Magazine article Variety

Highlights from the Fest

Magazine article Variety

Highlights from the Fest

Article excerpt

Cannes' biggest achievement is that it's the most important festival in the world while San Sebastián remains the highest-profile festival in the Spanish-speaking world. The festival has maintained its staple sections while constantly innovating. From a bigger Basque presence to TV series, here are 10 not-to-be-missed 2017 novelties, events and trends. JOHN HOPEWELL


Star Contingent

Arnold Schwarzenegger presents "Wonders of the Se 3D," which he narrates. He leads a strong star presence including Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz ("Loving Pablo"), Alicia Vikander ("Submergence"), Glenn Close ("The Wife"), James Franco ("The Disaster Artist"), Todd Haynes and jury head John Malkovich. Also attending will be Donostia honorees Ricardo Darin, Monica Bellucci and Agnės Varda, her prize representing a drive to "open up the Donostia Awards to cineasts we love, but who perhaps don't have the glamor of stars," says San Sebastian director José Luis Rebordinos.


Zabaltegi-Tabakalera Section

High-end TV goes high-profile at San Sebastián: Alberto Rodriguez's 1580 Seville-set serial killer thriller, an analysis of Spain's endemic ills, plays the official selection; along with fellow Movistar Plus "Curb Your Enthusiasm"-ish sitcom "Spanish Shame," (pictured) which competes in a fortified Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section. A full-on revolution.


Newbies Worth Watching

San Sebastián buzz grows a week or so out from the festival as titles glean action from Toronto or pre-fest screenings. So far, on world premieres from new directors - movies driving much of the lower-budget arthouse trade - there's good word on "Underground," "The Sower" and "The Seeds of Violence," from South Korea's Lim Tae-gue.


Euro Express

"Personally, I'm ever lessconcerned about world premieres. What matters is what's good for films," says Rebordinos. Celebrating European premieres after bowing in Toronto are a clutch of expected competition forerunners, such as "Life and Nothing More," "The Motive," "Soldiers. A Story From Ferentari" and "Mademoiselle Paradis."


Homegrown Talent

Ever since the mid-1980s, San Sebastián has looked to Latin America for premieres and industry events. Now, it is also turning ever more to Europe, launching Glocal in Progress, focusing on pix-inpost in lesser-known European languages such as Basque (Telmo Esnal's "Dantza"), Slovenian (Miha Mazzini's "Erased" (pictured) and Romanian (Hadrian Marcu's "A Decent Man"). "The challenge for Basque-language cinema isn't production, but our domestic market size. …

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