The school of the
three tenses
of cinema


Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola is an international centre for thinking, research, experimental practice and pedagogical innovation based around the past, present and future of cinema

Created and financed by Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and affiliated to the UPV/EHU, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola is opening in 2017 with a passionately regenerative spirit: its ultimate purpose is not to train technical staff by following traditional standardised training models, but to encourage the emergence of filmmakers with a comprehensive vision of cinema who are able to produce new (working, conceptual, creative, professional) realities on film.

EQZE is taking shape based on the fields of knowledge of the three agents that are taking part in its conceptualisation: the Basque Film Archive, San Sebastián International Film Festival and the Tabakalera cultural project. It is based in Tabakalera International Centre for Contemporary Culture where these institutions are also located. The institutions involved in the development of the centre are not teaching institutions but film institutions. This is why the school that they are promoting is also basically a film project: an idea of cinema that is taking shape as an educational project. 

Due to its genealogical and circular view of history and the film and audiovisual tradition, as well as its unique academic approach, EQZE defines itself as the ‘school of the three tenses of cinema’. The unique nature of its origins and location, its idea of cinema and its teaching project make this centre an exceptional case internationally, which doesn’t prevent it, for the same reasons, from aspiring to become an aesthetic and professional laboratory for Basque cinema.

Specialised training has often led to a certain kind of neutrality in teaching cinema, in which it seemed that the only thing that mattered was to definitively adapt professionals to meet the demands of the market. At the opposite extreme, this is a school that stands for an idea of cinema that is passionate and close-to-life, with a clear aim to experiment and revitalise society.

EQZE has a single, unified vision of cinema, in which the function of projecting images is not that far from the task of recording them, as occurred in the early days of filmmaking when the same camera fulfilled both functions. The unitary nature of the camera is the metaphor that best sums up the vision we have: we want to conjugate the three ages of cinema in a single phrase, and dissolve the categories, genres, disciplines and fragmentation of the old functions. We are also committed to expanding cinema towards secondary fields of knowledge and linking it to other arts.

We imagine a single kind of cinema, without genres or classifications, but at the same time we consider the many ways of being a filmmaker. Because being a filmmaker nowadays does not just consist of creating images but also of making them visible: the images that existed, already exist and will exist.

Our idea of cinema is far removed from the strict necessity to “make films” and is more open to the need to “film”: to think, touch, preserve, restore, imagine, smell, review, programme, remember, save and project... Yes, to project cinema in every sense of the word: to imagine the films that are still to be made, but also to think about the future and present of those films that already exist.

At EQZE we understand that the aim of training filmmakers must be constantly reflected on and questioned. In actual fact the school itself is the primary expression of the critical spirit that it is based on, because it is framed as an open pedagogical project in permanent progress. We believe in a school that is venturing into the complex permanent art of a (theoretical, emotional, experimental, practical) quest starting with itself.

The training project is aimed at people who in the future will create, research and curate cinema. Its three pathways are postgraduate immersion programmes that continually combine teaching, experimental practice, professional transit areas and the development of personal projects. One of the vital aspects of the pedagogical project is that it breaks down horizontal barriers (inside and outside the film school), so that citizens can get actively involved through open sessions in the creative training debate at the school itself.

EQZE aims to be a collective experience (of the academic but also the social community). However it is also an individual journey, as it devises individualised pathways for each student. It is a only one school, but has as many kinds of teaching as students. Because if each individual is different, why create a school that is the same for everyone?

EQZE implements a pedagogical methodology that combines research, a passionate experience of filmmaking, experimental practice and the dissolution of vertical categories, between the professional and amateur realms, and horizontal ones between cinema and other creative disciplines.

One of the essential features of our pedagogical model is the non-separation between film praxis and theory, because we understand that there is a specific way to think through the camera. As Aristotle’s maxim says: “to learn what you have to do; you have to do what you want to learn”.

As a consequence of its location, EQZE creates permanent opportunities for the transition from amateur to professional, from curiosity to experience. We like to think that this transition is not only one way, but both ways, and that, from the centre, it should be incorporated into the life of the filmmaker or filmmaker of the future as a natural habit of oxygenation and reflection.


EQZE sees itself as the result of a research and innovation process orientated towards the world of film that is conceptually manifested in the form of a living film school

For Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, research is a way of being at the cinema. A natural habit. A true work methodology that involves and makes demands on students, teachers and professionals.

It is from this seed that all the research resources deployed by the school stem (seminars, research projects and actions, publications, the Z-A project, etc.); it is this seed that nurtures all its educational, academic, intellectual and creative activities and impregnates all its strategic actions.

