During the 2023 Horror Week Festival in San Sebastian, SAXSMAG conducted an interview with Josemi Beltran

Josemi Beltrán, a true cinephile, is the person responsible for the film department at Donostia Kultura, the cultural organization in San Sebastian. With a deep passion for cinema, he has dedicated his career to curating and organizing various film festivals in the city. (All Photos credit: Arantxa Cortajarena)

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Josemi Beltran (All Photos credit: Arantxa Cortajarena)

One of the most prominent events under his supervision is the Semana de Terror, or the Horror Film Week. This festival has gained international recognition for its celebration of all things horror, attracting both filmmakers and enthusiasts from around the world. Beltrán’s expertise in the genre ensures that the festival showcases a diverse range of horror films, from classic masterpieces to contemporary thrillers.


But Beltrán’s involvement in the film industry doesn’t stop at horror. He is also actively involved in organizing the San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival. This event aims to shed light on important social issues through the medium of film, promoting dialogue and raising awareness about human rights violations worldwide. Beltrán’s dedication to this cause is evident in the thought-provoking film selections and engaging panel discussions that take place during the festival.

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Josemi Beltran at the 2023 Horror Film Festival

Beltrán’s love for cinema is deeply intertwined with his love for San Sebastian. The picturesque coastal city provides the perfect backdrop for these film festivals, with its stunning landscapes and vibrant cultural scene. The combination of cinematic artistry and the beauty of the sea creates a unique and unforgettable experience for both filmmakers and attendees.


As the responsible person for these film festivals, Beltrán’s role goes beyond just organizing screenings. He actively engages with filmmakers, industry professionals, and the local community to create an inclusive and enriching experience for everyone involved. His dedication to promoting diverse voices and perspectives in cinema has made these festivals a platform for emerging talent and a hub for film enthusiasts to come together and celebrate their shared love for the art form.

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Caye Casas, David Pareja, Pep Riera and Josemi Beltran


Josemi Beltrán’s contribution to the film industry in San Sebastian is invaluable. Through his work at Donostia Kultura and his commitment to organizing these film festivals, he has not only enriched the cultural landscape of the city but also fostered a sense of community and appreciation for cinema. His passion for film, combined with his dedication to social issues, has made him a true champion of both artistic expression and human rights.


San Sebastian Fantastic Horror Film Week, directed by Josemi Beltrán, is a highly anticipated event in the film industry. SAXSMAG’s contrubutor  Anabel R. Westermeyer had the  opportunity to interview Josemi Beltrán. In the interview with Beltrán, he shared his thoughts on this year’s festival and shed light on the behind-the-scenes process of organizing such an event.

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Josemi Beltran interviewed by SAXSMAG'S Contributor, Anabel R. Westermeyer

Beltrán expressed his satisfaction with the festival’s atmosphere and the success of their chosen theme, Bruges. He mentioned that the weather has been favorable for their street activities and has contributed to the overall ambiance of the city. Beltrán also highlighted the positive response from attendees and praised the selection of films and exhibitions, such as the witchcraft and Japan exhibitions.


When Anabel asked about the planning process for the next year’s festival, Beltrán revealed that they start devising the event in May. They attend the hostess market to view the first movies and begin the crucial task of film programming. Other aspects, such as exhibitions, require earlier planning and commitment from creators. Beltrán emphasized the importance of closing all arrangements before the summer, although there is always room for last-minute additions.

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Josemi Beltran on Stage

Beltrán acknowledged the challenges faced during the pandemic but expressed gratitude for the institutional support and public response in San Sebastian and the Basque Country. He noted that there has been a growing solidarity from the public, who value the preservation and recovery of cultural events. The international San Sebastian Festivals have seen an increase in attendance, and Beltrán hopes this trend continues, attracting both new and returning visitors.

The interview also touched upon the changing landscape of film consumption, particularly among younger generations. Beltrán recognized the shift towards home viewing and the need to entice audiences to experience films collectively in a theater setting. He mentioned the challenge of reaching younger audiences and emphasized the importance of involving them in the creation and programming of the festival.

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Presentation by Josemi Beltran

Beltrán concluded the interview by expressing his satisfaction with the feedback received from attendees. He highlighted the joy and happiness people experience during the festival, as they indulge in their hobbies and share the experience with others. Beltrán expressed his respect for those who prioritize the festival as part of their vacations, choosing it over traditional holiday destinations. The continued support and repeat attendance of festival-goers serve as a testament to the success and impact of the event.


In conclusion, the San Sebastian Fantastic Horror Film Week, under the direction of Josemi Beltrán, is a significant event in the film industry. Beltrán’s insights into the festival’s planning process, the response from the public, and the challenges faced in the ever-evolving film landscape provide a comprehensive understanding of the event’s significance. The festival’s ability to attract and engage audiences, both old and new, showcases its enduring appeal and cultural importance.