2011 Program

Ttaup! Ttaup!   |   Ogro   |   Ipuina Kontatu



A film set in the Basque region of Gipuzkoa, beginning in the Carlist war of 1875 and ending during the Spanish Civil war of 1936. The film portrays how one single act of cowardice shapes the life of the next three generations of two families and fuels the intense rivalry which will span the next sixty-one years.

At the trenches of Biscay in 1875 during the Second Carlist War, an army sergeant named Carmelo Mendiluze (Kandido Uranga) learns from a young errand boy named Ilegorri (Ortzi Balda) that a neighbor named Manuel Iriguibel (Carmelo Gómez) from his native village has joined their exhausted battalion. Eager for news of his child's birth, Carmelo befriends the inexperienced soldier whose reputation as an expert aizcolari (competition log cutter) cannot conceal his apprehension and fear of armed combat. Manuel's paralyzing timidity results in tragic consequences that is exacerbated by a subsequent ignominious act by Manuel in an attempt to be transported away from the front lines and evade military duty. Thirty years later, in the town of Guipuzcoa, a lingering animosity has continued between the Mendiluze and Iriguibel families. Miguel's grown son Ignacio (Carmelo Gómez) and the Carmelo's son Juan (Kandido Uranga) have maintained family traditions by honing their skills as aizcolari. Despite the strained relations between the neighbors, the destinies of the two families seem fatefully interconnected, as a close childhood friendship develops between Juan's younger brother, Peru (Miguel Ángel García) and Ignacio's sister, Cristina (Ana Sánchez). Similarly, Juan's sister, Catalina (Ana Torrent), cannot conceal her romantic interest for Ignacio as she furtively watches him practice cutting logs in the woods - an attraction that proves to be mutual through Ignacio's playful attempts to catch her already piqued attention. In an attempt to capitalize from the rivalry between the two families, Ilegorri (Karra Elejalde), now a grown man, arranges a waged competition between the two men and soon, Ignacio's career as an aizcolari contender is launched. Invariably, Ignacio's travels to national competitions lead to fame and success, and consequently, prolonged separation from his family and his beloved Catalina. But as the vanquished Juan becomes increasingly obsessed and delusional with thoughts of vengeance, can love transcend the bounds of familial obligation?

Julio Medem creates an intelligently crafted, visually exhilarating, and symbolically rich examination of love, duty, and nationalism in Vacas. The title of the film refers to the passive omnipresence of cows, and also serves as a contrasted allusion to the national tradition of bullfighting. Using the repeated perspective of a spectator (shot through a simulated circular diopter, Medem provides an objective chronicle that captures the incongruous coexistence of peace and violence, friendship and betrayal, tranquility and chaos. Correlating the Mendiluze and Iriguibel family rivalry to span pivotal events in Spanish history, Medem further illustrates the cyclical nature of the unresolved strife and vacillating alliance by using the same actor to portray generations of characters, even those from opposing families. Note the actor Carmelo Gómez's transformation from the cowardly Manuel Iriguibel in the Carlist Wars, to Manuel's son Ignacio in 1905, and eventually, to the matured photographer, Peru Mendiluze, who returns the Basque region at the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. As the film follows the odd union of the Basque soldiers with the monarchists and the Catholic Church during the Carlist Wars, to the unusual alliance with the socialists and communists for the preservation of the republic against the fascist forces led by Franco during the Spanish Civil War, Medem presents an impartial, yet deeply personal and thought provoking account of the continued devastation, nationalism, and inconstant allegiance of the Basque people, as they struggle for the seemingly elusive causes of autonomy, self-determination, and cultural identity.




1992, directed by Julio Medem, 1 hour 36 minutes, color,

in Castilian with English subtitles.


Hosted by Dr. Oscar Alvarez of the Center for Basque Studies





A shepherd, lost in the city, searches for his flock. His call attracts the attention of some people, who decide to follow him.

