A festival to remember


Six brilliant days of cinema, literature, creativity and humour, plus an unforgettable surprise concert, at Thinking, Letters and Football 2021

Former footballber Zuhaitz Gurrutxaga brought the curtain down on Thinking, Letters and Football 2021 with his stand-up show, FutbolisTOC.

The annual festival was organised by the Athletic Club Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the BBK Foundation, the Bilbao City Council and Hotel Meliá.

The six days of cinema, literature, creativity and humour held in the Sala BBK (the opening night) and in SAN MAMES BAT were well received with both venues being regularly sold out.

What’s more, on the festival’s opening night, the people who packed out the Sala BBK were fortunate enough to attend an unforgettable concert. Orsai -a band made up of six Athletic players: Oscar De Marcos, Mikel Balenziaga, Iñigo Lekue, Asier Villalibre, Mikel Vesga and Dani García– delighted the audience with a surprise performance in which they played three songs, including their hit One Club Men.

The first film to be screened was LFG (acronym for Let’s F**king Go). It is a documentary about the US Women’s National Team and their battle for equal pay. In addition, the documentaries “Letters to Socrates” and “We are Red Star”, about the historic Parisian club, were shown. The latter film’s directors and the president of Red Star FC also took part in a post-screening discussion.

Juan Villoro starred in the first literary meeting of the festival, appearing alongside Marcel Beltrán and Galder Reguera for a fascinating conversation about football’s relationship with literature. Villoro shone on the night thanks to the talent with which he spun literary and football anecdotes.

Jose Anjel Iribar, Ainhoa Tirapu, Jon Maia and Patxi Gaztelumendi talked about football and the Basque language on a day in which the festival re-released the documentary “Futbola eta euskara” (Football and Basque, a little gem from the Basque film library. This film was originally produced thanks to Iribar donating the takings from his 1980 testimonial to various projects related to promoting the Basque language.

The Foundation then dedicated a day to football and marketing, with publicists Antonio ‘Pach’ Pacheco and Santi García selecting the 25 best football adverts in history and giving a master class on the subject.

In short, the 2021 edition of Thinking, Letters and Football was a great success and that is very much thanks to the magnificent response from everyone who came to the events.

As long as the pandemic comes to definitive end, and restrictions allowing, the Athletic Club Foundation would like to go back to holding its two separate cultural festival in 2022: Thinking Football Film Festival & Letters and Football.

Finally, the Foundation would like to thank all the people who attended the festival. After all, their support is the best reward the Athletic Club Foundation’s cultural project could possibly receive.