I have known about the underwater film series since I was 14 years old, when I first attended one of its screenings, and I have just turned 50. It is partly thanks to CIMASUB, the doyen of underwater image festivals in our country, that I am dedicated to the profession of underwater cameraman.
More than 20 years ago I presented my first work in the cycle and since then I have met countless professional colleagues, people in love with the sea who have captured incredible stories with their cameras in the most diverse places in the world.
One of the things I liked most about the cycle was precisely that, being able to live with true legends of underwater images during that week; after the screenings we used to meet in a restaurant in the old part of town, or in a gastronomic society, and we would talk for hours and hours about what for us was more than a professional job or a hobby, it was our passion.
For many years, all the amateurs and professionals of the underwater image had those dates marked in the calendar to be able to participate or simply attend as spectators to the underwater film season in San Sebastian.
None of this would have happened without the exquisite treatment given by the organisation to the participants during the more than 40 editions of the festival.
From the first moment you arrive in San Sebastian they make you feel at home, taking care of every last detail and creating an atmosphere of camaraderie that is not usually found at these festivals.
A task of great merit, taking into account that it is done in a totally altruistic way by the organisation, for an event that only lasts a week, but which I know takes work throughout the year.
People like its current director David Sánchez Carretero, who together with the tireless secretary Jesús Mari Castillo and all his team, have taken the reins of the festival of our admired Paco Pizarro, updating it and making it reach a wider audience with screenings for the "txikis" in the aquarium or in different cinemas in the province of Guipúzcoa, or the initiative to make screenings during the big week in San Sebastian for all the tourists who visit the city on those dates, only confirm that the festival is in good hands and with a constant dynamic to continue growing.
Not to mention all the films that have passed through this festival during its 40 years of existence. We have been able to enjoy films made all over the world, from big blockbusters from networks such as the BBC, to more modest works by filmmakers who are just starting out in this world and who have great merit in getting ahead.
The pity is that the institutions are not more committed to this festival, which is about to celebrate its 43rd anniversary, and that its organisers do not have more financial support to carry it out, facing budget cuts every year; otherwise, there would surely be more activities for young and old to enjoy one of the wonders we have on our planet.
On a personal level, whenever I can, I try to premiere the work I do at the San Sebastian underwater image festival, because for me, as well as being one of the most prestigious underwater image festivals, it is an event where I always learn things from the great masters or from people who are just starting out.
I hope that the festival will continue for many years to come and that I can continue to participate in one way or another.
I send the whole CIMASUB family a big hug from the Canary Islands, where I live.