Institutional backers stick with film festival

The San Sebastian Film Festival, the largest sprocket opera in the Spanish-speaking world, has funding in place for next year’s edition after cost cuts this year.

Three of its four principal backers — Spain’s Ministry of Culture, the San Sebastian Town Hall and the Basque regional government — have budgeted E1 million ($1.5 million) each for the 2010 fest, the same sums as this year.

The fourth, Basque regional parliament Diputacion Foral de Gipuzkoa, has committed at least $1.25 million, $220,800 less than 2009. But that sum could rise as Diputacion debates further aid.

Pubcaster RTVE is on board as a sponsor, as are two of its three collaborators — Renault and the Kutxa Basque savings bank. The fest is negotiating sponsorship renewal with the third, L’Oreal.

The funding commitments come after September’s 57th edition trimmed its length from 10 to nine days and its budget to $9.9 million, having exhausted contingency funding.

Cost cuts, such as nixing the closing party, hit the fest’s night-life, but not programming. Theater occupancy ran at 87% and 94,574 tix were sold, with paid fest admissions down just 4% on last year.

San Sebastian’s board announced that the 2010 edition, running Sept. 17-25, will see similar cost containment measures.

Fest’s 57th edition ran up a $119,600 profit, some security against any shortfall in funding.

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