2009, directed by Asier Altuna, 8 minutes, no dialogue



From the day he was born in 1958, Julio Médem was constantly playing around with his father's Super8 Camera. Following a privileged upbringing, he went on to study medicine but never lost that constant nagging feeling that his true passion for film stirred in him. During the 1970's and 1980's, Médem got his feet wet directing short films, constantly learning, and writing full-length screenplays that he hoped to one day direct.

1992 saw the premiere of Julio Médem's first full-length film, Vacas, for which critics immediately - and correctly - coined him as the next big force in Basque & Spanish film making. Naming him the cinematic heir to Spanish greats like Luis Buñuel, Iván Zulueta, and Víctor Erice, Médem certainly has not disappointed. Boasting admirers around the globe like Steven Spielberg, he's considered one of the most original, important, and promising directors of Basque & Spanish cinema.


Both films!

Friday, April 1st, 7:30pm, Basque Cultural Center

Free Admission.

Basque Cultural Center, 599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080








The beating of the oars


Zumaia, on the coast. Winter 2007 in the rowing club. Although they compete in summer, the rowing boats have already started practicing. Demanding physical events, competition, rejections. All for one in the same boat.
Thirteen rowers, each with his expectations, concerns, his own dream. Looking backwards, from the distance of time, this documentary constitutes the wake left by the boat in the sea. The coexistence of that 2007 alongside the rowers from Zumaia. At each training session, each competition... TTAUP, TTAUP! The beating of the oars.




2010 directed by Eneko Dorronsoro, 67 minutes, color,
in Euskara & Castilian with English subtitles.


Hosted by director Eneko Dorronsoro


Eneko Dorronsoro was born in Zumaia in 1978, and studied directing and screenplay in Barcelona. Has been working in film and television since then. Outstanding among his work as a director is the short film Olarro (2007) and the music report Karidadeko Benta. Lehengo munduaren azkena (2008).

He was a member of the production team on series for TV like Brinkola and Pilotari for Euskal Telebista, and on film productions such as Eutsi! (2007) and La máquina de pintar nubes (2009).

TTAUP, TTAUP! The Beating of the Oars is his first documentary.




2007, directed by Eneko Dorronsoro, 9 minutes, with English subtitles

Both films!

Friday, May 6th, 7:30pm, Basque Cultural Center

Free Admission.

Basque Cultural Center, 599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080



Eneko Dorronsoro (left) introduces his film in Euskara while Xabier Berrueta translates in English.



Eneko Dorronsoro with BEO chairman Yvonne Hauscarriague (far left), BEO Vice-Chair Marisa Espinal and Xabier Berrueta.


Here is a clip from Mr. Dorronsoro's presentation:








As 1973 winds down, Franco is still governing Spain with an iron hand. Opposition parties are forbidden; labor movements are repressed; and Basque nationalists are mercilessly hunted down. The caudillo is aging, though, and the continuity of the régime is in question. One man has the trust of Franco, enough authority and experience to assume the leadership, and an impeccable track record as to dealing with enemies of the State: admiral Carrero Blanco. For the embattled clandestine Basque organization ETA, Carrero Blanco must be brought down. Daring plans are made, requiring a meticulous execution...

1979, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, 1 hour 55 minutes,

color - all-new, restored high-definition digital transfer

in Italian with English subtitles.


Hosted by Dr. Oscar Alvarez of the Center for Basque Studies

Gillo Pontecorvo (1919–2006) was an Italian filmmaker. He worked as a film director for more than a decade before his best known film La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, 1966) was released. For this he was nominated for the Best Director Oscar in 1969 and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in that year.
His other films include Kapò (1960), which takes place in a World War II concentration camp, and Burn! (Queimada, 1969), starring Marlon Brando and loosely based on the failed slave revolution in Guadeloupe.
Pontecorvo continued his series of highly political films with Ogro (1979), which used both Spanish and Italian actors, who spoke in Castilian in the film. Ogro was dubbed in Italian for its release in Italy.
In 2000, he received the Pietro Bianchi Award at the Venice Film Festival. He was also a screenwriter and composer of film scores, and a close friend of the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.


