Seville festival to pay tribute to Lean

Jose Luis Borau to also receive tribute

MADRID — The Seville European Film Festival will screen tributes to David Lean and Spanish director-producer Jose Luis Borau, plus a Focus Europe panorama of recent films from Denmark.

Nominations for the European Film Academy awards will be announced Nov. 8 in Seville. The fest will retain its Euro-centric sidebars: a Eurimages European co-production section; Short Matters, showcasing the shorts up for EFA awards; a EuroDoc focus; and a European Collection tapping features on the EFA awards nomination longlist.

But under new artistic director Javier Martin-Dominguez, the fest looks set to build its critical mass of Euro-centric events, becoming a mid-November hub for discussions, meetings and analysis, blessed by the southern European sun. The Copenhagen Think Tank, run by the Danish Film Institute, will analyze new public film-funding policies at a panel in Seville.

Many of Europe’s national film academies will also convene in Seville, Martin-Dominguez said. French-German broadcaster Arte will present recent co-productions. Rather than repeating screenings of the latest offerings from venerable European auteurs, fest’s main competition will turn around “Europe’s edgier new directors and young femme helmers,” Martin-Dominguez added.

The year to date, he said, has been excellent “for new European talent.”

The Lean tribute coincides with the centennial of his birth. Helmer won a place in Sevillians’ hearts shooting scenes for “Lawrence of Arabia” in Seville’s Plaza de Espana square and Casino, which backs onto the fest’s Lope de Vega main theater.

Borau’s homage marks recognition of the wide-ranging importance of a much-admired multihyphenate.

The Spanish filmmaker is best known abroad for directing “Poachers,” a milestone of cinema made during Spain’s dramatic gallop from dictatorship in 1975 to democracy in 1977.

But, beyond that, he produced breakthrough pics by young directors, such as Manuel Gutierrez-Aragon’s “Black Litter” (1977); made vital contributions to Spanish film history; and, above all, battled for years to make films which, whether shot in English in Spain (“La Sabina,” 1979) or abroad (“Downstream,” 1984), attempted to find an international audience for Spanish cinema.

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