San Sebastian, September 28th, 2017 (SIGNIS). Sixty years ago, in 1957, the Jury of the International Catholic Film Organization (OCIC) awarded its first prize at the San Sebastian Festival. The laureate was the film by West German filmmaker Otto Willem: Fischer Ich suche dich. Since then, OCIC and now SIGNIS, have had a constant presence in the festival, rewarding works of directors like Eliseo Subiela, Carlos Sorín, Fernando Perez, Margarethe Von Trotta, Patricio Guzmán, among others.
At the 65th San Sebastian International Film Festival, the SIGNIS Jury will give a special recognition "60 years of SIGNIS Prize in San Sebastián" to commemorate this story of promoting quality cinema and peace building.
Since the beginning of the last century, OCIC has brought together film critics from more than thirty countries, who began joining jurors at international film festivals such as Venice, Berlin and Cannes.
When the city of San Sebastián began negotiations to organize a film festival in 1953, the Spanish State granted a subsidy to an independent festival under the name of "The Week of Catholic Cinema" and this economic support was used to found the Festival of San Sebastian.
In 1955, OCIC organized the Cinematographic Training Week during the Third Festival of San Sebastián.
In 1957, the Festival of San Sebastián received from the International Federation of Cinematographic Producer Associations (FIAPF) its status as a category A festival and OCIC integrated its first international jury. At that time, the presence of the OCIC Jury was a guarantee of the quality of the Festival in the world of cinema.
Although between 1958 and 1962 the festival faced difficulties in asserting itself, OCIC always supported this important space for the promotion of Spanish-language culture and a fundamental door for the dissemination of Latin American cinematography in Europe.
At the end of the 1990s, Latin American producers requested support from OCIC to finance their projects. OCIC gathered a fund to launch a Latin American Film Postproduction Contest. During the following decade, this initiative was integrated into the "Cinema en Construcción" project of the San Sebastian and Toulouse festivals.
Another significant moment in the history of SIGNIS in San Sebastian occurred in 2007 when SIGNIS celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Prize at the festival and paid tribute to the German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff.
Continuing this tour and celebrating the sixty years of his Jury, SIGNIS will award a special "60 year" Prize to a film of the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
The official award of the SIGNIS Special Prize will take place on Saturday, September 30, at the 65th San Sebastian International Film Festival.