Fest family affair

Hedren, Griffith, Banderas star in San Sebastian

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — It’s not often a family dominates a major festival. But Tippi Hedren, daughter Melanie Griffith and her husband, Antonio Banderas, came close to it at the opening ceremony Thursday of the 47th San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival.

Hedren was at the Basque resort fest for an Alfred Hitchcock centenary celebration; Banderas and Griffith for the Spanish preem of “Crazy in Alabama,” which inaugurated the fest’s main sidebar section, the Open Zone panorama.

The platitudes and good will of the ceremony in the new Kursaal performing arts center were briefly disrupted when three Basque separatists rushed into the auditorium. Also on stage for brief words were jury president Bertrand Tavernier — whose films are the subject of a major retrospective here — and Lawrence Kasdan, whose comedy “Mumford” kicked off the official competition Thursday.

One prominent no-show was Pedro Almodovar, who was to receive the first Fipresci Grand Prize for “All About My Mother,” a laurel voted on by 160 critics in 25 countries. Instead, actress Marisa Paredes picked up the trophy, explaining that it was the recent death of Almodovar’s own mother — an occasional actress and lifetime inspiration — that had kept him home.

“My mother’s absence explains my own,” Almodovar said in a note read aloud by Paredes.

Earlier, Diego Galan, fest director since 1995, admitted with crossed fingers to some nerves on the event’s opening day. Galan’s nerves could be put down to the festival’s new headquarters, the nearly finished Kursaal, comprising two giant gleaming glass cubes that house the fest’s major auditoriums and press center.

With no less than eight of the 19 features in this year’s Official Selection having already bowed at Toronto, international critics’ interest is likely to center on the six or seven films in competition with no track record or buzz.

The first to bow, and a potential fest standout, is Bigas Luna’s sumptuous period whodunnit, “Volaverunt” (The Naked Maja), which has its first press screening today .