Branco heads up Estoril festival

First edition runs Nov. 8-17

LISBON — Paulo Branco, one of Europe’s most prolific film producers, has been appointed artistic director of the new Estoril European Film Festival, which will hold its first edition Nov. 8-17 in Estoril, Portugal.

The festival will include an official selection of 14 films produced from January 2006 onward and will award three main prizes — the Golden Ship, plus a check for Euros 30,000 ($40,000); the Silver Ship, with $26,600; and the special jury prize.

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci will serve on the festival’s advisory committee and the first edition will include retrospectives on Pedro Almodovar and David Lynch, both of whom will attend the event.

The selection committee is composed of leading international film critics and festival organizers, including Ben Gibson, director of the London Film School; former Turin fest chief Roberto Turigliatto; and film journalists Nuria Vidal, Rui Pedro Tendinha, Frederic Bonnaud and Gui Braucourt.

At present, only one jury member has been announced — prominent Spanish contemporary artist, Miquel Barcelo.

The event will be held in the conference center next to Europe’s largest casino — the Estoril Casino — which served as the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale.”

The Estoril Coast, known as the Portuguese Riviera, has long harbored the ambition to host a major international film festival and Paulo Branco hopes that the event will be ranked among Europe’s leading fests.

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