The Tokyo International Film Festival opens a window on Basque cinema with support from the Etxepare Basque Institute

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


The Tokyo International Film Festival has announced that it will include five Basque films in its line-up. This Basque Window is the outcome of a partnership between the Etxepare Basque Institute and the TIFF, together with the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Basque Secretary-General of Foreign Action. The Basque Window showcased in Tokyo is part of the Euskadi Japan 2023 programme.

The Tokyo International Film Festival, one of Asia’s leading film festivals and one of the world’s most emblematic, will be held from 23 October to 1 November in the Japanese capital. The Basque Window, which will host five Basque films directed by women, is programmed in the World Focus section, dedicated to showcasing films that reflect current trends in global cinema.

The award-winning film ‘20000 Species of Bees’, directed by Estíbaliz Urresola Solaguren, will have its Japanese premiere at the TIFF Basque Window. Urresola´s debut film has received recognition at renowned festivals, including the Berlinale, the Malaga Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival and was pre-selected to represent Spain at the Oscars. The film’s latest award was the ´Egile Berriak´ at the Basque Film Gala of the San Sebastian International Film Festival. ‘20000 Species of Bees’ deals with issues including gender identity, childhood transsexuality, and the diversity of family and social structures.

Sultana’s Dream’ by Isabel Herguera is also part of the selection of Basque films. Herguera´s first feature film is in competition in the Official Selection of the San Sebastian Film Festival and has just received the Award for Best Basque Screenplay at the Basque Film Gala. The animated film tells the story of the journey of Inés, a young Spanish director. In 1905, the Bengali writer Rokeya Hossain dreamt of Ladyland, a utopian realm ruled by women, and a century later, Inés decides to embark on a journey of self-discovery by following in Rokey´s footsteps and seeking Ladyland.

Jaione Camborda’s latest film, ‘O corno / The Rye Horn’, will also be part of the Basque Window line-up. The film is currently competing in the Official Selection of the 71st edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and has participated in the Toronto International Film Festival. Set in rural Galicia, the film tells the story of a woman who runs away, reinvents herself and faces questions of motherhood and identity.

Also included is the documentary ‘Arnasa Betean, emakume zinemagileak’ directed by Rosa Zufía and Bertha Gaztelumendi. The leading characters of the documentary are Basque women filmmakers of yesterday and today. The documentary´s central figures are Basque women filmmakers from both the past and the present. This film, portraying a universal perspective on women in the world of cinema, is poised for its international premiere in Japan.

The last film in the selection is ‘Las buenas compañías / In the Company of Women’, directed by Silvia Munt. Last year, ‘In the Company of Women’ won the Audience Award at the Human Rights Film Festival. The feature film tells the story of a group of Basque activists on the Franco-Spanish border, fighting for women´s rights in the final days of the Franco dictatorship.


On 30 October, the Etxepare Basque Institute will organise an event in Tokyo to present the Basque Window at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Several film directors and institutional representatives will be in attendance, with the purpose of establishing the event as a pivotal gathering point for the Basque film industry.

Euskadi Japan 2023

The multi-sector initiative Euskadi Japan 2023 seeks to reinforce and call attention to the existing relations between the Basque Country and Japan. The aim of the project is to strengthen these relations between the two territories and foster new collaborations in different areas, including culture, gastronomy, tourism, economics, and sports. The Etxepare Basque Institute is dedicated to enhancing cultural relations and furthering collaboration between the Basque Country and Japan.

Throughout 2023, a bilateral programme will be implemented in Japan and the Basque Country to promote multi-sector activities in both regions. In the area of cinema, the 71st San Sebastian International Film Festival includes a retrospective of the Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara; in return, this Basque Window will be shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival.


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