Lineup boasts strong Latin American contingent

MADRID — Tom Harper’s “The Scouting Book for Boys,” Rigoberto Perezcano’s “Norteado” and Pablo Aguero’s “77 Doronship” all feature in San Sebastian Film Festival’s Kutxa-New Directors Competition lineup.

As in recent years, the fest offers a Euros 90,000 ($127,000) cash prize for the winner.

This year’s selection, which sports a slew of Latin American titles, and the Films in Progress showcase for Latin American projects, which the fest shares with Toulouse’s Rencontre, reinforce San Sebastian’s position as a hub for upscale Spanish-language pics, and a powerhouse for the promotion of Latin American artfilms that go on to secure major festival berths.

“Norteado,” a humor-laced Mexican immigration drama, swept last year’s San Sebastian Films in Progress prizes. Argentine pic “Doronship” and Uruguayan Enrique Buchichio’s rites-of-passage drama “El Cuarto de Leo,” another New Directors’ contender this year, both played Toulouse’s Films in Progress in March.

Of non Spanish-language entries, one of the best known is the coming-of-ager “Scouting,” which is produced by Christian Colson for Pathe.

The pic’s sombre tone is shared by many of the entries.

“The Day God Walked Away,” the directorial debut of Belgian cinematographer Philippe Van Leeuw, is set against the background of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. It is produced by France’s Mk2.

German-Turkish co-production “Before My Eyes” begins with the murder of the parents of two Kurdish children.

“Together,” from Norway’s Matias Armand Jordal, turns on a father and son coping with the death of the family’s mother.

The Kutxa-New Directors lineup also features revenge drama “Animal Town,” from South Korea’s Jeon Kyu-hwan, and two friendship tales: “Desperados on the Block,” from Germany’s Tomasz Rudzik, and Xabi Molia’s French production “Eight Times Up.”

China’s Zhang Huilin will present art-school buddy movie “Seasons in the Sun,” while Turkey’s Pelin Esmer, whose directorial debut “The Play” screened to applause in the New Directors’ 2005 competish, returns with “10 to 11,” about an antiques collector threatened with eviction from his apartment.

Four Spanish features, previously announced, also compete for the New Directors’ plaudit: Javier Rebollo’s “La Mujer sin piano,” which plays in the main competition, “Masks” from Elisabet Cabeza and Esteve Riambau, Miguel Angel Jimenez Colmenar’s “Ori” and Jabi Elortegi’s “Perfect Happiness.”

Basque Kutxa savings bank, which sponsors the New Directors competition, announced Tuesday it was doubling its backing of the San Sebastian festival to $350,000 for the 57th edition.

San Sebastian runs Sept. 18-26.

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