San Sebastian looks East

Cinema in Motion to showcase Middle Eastern pics

The San Sebastian Film Festival is extending its Cinema in Motion showcase to include not only the Maghreb and Portuguese-speaking Africa but also Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories.

Co-organized with the Fribourg and Amiens fests, Cinema in Motion also will focus on unfinished films shooting or in post-production seeking completion finance. The section, which launched in 2005, also previously presented films in development.

Cinema in Motion has gained an extra sponsor: Spain’s Casa Araba, which is backed by the Spanish Foreign Ministry, the regional governments of Madrid and Andalucia and town halls of Madrid and Cordoba. Casa Araba, launched in January, will pony up finance for post-production on one of the sidebar’s films.

The move into other Mediterranean-rim countries reflects their growing production capacity. Lebanon, for example, has one of the most vibrant, if still small, film production sectors in the Mideast and Arab-speaking world.

The expansion was also a pragmatic decision, San Sebastian fest co-assistant director Jose Maria Riba told Daily Variety.

“Morocco has proficient post-production mechanisms and Portuguese-speaking Africa low production levels,” he said.

A focus on pics in post also mirrors San Sebastian’s small but highly successful Films in Progress showcase for unfinished, largely Latin American films. This yielded seven titles in Cannes’ official sections or market this year.

San Sebastian runs Sept. 20-29.

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