Bilbao is the largest city in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. It hosts several popular festivals, including one of the oldest film festivals in Europe. The city’s film festival was founded in 1959 by the Basque Institute of Hispanic Culture. It was originally named the International Latin American and Filipino Documentary Film Competition of Bilbao. The festival was recognized by FIAPF in 1974
ZINEBI’s program features two competitions: the Short Film Competition and the Documentary Film Competition. Alongside its competitive programs, the festival hosts retrospectives and special screenings. Special attention is paid to films which raise social and other problems rarely covered in contemporary cinema. The festival is a platform for young and promising Basque and Spanish filmmakers where they can showcase their work and find their audience.
The main award of the Bilbao Film Festival is the Grand Award. Three statuettes are given out during every festival. The first is given to the best film in overall competition, the second is given to the best Spanish film, and third is given to the best Basque film. The Mikeldi Awards (Gold Mikeldi and Silver Mikeldi) are given to the best animation, best documentary, and beast feature film. Special awards given out at the festival include the Mikeldi Award to the Best Latin American Film, the UNICEF Award, the ZINEBI New Talents Award, and others. Every winner receives a considerable sum of money.
The Bilbao International Documentary and Short Film Festival showcases films from more than 20 countries including Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, the USA, France, Chile, and Japan. Special attention is paid to films in Spanish and Basque.