First time director Alina Grigore wins the Golden shell while Women sweep the San Sebastian Film Festival

Alexia Muiños Ruiz
Alexia Muiños Ruiz

Women sweep the San Sebastian Film Festival with 63% of the prizes

For the second year, the Golden Shell goes to a debut film, CRAI NOU  (Blue Moon) by Alina Grigore and produced by Gabi Suciu. The poignant film portraying toxic masculinity and abuses from the patriarchy, was not among the favourites. However, the jury highlighted its “uncompromising commitment to the language of cinema that explores the state of both youth and womanhood”

When accepting the award, Grigore said, “In the name of all my female colleagues, directors and producers, a huge thanks to all those who are offering us the chance to get our message as far as it can get.”

The official jury, chaired by director Dea Kulumbegashvili (winner of last year’s Golden Shell ), and made up of directors Audrey Diwan (fresh off her Golden Lion win ) and Oscar nominated Maite Alberdi, actress Susi Sánchez and producer Ted Hope, handed out a record number of prizes to female fillmmakers, picking up 12 of the 19 trophies, including the top ones. Women earned 63% of the awards handed out in the 69 edition of Zinemaldi to round up an incredible year in terms of delivering powerful films with wide recognition.


Dane Tea Lindeburg, was bestowed the Silver Shell for Best Director for As in heaven whose actress also received the Silver Shell for Best Performance

Noche de fuego by Mexican Tatiana Huezo spooned no less than three prizes in the evening. The film won the Horizontes Latinos Award, honouring its compromise with women in situation of vulnerability. In addition, the film also won the  Spanish Cooperation Award and RTVE Another Look Award

The complex and controversial Earwig by French-Bosnian Lucile Hadzihalilovic, took home the Special Jury Prize. In 2015, she had also won this prize on her former Film Evolution

Petite Maman by Céline Sciamma was bestowed with City of Donostia/San Sebastián Audience Award after its participation in Berlinale.

The festival decision of transforming the former Acting Awards into a non-gender distinction, neither masculine nor feminine, caused a natural stir. Women's Film associations complained showing their fear that by uniting the acting awards, women's performances would be left in the background, since the industry does not offer the same opportunities to men and women yet. However, the jury surprised everybody by giving an ex-aequo Silver Shell for Best Leading Performance to the breakthrough performance of the young Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl ( As in Heaven- Denmark and to Jessica Chastain  for The Eyes of Tammy Faye(USA).

New directors award went to Unwanted by Russian Lena Lanskih.

Jury Prize for Best Cinematography to French Claire Mathon by Undercover. Mathon is undoubtedly one of the best cinematographers of the moment, with her outstanding work at Sciamma's Portrait of a woman on fire, with whom she has worked again on Petite Maman and so has with Pablo Larrain on Spencer.

Irizar Basque Film Award: Maixabel de Spanish director Iciar Bollaín

Nest Award to the Best shortfilm U ŠUMI ( IN THE WOODS) by Croatian Sara Grguric 

Many films left without an award in one of the best San Sebastian line-up remembered in the past years, with Terence Davies complex anti-war drama Benediction (which received the Silver Shell to Best Screenplay), Golden shell winner Fernando Leon de Aranoa's The Boss, Golden bear's winner Claudia Llosa 's Fever Dream, or past Oscar winners Zhang Yimou's One Second and Laurent Cantet's Arthur Rambo.


On the other hand, the festival controversial Donostia Award to Johnny Depp, raised many voices against. Therefore, a private conference was held between the Festival and selected representatives of Women's Networks operating in Spain, to agree some route plan for the following years to include more women and a more balanced approach when it comes to appoint honours.

6 women associations -AAMMA, (Andalucía), AMMA (Murcia), Dona i Cinema (Comunitat Valenciana), Dones Visuals (Catalunya), Hemen (Euskadi) and MIA (Mujeres en la Industria de la Animación) - and the Film Festival Coordinating Network TRAMA signed the following press release, in Spanish.