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Gipuzkoa and San Sebastian partner up to promote and facilitate cinematographic production in the territory


The Provincial Council reaches an agreement with San Sebastian City Hall, through its corporation Fomento, and Provincial Development Agencies, to set up the new San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa Film Commission.

The Regional Department of Culture will provide the San Sebastian Film Commission with €100,000 to extend its services to the whole of Gipuzkoa province, creating a single portal to expedite administrative procedures and facilitate the search for film locations.

A joint study by Fomento de San Sebastián and Gipuzkoa Provincial Council has revealed that 110 audiovisual shoots were identified in 2015, corresponding to 102 different titles and filmed at 30 localities around the province of Gipuzkoa, involving a direct investment of €7,852,601 for the territory.


Aware of the audiovisual industry’s capacity to generate wealth, employment and external projection, Gipuzkoa has decided to join forces with the San Sebastian Film Commission to cover the whole of Gipuzkoa province through an agreement signed this morning between the Provincial Council, San Sebastian City Hall and the region’s nine local development agencies (Debegesa, Tolsaldea Garatzen, S.A., Iraurgi lantzen, S.A., Beteberri-Buruntza Udalako, Oarsoaldea, S.A., Agencia de Desarrollo del Bidasoa, S.A., Debagoieneko Mankomunitatea, Urola Garaiko Garapenerako Agentzia, S.A. and Goierriko Ekimena, S.A.) to set up offices for the Film Commission that will cover San Sebastian and the whole of Gipuzkoa province, which will be known as the San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa Film Commission


The Regional Minister for Culture, Denis Itxaso, explained at the presentation: “Gipuzkoa is an immense film set covering almost 2,000 km2, a stunning location for film and TV shoots, and for new digital platforms. A small space but one brimming with contrasts, spanning mountains, coastlines, and a whole host of different industrial and urban spaces. The aim of institutions is to facilitate as much as possible the work of professionals through instruments capable of effectively finding exterior and interior settings, and an agile system to expedite permits and authorisations to film on public roadways, as well as other administrative procedures. 8 Apellidos Vascos, Game of Thrones, and Allí Abajo are just a few examples of films and series that generate industry and manage to position the territory and its heritage and tourist resources”.


The Deputy Mayor of San Sebastian, and regional councillor for Economic Development and Employment, Ernesto Gasco, notes: “we often talk about inter-institutional collaboration, or new models of governance, but this agreement is the maximum expression of these principles. Through the San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa Film Commission we can combine San Sebastian’s extensive experience in securing and managing film shoots, the Provincial Council’s commitment to extending this initiative to the rest of the territory, and finally the involvement of various areas to expand the opportunities to attract shoots and properly manage administrative procedures in each municipality”.


The presentation was attended by the mayors for Eibar, Azpeitia and Legazpia, Miguel de los Toyos, Eneko Etxeberria and Koldobike Olabide, along with representatives from Oarsoaldea and Goierri, José Angel Sanchez and Felix Urkola, representing these districts of Gipuzkoa, and Itziar Arratibel as vice president of the Tolosaldea Local Development Agency, who intervened on behalf of all of other local development agencies.


The main challenge for this new organisation will be to promote San Sebastian and the province of Gipuzkoa within the national and international audiovisual industry, as an ideal location for audiovisual shoots, to raise the profile and further develop the local audiovisual and digital sector. By signing this agreement, it will be working with all the institutions and agents involved to create a provincial network to facilitate the work of film, television and advertising producers who choose Gipuzkoa as a set for their shoots. To this end, technical training sessions will be held for staff from different municipalities in Gipuzkoa in order to activate the services required to process permits and authorisations, provide support to find locations, and promote and encourage the local industry to work with producers who come here to shoot.



The inter-institutional agreement has assigned the management of all these tasks to Fomento de San Sebastián, a corporate entity with extensive experience, which reports to the Regional Department for Economic Promotion. To this end, the Regional Government will provide €100,000 in order to supply more human resources for the office.


Over the past fifteen years, the San Sebastian Film Commission has collaborated with the making of 66 films, with a direct investment of almost 22 million euros. They include ‘Handia’, the big winner at the 2018 Goya Awards, with a total of 10 awards, ‘La herida’, awarded at the San Sebastian Film Festival, which featured, Marian Álvarez, who won the Goya for Best Actress, and Fernando Franco, won the award for Best New Director. There were also two films made based on the famous comic strip duo of Zipi y Zape, ‘Zipi y Zape y el club de las canicas’ and ‘Zipi y Zape y la isla del capitán’. The Donostia-San Sebastian Film Commission has also supported the recording of television series such as ‘Allí abajo’, for Antena 3, ‘Lo que escondían sus ojos’, produced by MediaSet España for Telecinco, ‘La Zona’ for Movistar and ‘Goazen’ for ETB.


A study carried out in 2016 showed that, even though the vast majority of shoots took place in San Sebastian, various municipalities around Gipuzkoa were also chosen by production companies as filming locations, and so, this comprehensive unified service has been launched in order to produce a comprehensive service through a single channel capable of meeting the needs of production firms.


The study reveals that 110 audiovisual shoots were identified in 2015, corresponding to 102 different titles and filmed at 30 locations around the province of Gipuzkoa. In terms of their classification by genre, high percentages of the contents filmed were made for television, films in different formats, photographic reportage for advertising, and corporate videos. The total declared budget (not exclusive of shoots) was €26,175,335 which has meant a direct investment for Gipuzkoa of €7,852,601 (Ratios Spain Film Commission). The shoots have involved 1725 people and were made over more than 600 days’ filming by production firms, the majority of which are located in the Basque Country.


The municipalities and districts of Gipuzkoa, through their respective Development agencies, promote the socioeconomic development of their respective territories, and so the project for a single Film Commission can provide traction in terms of the exterior promotion of the territory and the induced demand for services generated by audiovisual productions.


The Regional Department of Culture and Tourism is also aware of the audiovisual industry’s capacity to generate wealth, employment, external and international projection, and tourist appeal, and so it aims to promote audiovisual shoots throughout the entire Historic Territory of Gipuzkoa. Alongside this initiative, the Department is also developing important initiatives such as the new Elías Querejeta Film School, and a new line of public subsidies for film and audiovisual production.


Gipuzkoa and San Sebastian are the land of Game of Thrones and professional Giants

The audiovisual industry in Gipuzkoa, which encompasses the entire value chain for shoots, has consolidated its standing in recent years as a network of companies and professionals involved in internationally renowned joint productions and projects, such as the hit series ‘Game of Thrones’, filmed in Zumaia. It offers screenplay writers, production firms, heads of production, make-up artists, wardrobe professionals, art directors, special effects firms, casting companies, sound and production: in short, everything you need to make films, TV and advertising.


The importance of this sector is shown by the magnificent local teams available, whose professionals have earned multiple awards and nominations in recent years, including:

  • Ten Goya awards for Handia
  • Oscar nomination for the producers Moriarti and Irusoin in 2015 for Loreak
  • Goya Award for Karmele Soler (make-up artist)
  • Goya Award for Mitxel Gaztambide (screenplay writer)
  • Goya Award for Javier Aguirresarobe (director of photographer)
  • Goya Award for Alberto Iglesias (composer)


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