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San Sebastian Film Commission Reaches Out to Int’l Filmmakers

Seven feature films shot in city in past year

SAN SEBASTIAN — The Basque city of San Sebastián in Northern Spain is pushing to make itself as well-known as a film location as it is a mecca for haute cuisine.

Leading the charge is the San Sebastián Film Commission, which hosted a breakfast Tuesday for industry guests of the city’s film festival.

Lorea Hernández Hurtado is heading up the film commission’s efforts to make the city as filmmaker friendly as possible. “We try to make it as easy for them as we can,” she told Variety. As well as assisting with location scouting, the commission arranges shooting permits in the city at no charge, and can put producers in touch with local production partners in order to access the regional and national production incentives.

The city has already proved that it is a popular location for Spanish film shoots. In the past year, seven films were shot — partly or entirely — in San Sebastián, and five of those are screening at the festival. These include “La Herida” (Wounded), which plays in Official Selection, Gracia Quereta’s “15 años y un día” and “Zipi y Zape y el club de la canica.”

As well as the well-known locations in the city, such as La Concha — the beautiful bay — and the Belle Époque architecture, there are also less familiar parts to the area, such as the Artikutza, a nature park where Gary Oldman-starrer “The Backwoods” was shot.

The city has a policy to encourage clusters of commercial activity, and in the case of film, TV and digital companies the cluster is based around PIA, the audiovisual and digital innovation center, Hernandez Hurtado explained.

San Sebastian is also looking to build on other local strengths. The city will be feted as European Capital of Culture in 2016, an honor that will trigger a host of cultural events, and the area is also popular with surfers.

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