The Festival's origins date back to 1963. In the beginning it was an initiative of the CityCouncil of Gijón in co-operation with Caja de Ahorros de Asturias (nowadays Cajastur). At present both entities still co-operate with the Festival, the first as organizer and the second as sponsor.

On May 1996 the Entidad Mercantil Artístico-Musical Teatro Municipal Jovellanos de Gijón, S.A., body in charge of the organization of the event together with the City Council, was founded. This institution is in charge of the theatre's running, the festivities department and the organization of the Film Festival.

During the Festival many other events take place, such as courses, round tables, meetings with the directors as well as concerts and music live parties.

The Festival awards several prizes at its different competitive sections and for that it relies on an International Jury, made up of at least five film professionals from different countries, a Young Jury, made up of 50 teens between 17-26 years, and from 2005 a FIPRESCI Jury. The contest also takes part in other projects aimed at promoting the film industry in Asturias.