SAN SEBASTIÁN — One of the Basque Country’s most prominent directors, Telmo Esnal (“Go!”) will direct Dantza” (Dance), produced by Txintxua Films, a company based in Trintxerpe-Pasaia, near San Sebastian, and set up in 2008 by director Asier Altuna, directed of “Amama,” which scored a 2015 San Sebastian competition berth, and producer Marian Fernández.
Also produced by Txintxua, and the only Spanish feature in the festival’s now competitive Zabaltegi-Tabakalera sidebar — “Ghost Ship” is a feature film essay directed by short and docu-maker Koldo Almandoz associating tourism, cruisers, vampires, Bram Stoker, Murnau and shipwrecks. “Ghost Ship” world premiered at the Rotterdam Festival, was screened at Buenos Aires’ Bafici.
“Dantza” is a musical feature, turning on Basque dances and their ancestral symbolism, recounting the cycle of life and the history of humankind. The project yokes the talents of director Telmo Esnal, artist and sculptor Koldobika Jauregui, and scholar and folklorist Juan Antonio Urbeltz.
A social satire, turning on the status symbol importance in Spain of taking holidays, “Go! (2005), the first Basque-language feature to be made in 13 years, was directed by Esnal and Altuna in 2005. It proved one of the most prominent titles at that year’s San Sebastian film festival, where it took the Youth Jury Award.
“’Dantza’ is a fiction feature with a very subtle narrative plot. The story flows basically through the music and dance,” said Fernández.
Its shoot is scheduled to begin in October. It will be ready for delivery at the end of 2017. Production is backed by Basque pubcaster ETB, Spain’s Icaa film institute and the Basque Government.
A dantzari – a traditional Basque dancer – when he was in his teens, Telmo Esnal participated at the La Habana Ballet fest some two decades ago. There, Alicia Alonso, the founder of the National Ballet of Cuba, told him that many of the movements in traditional Basque dance looked like predecessors of classic ballet steps.
Telmo said: “I see many similarities between the dance and cinema world. I’ve wanted to make a movie on dance for a long time.”