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Saura joins Douro fest

Event honors Loren, Santaolalla

MADRID — Spanish producer Antonio Saura has been appointed co-curator of Portugal’s budding film fest, the Douro Film Harvest.

One of Europe’s most extensively-connected film execs — thanks to stints as head of EU program the Media Business School and board membership of the European Film Academy, plus a production career dating back to Alex de la Iglesia’s watershed 1995 pic “The Day of the Beast” — Saura will work with former Portuguese film institute topper Salvato Telles de Menezes. He reports to Douro Film Harvest prexy Manuel Vaz and its director Ivan Dias.

“I think it was important to have curators who not only know films but are part of the industry as well,” Vaz told Daily Variety.

“What I like about the festival is that, ultimately, Douro’s films have to convey a sense of well-being, which sets it apart from most festivals,” Saura added.

Saura can be expected to expand Douro’s international presence as the festival seeks to build on its first edition last September, which established it as a major cultural event in Northern Portugal and, on the international circuit, as a gourmet meet for fine films, fine wine and famed guests.

Announcing first details of its second edition, which runs Sept. 5-11 in four towns of Portugal’s Douro wine valley, Vaz confirmed Tuesday that Sophia Loren will receive a Tawny Tribute CastaDouro career award at this year’s edition.

Douro will also pay tribute to Argentine musician-composer and double Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Babel”), screening one of his most recent films, “Biutiful,” helmed by the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

First films announced are Joao Ribeiro’s “Last Flight of the Flamingo,” a Portuguese-Mozambique production, and Himalayan epic “Nanga Parbat,” by Germany’s Joseph Vilsmaier, which Santaolalla scored.

Laurence Bergreen, author of “Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu,” rights to which Warner Bros. acquired as a vehicle for Matt Damon, will deliver a master class on writing books suitable for movie adaptation; Ogilvy Portugal ad exec Edson Athaybe and manager Antonio Alaby will deliver master classes.

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