The 71st edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival

The 2023 San Sebastián Film Festival (known as Zinemaldia in Basque) is being held for the 71st time this year. Film buffs consider it to be one of the most important events of the seventh art and it has always been known for discovering refreshing trends.

Origins of the San Sebastián International Film Festival

Its first edition, on the initiative of local businesses, took place in September 1953. Since then, this important competition has become known for discovering talent and for innovating the art. Its success was so significant that it immediately became an international film festival supported by the Ministry of Information and Tourism.

It was in 1955, at the third edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival, that the first Silver Shell for Best Foreign Film was awarded. However, it was still a non-competitive B category festival. Later, in 1957, the FIAPF, International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations, made it an A category festival and the Golden Shell prize was born. From then on, that would be the San Sebastián Film Festival icon.


Since then, the event has served to host major international film releases, such as Vertigo, and to discover actors and directors, such as Roman Polanski, who later became established. And everything to do with the red carpet for the big stars of every season. One of the most important competitions in Europe, and certainly the largest and longest-running in Spain, with undeniable glamour.

entradas Festival de cine de San sebastian 2023

Zinemaldia 2023: dates and venue

This 71st edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival will take place from the 22nd to the 30th of September. Although the competition’s main venue will be the Kursaal, as in the previous edition, there will also be screenings in the Victoria Eugenia theatre and various cinemas around the city. However, not all of the locations set to host the many scheduled series and events have been officially announced.

Sections and categories in the programme

Just like every other year, the San Sebastián Film Festival is split into sections or categories. The most significant of these are the:

Fotografia Festival de cine de San sebastian 2023

Considers original feature films that have only been shown in their country. Only the films in this section can bid for the Golden Shell. It also includes some other films that are not part of the competition, and special screenings.

The festival’s broadest section, where every format and genre competes.

These include categories such as surprise films, short films, children’s films, critically acclaimed feature films or feature films in other festivals, etc. Also, a wide selection that ranges from cinema connected to cuisine to films made in Spain.

Films, famous directors and awards at Zinemaldia 2023

We can reveal that the news at Zinemaldia 2023, the San Sebastián Film Festival, is that this year the Donostia Award is going to Spanish actor Javier Bardem. A retrospective of classic films will also be dedicated to Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara.

Other important awards that are now festival classics are:

  • Horizontes Award: Aimed at promoting awareness of Latin American feature films.
  • New Directors Award: Open to international filmmakers with their first or second original films.

Major international releases will be shown at the Velodrome, and the same venue will be used for the film music concert. The closing gala will also be broadcast here, and the films concluding the Official Section and Perlak Section will be shown at the same venue.

How to enjoy the 2023 San Sebastián Film Festival: tickets, opening times and tips

Even though the information that we have on these points still relates to the previous edition, they will serve as a guide.

In that edition, ticket sales were staggered, both online and at the Zinemaldi Plaza ticket booths, for three consecutive days. On each day, it was only possible to buy tickets for three days of the entire festival, divided into consecutive blocks. It was only from the fourth day that it was possible to buy tickets for the entire event.

However, each day, tickets for just one day of the San Sebastián Film Festival were made available on the same day and through every sales channel. They also made some tickets available for various specific sessions.

Bear in mind that all tickets are numbered, except tickets for the Velodrome. Also, please note that you cannot buy more than four tickets at once.

There will be ticket booths at:

  • Zinemaldi Plaza.
  • Kursaal Auditorium.
  • Victoria Eugenia theatre and related cinemas, as per the schedule.
  • Tabakalera.
  • Velodrome.


You can purchase tickets online:

  • Through the San Sebastián Film Festival official website.
  • On the Kutxabank website.
disfrutar Festival de cine de San sebastian 2023

However, we recommend that you check the festival website regularly to see any specific instructions for this year: points of sale, prices and opening times. There is still no information regarding this edition and it could be different from 2022.

We hope you enjoy the 2023 San Sebastián Film Festival. Prepare your trip for those dates and book your accommodation now.