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San Seb’s New Directors nabs 15 world preems

Pix include 'Rocker,' 'Sleepless Nights'

BARCELONA — The San Sebastian Film Festival’s New Directors sidebar is to feature 15 world preems, including Marian Crisan’s “Rocker” and Eliane Raheb’s “Sleepless Nights.”

Announced Friday, the lineup includes 17 films from 14 countries vying for the Kutxa-New Directors Award, a €90,000 ($110,700) cash prize split between a pic’s director and its Spanish distributor.

Father-son tale “Rocker” is the Romanian helmer’s sophomore effort after “Morgen,” which won Locarno’s jury prize in 2010.

In documentary “Sleepless Nights,” the Lebanese helmer tells two stories from her country’s civil war that question the limits of redemption and forgiveness. Pic won last year’s Cinema in Motion, the fest’s section devoted to films in post.

Another winner from last year’s fest also screens, Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori’s “7 Boxes.” The pic won the Films in Progress Award. The helmers’ debut feature, which makes its European premiere, centers on a 17-year-old in Paraguay, whose dream of owning a TV leads him astray.

The lineup features two other pics by helmers returning to San Sebastian. Threes Anna’s “Silent City,” a psychological portrait of a young European woman in Tokyo, is the Dutch director’s second pic after “The Bird Can’t Fly,” which competed in the New Directors section in 2007.

Another returnee is Chinese director Hao Jie, whose debut “Single Man” played in New Directors in 2010. His latest pic, “The Love Songs of Tiedan,” is an insight into folk songs and their performers in Northwest China.

Several titles focus on family relationships. Iranian Majid Barzegar’s “Parviz” follows a fiftysomething man told to move out of the family home by his father, who is about to remarry. Barzegar’s debut, “Rainy Seasons,” played at Rotterdam and Montreal.

Scottish helmer-scribe Scott Graham’s “Shell” follows a young woman living with her dying father at a gas station in the remote Scottish highlands. Feature is based on Graham’s short of the same name.

Friederike Jehn’s soph outing “Summer Outside,” a Germany-Switzerland co-production, centers on a teenager’s efforts to mend a rift between her parents.

Other pics include Chilean Fernando Guzzoni’s “Dog Flesh,” about a solitary man overwhelmed by anger about his past, which was developed at Cannes Cinefondation Residence and received financing from the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund.

Gallic toon “Day of the Crows,” Jean-Christophe Dessaint’s feature debut, is based on Jean-Francois Beauchemin’s novel. The pic screened in the Annecy Animated Film Festival’s Work in Progress program.

“A Caretaker’s Tale,” Danish theater director Katrine Wiedemann’s sophomore film after “The Lady of Hamre,” explores masculine sexuality with a surreal sense of humour.

Israeli helmer Jonathan Gurfinkel’s debut, “Six Acts,” looks at a teen girl’s increasingly abusive sexual relationships.

Also competing are Peruvian Adrian Saba’s “The Cleaner”and Brazilian Francisco Garcia’s “Colors” plus previously announced Spanish films, Marcal Fores’ “Animals,” Miguel Angel Jimenez’s “Seagull” and David Valero’s “The Incredibles.”

The fest runs Sept. 21-29.

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