San Sebastian Film Festival

Source: San Sebastian Film Festival

The San Sebastian Film Festival and Zurich Film Festival are to launch industry markets for the first time following cancellations on the film circuit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

International buyers will be introduced to new sales projects and films that were originally selected to be showcased at SXSW, which has been cancelled, and Tribeca Film Festival, which has been postponed indefinitely.

The announcement was made today by SSIFF director José Luis Rebordinos and ZFF artistic director Christian Jungen.

Working with both festivals, CAA Media Finance is supporting the initiative to introduce sales markets to Zurich and San Sebastian in a bid to bring together a worldwide consortium of agencies, foreign sales companies, distributors, financiers, and buyers. The initiative is understood to be backed by independent film companies including Wild Bunch and Film Nation.

Both festivals have previously featured industry elements, with San Sebastian hosting 1,749 industry professionals last year while Zurich drew more than 500 industry guests. But this would mark the first time dedicated markets will have been introduced to the events.

San Sebastian is due to run September 18-26 while Zurich is scheduled to take place September 24 to October 4. Both are hoping to run as physical events. 

”For the San Sebastián Film Festival, the most important thing now is the health of film industry professionals and spectators,” said Rebordinos. “But we keep working with the aim of making the 2020 edition of the festival a reality next September.

“If the festival can be held under normal conditions, because the health authorities allow it, we want this edition to serve as an opportunity for films that have not been able to be seen at the festivals for which they were originally selected, to be shown to an audience of buyers and distributors and, at the same time, for these professionals, representatives of the most important companies in the world film industry, to get to know the size of the San Sebastián Festival, its line-up and its activities focused on the film industry.”

Zurich’s Jungen added: “We live in disruptive times which also shatter the traditional festival landscape and threaten independent cinema. Many high-profile titles are orphans of a real premiere their cast and crew deserve. So we are happy to help out, holding screenings for buyers together with our friends of San Sebastián.

“It is important to strengthen independent cinema and to help those titles in their launch for the award season. Zurich is one of the world’s financial capitals and an ideal place for a film market since it has a great infrastructure where you can do business in a leisurely atmosphere.”

Specifics about the film screenings and programming have yet to be announced.