San Sebastian Embraces Cannes Official Selection Titles

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Spain’s San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world, has delivered on director José Luis Rebordinos’ promise of considering  Cannes Official Selection titles for selection, slating five Cannes label titles in its own main competition, the Festival announced Friday.

These include two of the biggest sales attractions at last week’s Cannes Marché du Film Online: François Ozon’s “Summer of 85” and Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round.” They also take in two other titles included in what Cannes head Thierry Fremaux called The Faithful in his lineup of film which would have screwed at Cannes, had the festival taken place: Naomi Kawase’s “True Mothers” and Sharunas Bartas “In the Dusk.”

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Also making San Sebastian’s competition cut are “Beginning,” a Cannes Official Selection first feature from Georgia’s Dea Kulumbegashvili, plus “Any Cry Babies Around?” from  Japan’s Takuma Sato.

“Another Round” and “True Mothers” already feature among the earliest crop of titles secured for world premieres at September’s Toronto Festival, announced last Wednesday. “In the Dusk,” “Beginning” and “Any Cry Babies Around?” were described by San Sebastian in a Friday press statement as world premieres.

The Spanish festival’s first competition title announcement includes two titles sold by Playtime – “Summer of 85” and “True Mothers” – as well as Wild Bunch Intl.’s “Beginning” and “In the Dusk,” which is sold by Luxbox – all Paris-based sales companies, suggesting that the French film industry is making a bet on San Sebastian transforming into a quite significant late-Summer on-site/online industry meet in Europe with a physical presence of at least an important number of key independent players from Europe’s film industry.

Even so, given the large likelihood that industry executives will not be able to travel from Latin America, San Sebastian itself has announced an online or hybrid industry agenda and a trimmed festival, though no way as pared as Toronto in Canada which will screen just 50 films.

Reductions take in 30% less screenings. The Festival’s biggest industry event, the Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum, will move totally online, as will round tables, masterclasses and Zinemaldia and Technology a showcase for high-tech innovation in film and TV.

The Festival’s two pix-in-post events, WIP Latam and WIP Europa, will adopt a hybrid on-site and online format. A retrospective of Korean cinema of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Flowers in Hell: The Golden Age of Korean Cinema, has been pushed back to 2021.

The Festival’s major sections, however, from the Official Selection downwards. will welcome on-site audiences, sanitary restrictions allowing.

The 68th San Sebastian Intl Film Festival runs Sept. 18-26.

San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival Official Selection, Main Competition. Details of First Titles Announced:

“In the Dusk” (Sharunas Bartas, Lithuania, France, Serbia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Portugal)

After the Ukrainian conflict-set “Frost,” famed auteur Bartas returns to war, here in a coming of age tale, but set against Lithuanian partisans desperate battle against Soviet occupation in 1948.

“Another Round” (Thomas Vinterberg, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands)

Re-teaming Vinterberg with the screenwriter (Tobias Lindholm) and stars of the Academy Award-nominated “The Hunt” – Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe and Susse Wold – which won Mikkelsen, heavily pre-sold by TrustNordisk before it screened at last week’s Cannes Marché du Film Online, where it mopped up further major territories. A comedic drama – four jaded high-school teachers begin drinking on the job, improving performance, at first – which will resonate with many spectators.

“Summer of 85” (François Ozon, France, Belgium)

Ozon’s fifth time in competition at San Sebastian, after winning with 2012’s “In the House,” set in a summer on the Normand coast, and a nostalgic look-back at teen love in the ‘80s which was one of the big buzz titles at Cannes.

“True Mothers” (Naomi Kawase, Japan)

The latest from another San Sebastián regular, a Fipresci Award winner with 2010’s “Genpin,” an exploration of family dynamics confronting a biological and adoptive mother.

“Any Cry Babies Around?” (Takuma Sato, Japan)

Caught naked and drunk by national TV during his village’s sacred New Year’s Eve festival, a man flees to Tokyo, return two tears later to try to make up with his ex-wife and tiny daughter. But the past still roils. Sold by Gaga, and the second film from Sato (“Don’t Say a Word!”).

“Beginning” (Dea Kulumbegashvili, Georgia, France)

The director’s first feature, a revenge tale set in a remote Georgian village after a family of Jehovah Witnesses are hounded by religious extremists. Shot on 35mm with a first-rate crew including French editor Matthieu Taponier (“Son of Saul”).

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