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Bingen Zupiria has started a trip to Japan to participate in the Basque Window of the Tokyo International Film Festival

2023 October 27
  • Organized by Etxepare Euskal Institutua, TIFF's Basque window is screening the film '20,000 species of bees' which won the festival's Ethical Film Award.
  • The window is programmed in the World Focus section of the A-rated film festival, which runs from October 23 to November 1, under the title 'Spotlight: Basque Cinema'.

The Tokyo International Film Festival today announced that Estibaliz Urresola's film '20,000 Species of Bees' has won the Ethical Award, which was premiered at this year's festival. Urresola's prestigious film is being screened at the Tokyo festival, as part of the Basque Window organised by Etxepare Euskal Institutua. The Minister of Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria, will visit Japan to take part in the Tokyo festival.

TIFF 2023 has selected outstanding films that comply with the festival's ethical principles from among those submitted to this year's film festival. “Films have been selected that address such important current social issues as gender equality, the environment, poverty, diversity and discrimination” says the notice published by the festival itself. There were three candidates for this award: The Fisher, Power Alley and 20,000 species of bees, and the last one was the winner.

The award will be presented to the director on October 31, following a new screening of Urresola's film. The director is on her way to Tokyo.

Basque female filmmakers dominate

For the first time, Basque cinema is attending one of the most important and emblematic film festivals in Asia and the world thanks to Etxepare Euskal Institutua. This showcase of Basque cinema has the collaboration of the San Sebastian Festival and the General Secretariat of External Action of the Presidency, and is one of the actions framed in the programme Euskadi Japan 2023.

The series 'Spotlight: Basque Cinema' is presenting five Basque films between October 23 and November 1. The film '20.000 especies de abejas/20.000 Species of Bees', directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, kicked off the Basque window and along with 'El sueño del sultana/Sultana's Dream', by Isabel Herguera; 'O corno/The Rye Horn', by Jaione Camborda; 'Arnasa Betean, emakume zinemagileak/A Deep Breath, Women Filmmakers', by Rosa Zufía and Bertha Gaztelumendi; and 'Las buenas compañías/In the Company of Women', by Silvia Munt, complete the section dedicated to Basque cinema.

Each film will have four screenings, and on October 31, after the screenings of '20,000 species of bees' and 'El sueño de la sultana', Estíbaliz Urresola and Isabel Herguera will offer a discussion on their respective films.

 The complete programme of the TIFF Tokyo Basque Window is available on the film festival's website.

Basque cinema meeting

In Tokyo, the Minister for Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Ziupiria, presided over the presentation of the Basque Window within the framework of the Tokyo International Film Festival. Organised by Etxepare Euskal Institutua, the aim of this event is to present the Basque window 'Spotlight: Basque Cinema' and to be a meeting point for the Basque and international film industry. This initiative is part of the multi-sectoral initiative Euskadi Japan 2023, the Basque Government's programme that seeks to strengthen relations between the Basque Country and Japan and create new projects and collaborations.

The presentation ceremony will take place at the Imperial Hotel in the Japanese capital and will be attended, in addition to Bingen Zupiria, by Irene Larraza, general director of Etxepare Euskal Institutua; Imanol Otaegi, director of Cultura Etxepare Euskal Institutua; the director of the film '20,000 species of bees', Estíbaliz Urresola; and the director of the film 'El sueño de la sultana', Isabel Herguera.

Also present will be representatives of the Japanese film industry, the Basque community in Japan, the students and professors of the course promoted by the Institute at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and several members of its academic community.

In the presentation, Bingen Zupiria will highlight the golden age that Basque cinema is currently experiencing and will highlight the vocation of Basque culture to relate to other cultures. Shozo Ichiyama, programming director of the Tokyo International Film Festival, Hiroyasu Ando, president of the Tokyo International Film Festival and Irene Larraza will also speak.

Meeting with Basque language students

On November 2, the Minister for Culture and Language Policy, accompanied by the director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, Irene Larraza, will meet with the students of the School of Basque Language and Culture of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. In the meeting with about thirty students, they will talk about topics related to Basque culture. Gari Ortigosa, a lecturer at the Etxepare Institute at the University of Tokyo, will also participate in this meeting and will lead this gathering of students studying Basque and Basque culture.

During his trip to Japan, the Minister of Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria, will also have the opportunity to hold meetings with other cultural stakeholders and learn about the situation of the local cultural sector.

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Politicians attending the event
  • Bingen Zupiria Gorostidi
    Consejero de Cultura y Política Lingüística y Portavoz del Gobierno (XII term)
  • Irene Larraza Aizpurua
    Directora del Instituto Vasco Etxepare Euskal Institutua / Basque Institute (XII term)
  • Imanol Otaegi Mitxelena
    Director para la Promoción y Difusión de la Cultura Vasca. Instituto Vasco Etxepare Euskal Institutua / Basque Institute (XII term)