Un Novio de Mierda


After four months without seeing each other, a girl receives a visit from her ex­boyfriend.


2010, directed by Borja Cobeaga, 3.5 minutes, Castilian with English subtitles


Both films!

Friday, May 20th, 7:30pm, Basque Cultural Center

Free Admission.

Basque Cultural Center, 599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080








An exclusive sneak preview of the upcoming documentary “Ipuina Kontatu” (telling stories), presented at the Basque Cultural Center by the film’s director Emily Lobsenz. Each member and patron of the Basque Cultural Center and their family members and guests are invited to this private event.

There will be a hosted (wine & cheese) meet and greet reception preceding the screening, that will be sponsored by the BEO and Zuazo Gaston Bodegas.

To attend, please RSVP to Nicole Sorhondo at 415-285-0748 or at Info@BasqueEd.org by October 10th.

Weaving together the personal stories of contemporary Basques, this film tells the extraordinary tale of an ancient culture’s survival from within its contemporary context. As the film unfolds, the tales peppering Basque history inform each of the character’s lives and their unique way of synthesizing our contemporary world’s challenges into their anciently rooted way of life.

Ipuina Kontatu means Telling Stories. Basques passed their language and customs down the generations by an oral tradition and the film imitates this through oral-tales. Out on their boat, Jorge and Yolanda tell wild accounts of Basque fishermen chasing after monstrous whales. How will they fight the monstrous commercial fleets fishing beside them? Kepa s musical passions called him away from the city of Bilbao to explore the local music traditions of his rural surroundings. He s now reinventing those traditions with musicians worldwide. Etxebarria transformed rocky mountains into fertile farmlands and with his daughter Itziar endeavors to recover heirloom varietals and post-industrial lands. Carmelo s family lived the nightmare that intensive industrialization spawned in Basque iron-mines. He wants to preserve the memory of this abuse and allow mother nature to retake her territory, but land-developers have a different agenda. Joseba and his daughter Bego undertake repopulating an indigenous Basque sheep that is near extinction. To make it profitable they produce the artisan cheese his grandmother made and find their way to an international market. Secondary characters add details as social considerations trickle into a narrative that dances between history and present as the mysterious tale of Basque culture s survival unfolds. The alluring personalities of these five protagonists and the tenacious spirit with which they confront these challenges drive the story forward. Collectively they offer a novel perspective on what it means to lead an internationally local and progressively traditional life.



Ipuina Kontatu: The Basque Way Trailer from Ipuina Kontatu on Vimeo.


2011, directed by Emily Lobsenz, 63 minutes, color,

in Euskara & Castilian with English subtitles.


Hosted by the film's director Emily Lobsenz


Emily Lobsenz


Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College (2002), Emily directed two award winning films. She earned a Masters at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2003) and received honors for her dissertation on The Order of the Golden Fleece. She has since done award-winning work in camera and production-design for film and television in Europe and the US.

In 2006 she founded Daggewood Films (USA), Daggewood Produkzioak (Spain) and began developing Ipuina Kontatu that year. She was selected as a CPB Producers Fellow at INPUT 2010, awarded the ITVS grant for the documentary Karla’s Arrival and in 2011 the Fulbright Travel Grant by the US Embassy in Nicaragua. Emily is fluent in Spanish, French, and Basque, an elite triathlete and runner, and a cellist.



Friday, October 14th, 7:30pm, Basque Cultural Center

Private Event - By Invitation Only

Basque Cultural Center, 599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080







Director Emily Lobsenz pictured with BEO directors (left to right) Frantxoa Bidaurreta,

Anna Iriartborde, Esther Bidaurreta, Nicole Sorhondo, Philippe Acheritogaray