Fifteen films from seventeen countries will participate in the 58th San Sebastian Film Festival’s Zabaltegi-New Directors section. All the films will contend for the Kutxa-New Directors Award, carrying a 90,000 Euro prize, alongside two films in the Official Selection that have already been announced: Jose Maria de Orbe’s “Aita” and Victoria Galardi’s “Cerro Bayo.” The festival runs September 17-25, 2010.
The prize is eligible only for filmmakers presenting their first or second film who are participating in their first ever international competition. This year’s titles include emerging filmmakers from Eastern Europe (Rumania, Bulgaria, Poland), Western Europe (the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and France) and Latin America (Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Mexico), as well as from China and the USA.
Over the last two decades, San Sebastian Festival and its Zabaltegi-New Directors section have drawn attention to numerous filmmakers who have gone one to have important careers. They include Olivier Assayas (who screened “Desordre” in 1986), Alejandro Agresti (“El amor es una mujer gorda,” 1987), Isabel Coixet (“Demasiado viejo para morir joven,” 1988), Tsai Ming Liang (“Rebels of the Neon God,” 1993), Walter Salles (“Terra Estrangeira,” 1995), Francois Ozon (“Regarde la mer,” 1997), Laurent Cantet (“Ressources humaines,” 1999), Jonathan Glazer (“Sexy Beast,” 2000), Xavier Giannoli (“Les corps impatients,” 2003), and Lee Daniels (“Shadowboxer,” 2005).
The following is a list of the announced titles, with descriptions provided by the festival:
“Beautiful Boy” (USA)
Director: Shawn Ku Cast: Maria Bello, Michael Sheen, Alan Tudyk, Moon Bloodgood, Austin Nichols, Kyle Gallner, Meat Loaf Aday
Beautiful Boy centres around a couple in a faltering marriage who discover that their 18 year-old son has recently committed a mass shooting at his university before taking his own life. Through the tragedy, the couple is forced to deal with their grief and ultimately is led to rediscover both themselves and their relationship. Directorial debut.
Director: Elena Trape Cast: Candela Anton, Anna Castillo, Lola Errando, Sara Gomez, Lidia Torrent, Irene Trullen, Alada Vila
Blog is the surprising tale of a group of teenagers, 15 year-old middle-upper class girls who are well educated, smart, sensitive and savvy. A group of youngsters with a secret plan and a shared purpose, something they believe to be an absolute goal and a universal truth: the need to experience strong emotions to set them apart from the rest. Directorial debut
Director: Marcin Wrona Cast: Tomasz Schuchardt, Wojciech Zielinski, Natalia Rybicka, Adam Woronowicz, Michal Koterski, Pawel Tomaszewski
The script is loosely based on the real story of a man from the Polish provinces who, after operating as a criminal in his home town, finds himself in Warsaw. He hopes to change his luck and to escape from the criminal past he left behind. Unfortunately, there is a mafia sentence against him. Michal desperately tries to find a way to save his family. Several days before the christening of his child he invites his old friend to be the godfather. Second film from the director of My Flesh My Blood.
“Los Colores De La Montana” (Colombia-Panama)
Director: Carlos Cesar Arbelaez Cast: Hernan Mauricio Ocampo, Nolberto Sanchez, Genaro Aristizabal, Hernan Mendez, Natalia Cuellar
Manuel, 9, has an old ball with which he plays football every day in the countryside. He dreams of becoming a great goalkeeper. His wishes seem set to come true when Ernest, his father, gives him a new ball. But an unexpected accident sends the ball flying into a minefield. Despite the danger, Manuel refuses to abandon his treasure… He convinces Julian and Poca Luz, his two friends, to rescue it with him. Amid the adventures and kids’ games, the signs of armed conflict start to appear in the lives of the inhabitants of “La Pradera”. Directorial debut.
“Izarren Argia” (Spain)
Director: Mikel Rueda Cast: Barbara Goenaga, Itziar Lazkano, Klara Badiola, Estibaliz Gabilondo
Stars to Wish Upon tells the story of Victoria. A woman, who, like many others during the Spanish Civil War, is not only deprived of her liberty, but also of the one thing dearest to a mother: her child. In such a situation, there are only two options: to hold onto hope or to lose it forever. First feature from Mikel Rueda, director of the shorts Present Perfect, Erase una vez and El Carrito.
Director: Niles Atallah Cast: Gabriela Aguilera, Gregory Cohen, Eduardo Barril, Esperanza Silva, Francisca Bernardi
Young Lucia works as a seamstress in a factory and lives with her father in an old house in Santiago, Chile. The film takes place in December 2006, in the weeks between ex-dictator Pinochet’s funeral and Christmas. The simple observation of Lucia’s everyday life gives spectators insight to the hidden and neglected world of a generation of Chileans who struggle to recover from the military dictatorship. Directorial debut
“Marieke, Marieke” (Belgium-Germany)
Director: Sophie Schoukens Cast: Hande Kodja, Jan Decleier, Barbara Sarafian, Caroline Berliner
Marieke wants to live her life. But how can she succeed if love has been taken away from her? She seeks warmth in the arms of much older men to find the strength to face the past and finally be herself. Directorial debut.
