San Sebastian film festival is one of the best-regarded around the world. Celebrities coming from all over the globe attend the event every year, as it has become the most important of its kind celebrated in Spain.
The festival took place for the first time on the 21st of September in 1953 and, ever since, it has been celebrated year after year without exception up to our days.
It qualified as a B category festival according to the FIAPF (International federation of film producers associations) after its highly successful first edition. Even though films did not compete to be awarded, this classification was supposed to give prestige to the event. However, two years later, in 1955, the FIAPF itself proclaim it a competition as far as colour films were concerned, which made it possible to award films included in that category. Thus, the famous “Concha de Plata” –Spanish for silver Shell- award was created. It was not until 1957 that the “concha” was made of gold, precisely the year when the festival qualified as an A category one, the highest in the cinema world.
From that point onwards, that is, for more than 60 years now, San Sebastian film festival has received the most acclaimed celebrities every year, becoming the “city of film” par excellence during its celebration. Famous leading figures in cinema such as Kirk Douglas, Monica Vitti, Anthony Mann, Anhony Quinn, Audrey Hepburn, Francis Ford Coppola, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Luis Buñuel, Steven Spielberg, Richard Burton, Harrison Ford, Pedro Almodóvar, Roman Polanski, Charlton Heston, Glenn Close, Sophia Loren, Mel Gibson, Keanu Reaves, Matt Dillon, Antonio Banderas… among many others, have already attended San Sebastian film festival.
In 1986, the Donostia award was created. This one recognises the work of people who have –in any way- made an exceptional contribution to the world of cinema, and it has become one of the most soul-stirring ones of the award giving ceremony ever since. The festival, which always takes place in September, provides the city with a unique atmosphere since, for an entire week, absolutely everything revolves around film. For a long time, the central venue for the festival was Victoria Eugenia theatre; but not long ago and due to restoration works, the festival started to be celebrated in the Kursaal, which is now its official venue.