Research is the backbone of the EQZE community of researchers and learners and fosters the establishment of an interdisciplinary network of connections between academic and professional stakeholders

We make Jorge Oteiza’s ideas on the regenerative power of aesthetic education and the desire for unity that Walter Gropius developed at the Bauhaus our own, and in our case we extend these to our teaching and film praxis. Carlos Muguiro (director of Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola)
The true filmmaker possesses a capacity to find the most vivid and most emotional way of revealing all that is hidden in the filmed material. Esfir Shub
We continue to perceive education as a technical plan for trades/occupations, in narrow areas of special knowledge or a particular way of earning a living materially. (...) But there is no calculation or protection for the fundamental teaching of a spiritual sensibility that we need to live together in our time. Jorge Oteiza
It’s better to evoke, it gets to you and the viewers more effectively. In the end, those literal-minded images aren’t effective, you have to find another path, so that people confronting it can remain themselves and absorb it, actually face-to-face with the images. It’s why I want equality, always, between the image and the spectator. That’s my idea of ethics. Chantal Akerman
The way of teaching responds to the essence of the workshop: organic creation developed from craft skills. Avoiding any rigidity; giving priority to the creative activity; freedom of individuality, but rigorous study. Walter Gropius
An image is powerful not necessarily because of anything specific it offers the viewer, but because of everything it apparently also takes away from the viewer. Trin T. Minh-Ha
“Your film: let people feel the heart and soul there, but let it be made like handwork”. Robert Bresson
The task of cinema or any other art form is not to translate hidden messages of the unconscious soul into art but to experiment with the effects contemporary technical devices have on nerves, minds, or souls. Maya Deren
To love a painting, you must be a potential painter, if not, you cannot love; and, in truth, to love a film, you must be a potential film maker; you must say: I would have done this or that; a person must make films themselves, even if only in the imagination, but it must be done, if not, they are not worthy of going to the cinema. Jean Renoir
Film writing (cinécriture) isn't only about the scenario, it's the ensemble of exploratory walks, the choices, the inspiration, the words one writes, the shooting, the editing… Film is the product of all these different moments. Agnès Varda
Cinema must find its own way to express a series of thoughts; a way that only belongs to cinema. Andréi Tarkovski
Let me be clear: I am not fighting here for a specific form of cinema, but for a cinema that makes progress, that evolves. To free cinematic expression, explore it to the extremity of its limits and its forms is the concern of all filmmakers. Germaine Dulac

Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola's educational project is concretised in three programs: Film Preservation Studies, Film Curating Studies and Filmmaking Studies

The purpose of EQZE is to train filmmakers in the broad, cross-cutting sense of the term; filmmakers that can actively confront and interact with the cinema of the past (through research and preservation), with the cinema of the present (through curating and programming) and with the cinema of the future (through creation) developping a comprehensive unitary vision.

The Film Preservation Studies course aims to train specialists in identifying, classifying, restoring and preserving film and audiovisual heritage, at the same time as proposing this field as an area of artistic creation. The Film Curating Studies course focuses on the conceptualisation, management, development and dissemination of all kinds of programmes, publications, interventions and exhibitions centred around film and the audiovisual arts. Finally, the Filmmaking Studies course explores aspects linked to the creative process of coming up with the idea for a work, and then experimenting with and materialising it.

From 2019 the UPV/EHU recognises the postgraduate degrees as University accredited Master degrees.

"Vino la noche" and "Una sombras oscilante" win awards at KVIFF and FIDMarseille

Night has come / Vino la noche by Paolo Tizón, a student of the fifth EQZE graduating class, won the FIPRESCI Award for Best Film and the Special Jury Prize in the Proxima section of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. An oscillating Shadow / Una sombra oscilante by Celeste Rojas Mugica (a student of the same graduating class) received a Special Mention in the Premier Film Competition at FIDMarseille.

07/08/2024 More info

Important presence of EQZE films at FIDMarseille

The festival will host the first public presentation of Camilo Restrepo and EQZE’s project La Chambre d’ombres (The Room of Shadows). Three other films by students from the school will compete in the Premier Film and Compétition Flash sections.

06/24/2024 More info

EQZE participates in the 2024 Radical Film Network conference in Madrid

A large number of projects carried out within the framework of Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola’s academic and research work will participate in this year’s Radical Film Network conference, which will be held in Madrid from 19 to 22 June. The aim of this year’s meeting, which will bring together representatives from universities, research centres, groups and associations, as well as independent researchers from all over the world, is to explore the ways in which we can reflect on archives from political movements, grassroots organisations, artist cooperatives and alternative spaces.

06/19/2024 More info