“Las Marimbas Del Infierno” (Guatemala-France-Mexico)
Director: Julio Hernandez Cordon
Don Alfonso plays the marimba, the traditional Guatemalan instrument. He faces the lack of interest for his old-fashioned instrument. Blacko is a pioneer in Guatemalan Heavy Metal. He is also a doctor at the public hospital but nobody wants to be treated by him because of his hard rock style. When Don Alfonso and Blacko meet each other and decide to combine their talents and create a brand new project called “Marimbas from Hell”, they could never have imagined the reactions they would provoke. Second film from the director of Gasolina, winner of the Films in Progress Industry Award at San Sebastian in 2007.
Director: Dragomir Sholev Cast: Cvetan Daskalov, Yanina Kasheva, Kaloyan Siriiski, Irena Hristoskova, Silvia Gerina
12 year-old Rado, the son of the water polo coach Stoychev, is almost a punk now. Mr. Stoychev thinks he’s been a good father and can’t understand why his son wants to run away from home with the first junkies he has met on the street. Directorial debut.
“Principii de Viata” (Romania)
Director: Constantin Popescu Cast: Vlad Ivanov, Gabriel Huian, Rodica Lazar
Velicanu considers himself fulfilled. He has money, a new villa, he is married for the second time to a young woman with whom he has a baby and has a son from his first marriage. Before the holidays, he has to leave his business in good order. But things get a little bit complicated. The crisis at the end of the day makes him wonder if he is really happy and fulfilled. Second feature from the director of Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man, screened in the Forum Section of Berlin Festival 2010.
“Schemer” (The Netherlands)
Director: Hanro Smitsman Cast: Gaite Jansen, Mathijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Roos Netjes, Melody Klaver, Robert de Hoog, Gerson Oratmangoen
An ordinary group of teens at an ordinary school in an ordinary town turns extraordinary hateful to one of their peers. Dusk is a character study in which this group of teens is followed, to try and find a reason for this senseless act. Second film from the director of Skin.
“Single Man” (China)
Director: Hao Jie Cast: Yang Zhenjun, Du Tianguang, Liang Youzhong, Liang Chunying
In Gu Jia Gou Village, 150 km from Beijing, men outnumber women. Some buy wives from faraway Sichuan province. Others remain bachelors; they gossip and complain together – yet find ways to have a sex life. Lao Yang is still in love with the girl he was forbidden to marry as a young man; she is now the middle-aged wife of the village head, but they sneak out for secret trysts. Yet, Lao Yang wants more… Hao Jie’s first film is a humorous look at peasant life, using non-professional actors. Directorial debut.
“Smukke Mennesker” (Denmark)
Director: Mikkel Munch-Fals Cast: Bodil Jorgensen, Henrik Prip, Mille Hoffmeyer Lehfeldt, Sebastian Jessen, Stine Fischer Christensen, Martin Buch
Smukke Mennesker follows the lives of four longing souls. Ingeborg who feels unattractive and young Jonas who is so attractive that he can literally sell some of what he’s got. Anna, a young beautiful woman with a physical disability, and Anders, a tender man with a psychological disability. Four people yearning for love, four people, each hoping for a better tomorrow. Directorial debut.
“La Tete Ailleurs” (France)
Director: Frederic Pelle Cast: Nicolas Abraham, Jade Phan-Gia, Jean-Francois Gallotte, Anais Demoustier, Jean-Claude Lecas, Patrick Vo, Melanie Leray
Patrick Perrin is a dealer in a small seaside casino. His dream? To leave. To leave everything for an unknown destination. But a trip such as this doesn’t happen overnight. To start with, Patrick decides to buy a suitcase. A nice red one with wheels that he immediately puts at the foot of his bed. All that’s left to do is to fill it up and choose a destination. Directorial debut
“La Vida Util” (Uruguay-Spain)
Director: Federico Veiroj Cast: Jorge Jellinek, Manuel Martinez Carril, Paola Venditto
Jorge (45) lives with his parents and has been working at a film archive for 25 years. He does technical jobs, programming work, and hosts a radio show about films. The situation is increasingly dire at the film archive and Jorge, who has never worked anywhere else but in film, loses his job. La vida util won the Films in Progress Industry Award in 2009, while Acne, his first film, participated in the Quinzaine des Realisateurs at Cannes 2008 and San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos in 2008.