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Zinealdea: this is the little Basque Hollywood


We visited the industrial complex of more than 18,000 square meters that has become, a few kilometers from San Sebastián, the Parisian workshop for Balenciaga and the renovated Amazon Prime Video boarding school

From the entrance to Zinealdea, a gigantic complex within an industrial estate in Oiartzun located 10 kilometers from San Sebastián and a similar distance from France, you can see the green and rocky relief of Peñas de Aia, which separates Guipúzcoa and Navarra.

But the horizons of this project are even more distant.

The interior of this space of more than 18,000 square meters has been the Parisian workshop of designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, in what will be the imminent first Disney+ original series in Spain, and the mysterious study center of

El internado: Las Cumbres,

for Amazon Prime Video and The Mediapro Studio.

During the first days of last December, she mutated again to house in another of her reincarnations a perfect reproduction of the terrifying hermitage in which the new work by filmmaker Carlota Pereda (


) is set.

Faced with the ambitious studios that Netflix has created in Tres Cantos (Madrid) to congregate the filming of many of its blockbusters, Zinealdea is postulated as an alternative to other production companies and platforms in what is considered the largest set in the Basque Country.

The director of this project, Elena Salegui, has experience in the world of architecture.

Together with a team of professionals, she combined her knowledge with her personal passion for television and cinema to design this vertically thought construction.

"The territory in this area of ​​Spain is very rugged and expensive, so we thought of concentrating all our needs on less surface area," she herself told this newspaper, while she walked freely through the enormous labyrinth of her facilities.

The building is divided into six levels, with studios, sets, dressing rooms, changing rooms, warehouses, offices, a restaurant and hundreds of parking spaces.

It is a micro-city that also benefits from its exteriors.

“Within a radius of less than 200 kilometers we have many different landscapes: sea, mountain, city,

Part of the filming of 'Balenciaga', from Disney+, inside the Basque studios. David Herranz

Its two main sets offer the opportunity to shoot as if you were outdoors with the peace of mind of being indoors.

Both exceed more than 15 meters in height.

With such dimensions, a cliff, the aforementioned hermitage and even multi-storey facades have already been built on them.

Diaphanous and made of reinforced concrete, they are insulated and soundproofed, noise-proof, echo-proof and weather-proof.

"No sounds of airplanes, no thunder, no rain sneak in here... nothing," says its manager.

The idea has always been for Zinealdea to behave as something more than a filming or recording location, for the enormous space to bring together an entire ecosystem of technical services with which to relieve the teams that stay in it from the economic and logistical complexities that It means carrying out an audiovisual production.

The tax incentives approved for this 2023 also seek to make the area become a long-awaited little Basque Hollywood.

In several provinces of the region, these reductions can reach from this month of January up to 70% in the audiovisual production sector,

as a deduction for expenses incurred during the recording or filming.

The beginnings of the project were not easy.

It was conceived in the mid-2000s, although the construction of the building began in 2010. Two years later, the economic crisis made those responsible decide to keep it fallow before completing its facilities, given the stoppage of filming suffered by the Spanish audiovisual.

“From the beginning we believed in the potential of our industry.

We waited and waited until we understood that we could continue”, recalls Salegui.

The idea was not revived until 2018.

Iñaki Gómez, film producer responsible with his company Bixagu Enterainment for Basque film hits such as





(2014), shot at Zinealdea

La ermita

in collaboration with Filmax.

“In the Basque Country there are no such facilities.

Previously, the task of locating interiors was more complicated in this region.

We shot where we could because there was nothing else, with all that that implied in terms of sound, lighting... Conditions were worse than precarious and the qualitative leap was appreciated", he comments during a break in one of the last days of work of the film in this audiovisual complex.

'La Ermita', the new film by Carlota Pereda, is one of the latest projects shot in Zinealdea.david herranz

innovation and entertainment

Once found the way, these large studios have sought a versatility that is attractive not only to large productions.

On its smaller sets, commercials, documentaries and entertainment programs are produced.

This newspaper visited the facilities in December, at which time the filming of Carlota Pereda's film was taking place while in another corner of the industrial complex Vidext works, a


founded by several twenty-somethings that innovates in the field of professional video.

Its technology, similar to that of the


, allows you to synchronize the vocalization of texts to the face of the same person and make it appear that they are vocalizing natively in more than 40 different languages.

With a single recording session, you can create content for much of the planet without the need for subtitles.

And, a few meters away, everything is ready to begin the interviews with the participants in a new adventure contest in the style of


that Basque television will broadcast this season.

In addition to hosting studios with


and white cyclorama, Zinealdea tries to make the space as sustainable as possible, through the use of water, light, food and even prop materials


performing functions similar to those of an

ecomanager .

, which advises film crews on ecological issues.

Kube, the largest set in Zinealdea, more than 15 meters high. Image courtesy of Zinealdea

In the coming years, its managers would like to attract productions from the south of France and even offer a pool of talent to a sector in a recent boom, in which some of its professions lament the lack of specialists.

That is why it already has a school that offers its students the option of doing internships in one of the many projects housed in it.

It does so at a time when the Basque audiovisual industry has just won several nominations in the technical categories of the Goya Awards, with productions such as

Cinco lobitos




“We like to show the building to children through their schools and set up workshops with them.

We want them to get to know the audiovisual industry and to know that it is alive;

and that in this part of Spain they can also find a future through it”, defends the director of the center.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-28

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