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Counter-Archives – Zinemaldia 70: All Possible Histories (Pablo La Parra Pérez)

Join us for a conversation between Pablo La Parra Pérez and Ros Murray on the archive and research project Zinemaldia 70: All Possible Histories.

In 2018, the San Sebastian International Film Festival (SSIFF) set up, together with the postgraduate film school Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, the archive and research project Zinemaldia 70: All Possible Histories. The project aims to preserve, study, and make accessible the largely unknown archive of the SSIFF. The collection gathers, among others, correspondence, administrative and press archives, photographs, posters, journals, and films preserved since the foundation of the festival in 1953 to the present. 

In this talk, Pablo La Parra Pérez, director of the project, will explain the challenges that constituting the archive of a major international film festival entails, starting with the efforts to repair, preserve, and catalog thousands of archive documents to make them publicly accessible. Inextricably intertwined to this material work, the Zinemaldia 70 project has activated a series of research incursions into the archive. The goal is not to perpetuate uncritical, self-congratulatory representations of the festival but to encourage critical approaches by shedding light on understudied chapters of its history. Topics have included the critical reexamination of the relationship between the festival and the Franco dictatorship, a feminist rereading of the SSIFF’s history, and the reconstruction of the radical aesthetical and political transformations the festival experienced in the late Seventies and early Eighties. The histories this archive-based research reveals are often at odds with traditional narratives of the SSIFF and open new paths to reimagine the festival’s past—and, therefore, its possible futures.

Pablo La Parra-Pérez is professor and Head of the Department of Research at Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE). Since 2018 he is the principal investigator of the archive and research project Zinemaldia 70: All Possible Histories, set up by the San Sebastian International Film Festival and EQZE. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University, with a thesis on militant film cultures in Spain in the Sixties and Seventies. His academic work has been published in international journals such as the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies and Sociologias and volumes such as 1968 and Global Cinema (Wayne State UP, 2018) and Global Perspectives on Amateur Film Histories and Cultures (Indiana UP, 2020), among others. He has curated public programs and exhibitions in Tabakalera-International Centre for Contemporary Culture, the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), and Artium-Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country.

Ros Murray is Senior Lecturer in the department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at King’s College London. Her research interests lie in experimental, avant garde and documentary film in France and Spain, as well as in activist cultures and histories. Her current book project explores the work of Carole Roussopoulos with feminist video collectives in 1970s France. Her first book, Antonin Artaud: The Scum of the Soul, was published with Palgrave McMillan in 2014. She has published articles on queer French and Spanish film, as well as on the work of Antonin Artaud, in Film-Philosophy, Studies in European Cinema, Feral Feminisms, Transnational Cinemas, MIRAJ and Camera Obscura. Her most recent article, co-authored with Arantza Santesteban, on feminist video documentaries on the final executions of the Franco regime, appeared in the Zine Eskola research series last year.