Fest selects 18 competition pics

BARCELONA — Beginning with a gala screening of “Partition,” Vic Sarin’s love story set in the last days of British empire in India, the first Ibiza & Formentera Film Festival kicks off May 29 with 18 pics competing for top laurels.

Fest’s main competition is divided into six geographical sub-sections, reflecting the cosmopolitan spirit of these two Mediterranean islands.

The Asia section includes Zhang Yibai’s romantic drama “The Longest Night in Shanghai,” folk legend “The Fox Family,” helmed by Lee Hyung, and “Guru,” from top Indian director Mani Ratnam.

North America will be repped by “Infamous,” the Truman Capote biopic from actor-director Douglas McGrath (“Nicholas Nickleby”), videomeister Steve Barron’s “The Choking Man,” and Richard Linklater’s “Fast Food Nation.”

Africa will weigh in with Laurent Salgues’ first feature “Dreams of Dust”; the Senegalese-Italian “Billo il grand dakhaar,” helmed by Laura Muscardin; and “Faro, Goddess of Water,” the feature debut of Mali’s Salif Traore.

Enrique Gabriel lampoon “Sighs From the Heart” and Ariel Winograd’s “Cheese Face” are Latin American screeners, as is “La Leon,” a drama by Santiago Otheguy, which took the special jury prize at the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film.

Fest also has a section for co-productions, whose pics bridge much of the world, such as “Partition,” John Irvin’s “The Moon and the Stars,” and “Jade Warrior,” a Finnish-Chinese-Dutch-Estonian co-prod directed by first-timer Antti-Jussi Annila.

“California Dreaming,” from the recently deceased Romanian Cristian Nemescu; Roberto Ando’s “Secret Journey,” based on the Josephine Hart psychological thriller; and the 1960s Canary village-set “La Caja,” from Juan Carlos Falcon, will rep Europe.

Sidebars sections feature John Hurt and Terry Gilliam retros, an Argentinean showcase, a competitive docu spread.

The Ibiza sprocket opera counts on actors Hurt, Gilliam, Spanish actress Angela Molina, Alan Parker and Bigas Luna as godfather-patrons. It is supported by regional and municipal authorities and Pacha, the celebrated discotheque and leisure group.

Offering chill-out possibilities, fest runs almost immediately post Cannes from May 29 to June 7.

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