakers with extensive previous experience in the field of short films. This is the case of David Pérez Sañudo (Bilbao, 1987) who, after having travelled to festivals all over the world and having presented Aprieta pero raramente ahoga (2017) at Zinemira-Kimuak, will compete with Ane, a feature debut shot in the Basque language about borders and communication between a mother and her missing daughter. On the other hand, the Spanish-Dutch co-production La última primavera / Last Days of Spring, set in Madrid's Cañada Real shanty town, is directed by Isabel Lamberti (Bühl, 1987), born in Germany and raised in Spain and the Netherlands, whose short film Volando voy (2015) landed the Torino Award at Nest, the activity going at the time by the name of the International Film Students Meeting. In addition, Imanol Rayo (Pamplona, 1984), winner of the Zinemira Award with his debut Bi anai (Two Brothers, 2011), will present his second full-length film, Hil kanpaiak / Death Knell, a tale based on Miren Gorrotxategi's novel 33 ezkil, starting with the appearance of a skull on the land belonging to a farmhouse. 

Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, the Festival section where anything goes, will host the return of Juan Cavestany (Madrid, 1967) who, after films such as Gente en sitios / People in Places (Made in Spain, 2013) and series like Vergüenza (Zabaltegi-Tabakalera, 2017), uses Un efecto óptico / An Optical Illusion / Interval to ensnare Pepón Nieto and Carmen Machi in a fantasy time loop. Zabaltegi-Tabakalera will also programme three short films: Correspondencia will follow the exchange of audiovisual letters between filmmakers Carla Simón (Barcelona, 1986), who debuted with Estiu 1993 (Verano 1993 / Summer 1993, Made in Spain, 2017), and Dominga Sotomayor (Santiago de Chile, 1985); Ya no duermo, selected for the Basque Government's Kimuak programme, represents the debut by the young Marina Palacio (San Sebastián, 1996) after her graduation from the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE), while Laida Lertxundi (Bilbao, 1981), former head of Filmmaking studies at the same centre, will participate with Autoficción / Autofiction, an experimental work co-produced in the USA, Spain and New Zealand.

The Perlak section will include El agente topo, work of the Chilean Maite Alberdi (Santiago, 1983) about an 83 year-old widower who infiltrates a home for the elderly as a spy. Having won the EFADs-CAACI Award at the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in 2017, this project co-produced by Chile, USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain had its world premiere in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the last Sundance Festival.

Lastly, Warner España and the San Sebastian Festival will offer a charity screening of El verano que vivimos, a romantic drama directed by Carlos Sedes (A Coruña, 1973) and starring Blanca Suárez, Javier Rey and Pablo Molinero. Completing the cast are Carlos Cuevas, Guiomar Puerta and María Pedraza.