Saturday, July 18, 2015

63rd San Sebastian Festival Posters

No major film festival has a graphic identity competition like what San Sebastian fest has been doing for last four years. Used to cover the poster competition but had a hiatus that today comes to an end with the sharing of the winning posters for each of the festival sections. Can't say that winning graphic designs represent what I like but no doubt that some look/feel original while others -like the official selection poster- recall famous painters of recent eras, some Spaniards while others not. Sigh.

The new image for the 63rd edition of the San Sebastian Festival was unveiled at an event in the Newton Auditorium of San Sebastian’s Eureka! Zientzia Museoa. An announcement was also made at the gathering as to the winning proposals of the poster competition called by the Festival for the Official, New Directors, Horizontes Latinos, Pearls, Zabaltegi and Culinary Zinema sections.

Open to graphic designers around the world, this fourth edition saw the highest participation yet, with 1,726 proposals from 415 authors.

Official Selection

In the Official selection poster category, “El espectador” (The Spectator) by the graphic designer and illustrator from Uruguay, Matías Francolino, and the designer from Vitoria living in Uruguay, Blanka Barrio was the winner.  Winning poster opens the post.

According to creators poster “aims to represent the stimulation of the senses prompted in spectators by cinema. A homage to the symbiosis between filmmakers and their audiences”.

Special Mentions

Two Special Mentions Colorful San Sebastián by Manuel Bu Domínguez and Totem by Juan Carlos Galarza Aguirresarobe

New Directors

In the New Directors section the winner is the poster “Family” by the designer of Polish origin Mateusz Marek.

On the subject of his work Mateusz says: “I have tried to capture the freshness of the image conveyed by new directors and the knowledge they may gain in the future. Markers, pens and paintbrushes on A4”.

The section had four special mentions that you can check here (browse down) but perhaps the one with the most interesting graphics for me is Dawn of the Directors by  Diego Martín Sánchez.

Horizontes Latinos

In the Horizontes Latinos section “Mi horizonte” (My horizon) by the young designer from San Sebastian Maite Rosende was the winner.

Rosende says the following about her creation “Exclusively using primary colors and adding a texture reminiscent of the earth, I worked to create a simple image to which we can attribute never-ending meanings and interpretations. The horizon, that line that seems to separate the sky from the earth, is represented here by the profile of a woman’s face with a lost gaze in her eyes”.

There were four special mentions in the Horizontes Latinos category that you can see here (browse down) and perhaps the most interesting for me was Power Line by Beatriz Galván de la Rosa; so much I like it that here it is.


In the Pearls, category the winning poster is “Perlas que brillan como estrellas” (“Pearls that shine like stars”) by the designer from San Sebastian Andoni Tebar Gaztambide.

According to the creator his poster represents: “Every year cinema gives us tales of unthinkable, romantic, action and/or fictional realities... Great films that are screened in festivals all over the world and that are today the pearls of our own event...”.

Actually I agree, from the section submissions winner is the best; there were four special mentions that you can see here (browse down) but none is as outstanding as the winner.


The poster “Tuberías 3” (Pipes 3) has been chosen as the image of this year’s Zabaltegi section. Its author is the Bolivian graphic artist Marco Tóxico. Marco has exhibited and published in several countries and was selected as one of the top ten 10 illustrators at Ukraine’s COW International Design Festival in 2012. In 2014 his poster was selected as the official image of the Montreal International Film Festival in Canada.

Toxic statement about his creation: “Given that Zabaltegi is a space dedicated to films with no formal or thematic limits, I thought the best idea would be a poster that highlighted a search, a search which is perhaps somewhat fated never to reach its final destination, but instead to learn and above all to enjoy all the variants along the way. That’s why I decided to use a person who has lost a shoe in a strange labyrinth of pipes. The audience who come along to this unclassifiable cinema has lost something and aims to find it inside the cinema”.

No doubt that Toxic has impressive credentials but in my opinion there were more interesting graphic designs for this section, unfortunately the four special mentions are none of the ones I find interesting. If you wish to check section finalists go here and browse down, perhaps you will agree that Paper Cinema or Mucho que Decir are more interesting graphic proposals. As a matter of fact if you use the link you will notice that the winning poster looks different, so perhaps the artist modified the poster to place the title in the middle, instead of below, which absolutely looks a lot better.

Culinary Zinema

Last, for the section dedicated to cinema and gastronomy: Culinary Zinema, the chosen poster is "Marilyn" by the duo formed by Noemí Gómez Lobo from Asturias and Diego Martín Sánchez from Salamanca who have been working since 2012 on different projects that explore the hazy limits between art, architecture and design.

This is their joint statement:  “Taking an interest in the point of view of the author, the filmmaker, the chef, the actor, and their transformation into an icon, we began with the idea of the enormously intense yet terribly short-lived experience of taking a bite, out of a film, or a kiss. Created with the cross-section of a strawberry and a drop of chocolate, our intention was to evoke the mole on Marilyn’s lip, turning the actual poster itself into a game. On the other hand, the intensity of the strawberry color contrasts with a neutral background, like a mouthful of haute cuisine on a plate with no limits”.

There were four special mentions in the category and all designs -including the winner- had in common something worth mentioning:  none had cutlery in the design!  Definitively agree with winner as the best from the special mentions and also from the finalists.  You can see the four special mentions here (browse down).

The Finalists Video

Here is a video with the Poster Competition Finalists in each of the festival sections

Out of Competition

Three other graphic identities commissioned to a specific designer were also presented. Here are the posters for Savage Cinema, New Japanese Independent Cinema and Thematic Retrospectives.

Here are two videos about the Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack retrospective and the New Japanese Independent Cinema retrospective

Posters and Festival Presentation Video

For those that understand Spanish here is the video with the posters presentation by José Luis Rebordinos, festival director.

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