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Blogging from San Sebastian September 18-26, 2020

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Gipuzkoa Coopera promotes cinema workshops to give a voice to students at risk of social exclusion

Almost 250 students from Argentina have participated since 2017 in this project promoted by the San Sebastian Festival and Gipuzkoa Provincial Council


Some 250 young people have participated in the Gipuzkoa Coopera cinema workshops, a cooperation project promoted by the San Sebastian Festival and Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, the aim of which is to foster audiovisual creation in schools with girl and boy students at risk of social exclusion. 

For years now, different Development NGOs have been receiving backing from the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council in a fundamental cooperation endeavour to promote development in countries and collectivities affected by situations of precariousness. “While this is an essential task, the rising needs for support and solidarity, as well as the demand of an important part of our society for more active participation, prompted us to take another step to extend cooperation to Gipuzkoa”, explained the Councillor for Culture and International Cooperation, Harkaitz Millan.

Since the creation in 2017 of the Gipuzkoa Coopera programme, Secondary Education School no. 37 in the city of Mar de Plata (Argentina) has run workshops teaching participants how to write a screenplay, film images and record sound, among other subjects taught by various professionals directed by Ione Hernández.

Under the supervision of the filmmaker from San Sebastian, the students have produced some ten short films, among which are works of fiction as well as documentaries about the LGBTI community at School no. 37, or about the experience of students who are also mothers.

Funding for the project, which enjoys the participation of Argentina’s National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), has been provided by the San Sebastian Festival and the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, which have donated the necessary material (cameras, lenses, lighting and sound kits, recorders, microphones, etc.) to ensure that the students may work autonomously when creating an audiovisual work from start to finish.


According to Ione Hernández, this is an “extremely enriching” project for a collective of students who live difficult family and social realities but who, thanks to the cinema, discover “doors to other possible lives”. “The experience has an impact on them, it makes them protagonists and participants in the construction of their identity and their desires. The camera enables them to talk to themselves about themselves and to realise that they are important and that they have a voice and a role in life”, she says.

Based on continuing education, this programme has prompted the emergence of numerous vocations among students at “La 37”, who, as well as presenting their works at the Mar del Plata Film Festival, have shared their knowledge with other nearby schools in a purpose-made forum: the Audiovisual Meeting of Secondary Education Schools. “The students themselves have become deeply involved. They are active agents of the cooperation project and the catalysts of change in their communities”, adds Hernández.    

For José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, this project has been “one of the most enjoyable and important” of his professional career. “I wish we could continue to help this school, but our objective is to work with the Provincial Council in order to be able to launch the project in 2021 with another school in another Latin American country”, he reveals.

According to Millan, the objective of the Provincial Council with this programme is “to build and share the narrative of cooperation”, which must “impregnate our societies”, as established in the goals of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. “In this task, the complicity of the Festival has been fundamental; hence, a poor school with a single storey and no name, in whose cramped rooms education was taught from pre-school to baccalaureate, was a place of meeting and shelter. We have had the luck to know this living space and to participate in the enthusiasm of these young people, protagonists of their lives and of their environment”, ends the Councillor.  




The Gipuzkoa Coopera project was launched in 2017 by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa with the purpose of promoting development cooperation by means of involving organisations that were non-conventional in this field, but strongly rooted inside the territory and out.

As well as the San Sebastian Festival, Gipuzkoa Coopera enjoys the participation of six other prestigious institutions from Gipuzkoa in the world of art, culture, science, sport and gastronomy: Kukai Dantza Taldea, Tabakalera, Donostia International Physics Center, Real Sociedad Fundazioa and Karlos Arguiñano’s Aiala Catering School. Each one of the above-mentioned organisations leads a cooperation project in a different country. 


La 37



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Barreda de Biurrun Inés

Blogging from the 67th San Sebastian Film Festival
Reporting by Inés Barreda de Biurrun and Bruno Chatelin.

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