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San Sebastian hikes Spanish presence

Pics by Trueba, Bayona, Berger, Rebollo to unspool

MADRID — Fernando Trueba’s “The Artist and the Model,” Sergio Castellitto’s “Twice Born,” Pablo Berger’s “Blancanieves” and Javier Rebollo’s “El muerto y ser feliz” will play in competition at Spain’s 60th San Sebastian Festival in September.

World preeming, “Artist” stars Jean Rochefort as an ageing sculptor seeking final inspiration in 1943 war-torn France. Bac has acquired the 6 Sales-sold title for France; a U.S. distribution deal will be announced shortly.

Bosnian war drama “Born” toplines Penelope Cruz, Emile Hirsch and Jane Birkin. Wild Bunch-sold, it teams Spain’s Telecinco Cinema and Mod Prods. plus Italy’s Medusa Film, Alien Prods. and Picomedia. Alta Films distributes in Spain.

“Blancanieves,” handled by new sales-financing-distribution label Dreamcatchers, is an original, black and white riff on the Snow White tale set in 1920s’ Seville, in which Snow White’s a bullfighter.

Rebollo’ “Muerto,” a world preem, stars Jose Sacristan (“Madrid 1987”) as a dying hitman hitting the road one last time. The helmer won best director at San Sebastian in 2009 with “Woman Without Piano,”

“This year’s Spanish selection is ample and highly varied in films’ size and types,” San Sebastian director Jose Luis Rebordinos said Friday, announcing one of the biggest presences ever of Spanish movies at the fest at a packed Madrid conference.

Screenings run a gamut from the out-of-competition European premiere of Juan Antonio Bayona’s “The Impossible,” produced by Telecinco Cinema and Apaches and starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, to “Atraco!” by Catalan helmer Eduard Cortes, about the theft of Eva Peron’s jewels in 1955, and contempo-Cuba-set omnibus feature “7 Days in Havana,” from Morena Films and Full House.

Marcal Fores’ teen love drama “Animals,” Miguel Angel Jimenez’s Siberia-Kazakhstan shot relationship tale “Chaika” and David Valero’s docu “The Incredibles” all play in New Directors, now a standalone section at the Spanish fest.

Zabaltegi Specials sidebar features “7 Days”; Miguel Courtois’ Colombian political drama “Operation E,” toplining Luis Tosar; Inaki Elizalde’s Navarre-set historical persecution drama “Baztan”; Basque actors-directors Aitor Mazo and Patxo Telleria’s romcom “Bypass” and Fermin Muguruza’s rock group documentary “Zuloak.”

Fest runs Sept.21-29.

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