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San Sebastian Film Festival Boosts Local Economy by $24 Million, Study Says

Carmen Maura - P 2013
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Carmen Maura will receive the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's festival.

Direct festival spending and a tourism bump in late September help the Spanish city and its surrounding areas.

MADRID – The San Sebastian Film Festival, running Sept. 20-28 in the Basque seaside city, estimates that its 226 films screened for a total audience of 150,000 cinemagoers brings in around $23.7 million (€18.2 million) for the local economy.

STORY: San Sebastian to Honor Carmen Maura With Lifetime Achievement Award

According to a study by Basque consulting firm Ikertalde on the festival's financial impact, around 85 percent of the budget -- last year's budget amounted to $9.75 million (€7.5 million) -- is spent in the San Sebastian area. In addition, the report said, the festival prolongs the vacation season through September, generating another $15.5 million (€11.9 million) in hotels and other tourism-related income.

Various public administrations provide around 56 percent of the festival's financing, including $1.3 million (€1 million) from the San Sebastian city council. The rest comes from sponsors.

This year, Spanish actress Carmen Maura, a favorite of director Pedro Almodovar, will receive the Donostia lifetime achievement award. Maura, best known in the U.S. for her starring role in Almodovar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, will receive the award at the screening of Alex de la Iglesia's comedy Witching and Bitching, which stars Maura and will show out of competition.