'Vida,' Deadline' head for San Sebastian event

MADRID — The second film from Federico Veiroj and the directorial debut of Uruguayan actor Daniel Hendler feature in San Sebastian’s Films in Progress showcase.

Coming in at 67-minutes, Veiroj’s “La vida util,” his follow-up to “Acne,” which played to positive response at Cannes 2008 Directors’ Fortnight, turns on a film buff who loses his job at the local cinematheque.

Also from Uruguay, “Norberto’s Deadline,” written and directed by Hendler, who won an actor Silver Bear at the 2004 Berlinale, echoes the quirky humor of early Daniel Burman films, which often starred Hendler. It portrays a man who loses his job but finds himself — as a natural-born liar. Burman’s BD Cine co-produces.

Natalia Smirnoff’s “Puzzle” reps another quirky fiction feature debut from a former art director-turned casting director, who’s worked with Lucrecia Martel, Pablo Trapero and Marcelo Pineyro. It follows a 50-year-old housewife who discovers her genius for solving puzzles, which doesn’t resolve her personal issues.

Produced by France’s Les Films du Requin, “Agua fria de mar,” the feature debut of Costa Rica’s Paz Fabrega, is a rare example of a Costa Rica film set up as an international co-production. “A coming-of-age film and a story of self-discovery,” said Fabrega, “Mar” is set on a Costa-Rican Pacific Coast beach.

A showcase for Latin America films looking for completion finance, Progress is rounded out by “Lucia,” from Chile’s Niles Jamil Atallah, which records a woman’s life over Christmas in Santiago de Chile, and “A tiro de piedra,” from Mexico’s Sebastian Hiriart, about a young Mexican shepherd who takes to the road.

Films in Progress runs Sept. 22-23 in San Sebastian.

On Sept. 21, the Basque fest hosts another completion finance showcase: Cinema in Motion. Titles selected this year are: Iraq’s “In the Sands of Babylon,” about masssacres under Saddam Hussein, from Mohamed Al-Dared; Egyptian woman director Iman Kamel’s “Nomad’s Home”; and the Jaffa-set “Port of Memory,” from Palestine’s Kamal Aljafari.

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