We have all seen some of the considered epic films shot at sea. The Oscar-winning La Vida de Pi (Ang Lee, 2012), When everything is lost, (J.C. Chandor, 2013), the last challenge of Robert Redford; the marine adventure of Abysss (James Cameron, 1989) or a revision of Captain Ahab in The Perfect Storm (Wolfgang Petersen, 2000). But the Sail In Festival goes beyond this short filmography, in marine issues. Because it has managed to become the only film festival on sailing and has managed to bring together the most extraordinary crew in the world. And, after celebrating six years in Bilbao, the organizers have decided to go on tour. Your first stop will be Donosti, next May 17 and 18. Just the Sea chatted with one of its founders, Álex Quintana, about storms, calm, wind and sail on land.
Why is SAIL IN born and what does it offer to viewers?
Born from the passion for sailing a group of friends who considered that the culture of sailing could be exposed in a close, attractive and without artifice showing the values implicit in it.
For the general public, sailing is competition or is elite. And it is true that the candle is that, but it is also many more things. And we wanted to show them all. In other places they live the candle in a way that excites us and we wanted to thrill through it. We believe that, in addition to movies, exhibitions, talks, lectures or clinics, what SAIL IN Festival really offers is a meeting place, a space where after enjoying a movie, raise the curtain and you find the protagonists, a place where anonymous and recognized navigators gather and chat in the corridors. In short, we offer four days of sailing on land.
Of all the crew that have passed through the festival, which one has impressed you the most?
It would be unfair to name only one. It is obvious that crossing the look with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston impresses, but it is also unforgettable the huge smile and kindness of Loïck Peyron or seeing François Gabart among the public , with her baby in her arms, watching all the movies that we programmed. The conversation with Jean Luc van Der Heede about a ribeye during a meal in the last edition has also been unforgettable. There are around a hundred guests who have gone through the festival, until the least of their deeds is incredible for most of us. Although there is something that really thrills us and is to have many of them, year after year, as guests or attending as an audience.
And what has been the best received screening to date?
I do not think there is any outstanding. Yes we try to deliver the SAIL IN prize to an outstanding person in the world of sailing. This year has been Jean Luc Van der Heede. Previously it was Loïck Peyron, Mike Birch, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Sir Peter Blake, etc. The session in which we give the prize always generates a lot of expectation. But we have filled in sessions on the Mini-Transat with local navigators. People want to enjoy sailing. Fortunately, the welcome is extraordinary.
The festival offers much more besides the screenings. Tell us what is the general proposal.
In addition to offering four days of films, many unpublished, others forgotten, where sailing is the protagonist, we complete these sessions with Talks with the protagonists of these. On the other hand, we have photography exhibitions, both inside and along the main Metro stations in Bilbao. This year we had the honor of having Carlo Borlenghi, the great figure of nautical photography. We held an educational session with the participation of the youngest children and, finally, we completed the offer with the clinics and the master classes that we taught with some of the best professionals in the world of sailing.
You’ve been with this appointment for six years. Do you think it has been an ocean crossing?
When the idea was created, we did not know anyone, we did not have the phone number of any navigator. If we look back it is amazing what we have achieved in six years. When an edition like the last one ends and top international navigators write to us, without knowing each other, to congratulate us for what they have told them and to offer to come next year, we can not stop looking at the computer screen as if it were a joke. But it’s very complicated. SAIL IN Festival has grown in scope, exposure and relevance in the world of sailing beyond our borders and that generates expectations that are not easy to meet. Despite the support of our partners we are not yet able to professionalize the management of the festival, that makes … yes … it could seem like an ocean crossing …
Tell us the SAIL IN Tour.
The Tour is born of a concern to bring the culture of sailing to other places throughout the year. Euskadi is full of ports and navigators who would like to feel a bit of SAIL IN nearby. We think about making a route, initially through the Basque coast, where we will take some of the best films that we have projected and a series of educational activities to do with the little ones. I think we should take advantage of our vehicle to train. For years we have incorporated a children’s session with a workshop into our program and we want to also transfer it to SAIL IN Tour.
Only in the Basque Country? Do you plan to touch other places?
It has been announcing the Tour and many fans from outside the Basque Country have asked for a stop in their cities: Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Vigo … We would love it and it falls within our plan, but for that we would need to look for the resources to make it possible . I hope it happens. It is something that has existed as a possibility from the beginning. And not only in Spain. In recent years we have studied offers to do some editing in France, etc. Although we are aware of the interest generated by a project such as SAIL IN Festival outside our borders, we would like to continue to maintain our base at home.
How do you see the state of our oceans?
As is obvious, very worrying. We want to believe that this public awareness will be able to reverse the inertia created by savage consumerism, the lack of political will and the environmental carelessness in which we have lived. That is why we believe in the need to raise awareness and educate children, to understand the possibilities of a circular economy, the consequences of inaction in the face of climate change, etc. It is in our power to turn around the current situation.
Just the Sea sells the publication you do What is LADORSAL and what does it mean to publish a publication like that?
LADORSAL is a publication born from the heart of SAIL IN Festival. It is the beginning of the magazine that we would like to read. It is canned navigation. It is the Festival sewn with thread. So far we have published two volumes, the third is making us wait. Actually they are sailing stories … sailing landscapes, candle poems … it’s bound candle. What is it? One more madness in a sea of madness. Something impossible made by an incredible team. Actually, it is one of the greatest satisfactions SAIL IN Festival has given us. Every once in a while someone writes to us and tells us that he takes them on the boat and he reads them over and over again as he navigates … and that image makes it all worthwhile.
Just the Sea sells LADORSAL, the sea canned
The organizers of SAIL IN, edit a jewel called LADORSAL, taken care of to the extreme, in its typography, design, layout, texts and images. It is a publication that counts great and small exploits of extraordinary sailors. A reading that brings us closer to the sea or that makes us enjoy it even more while we sail it.