Seville unveils early competish pics

Von Schiller joins fest team

MADRID — “Mr Nice,” Yasmina Reza’s “Chicas” and Vardis Marinakis’ “Black Field” will face off in competition at Andalusia’s Seville European Film Festival, Europe’s main meet dedicated wholly to the continent’s films.

First competition film details come as Seville announces a new sidebar, First Films First, focusing on feature debuts.

And SEFF has appointed Margaret von Schiller, the program co-ordinator of the Berlinale’s Panorama until 2006, to head up Seville’s burgeoning tier of industry activities.

Driven by two now well-established U.K. film industry figures, producer Luc Roeg and director Bernard Rose, “Mr. Nice” narrates the true but improbable rise of Wales’ Howard Marks to the top of the hashish trade in the 70s and 80s.

A barbed analysis of family dynamics, departing from her own stage play, “Chicas” marks the feature directorial debut of Reza, France’s best-known femme playwright.

Playing out-of-competition at Karlovy Vary, Marinakis’ out-there 1654 Ottoman Empire-set period drama “Black Field” is rated as one of the most notable Greek films this year in a strong year for its national filmmaking.

As in 2009, when nine out of Seville’s 16 competish pics were directed by women, SEFF 2010 will have a strong focus on women.

The competition features three Dutch distaff directors: Mijke de Jong’s last part of her troubled teen trilogy “Joy,” Ineke Smits’ World War II drama “The Aviatrix of Kazbek” and Antoinette Beumer’s sitcom-turned-drama “The Happy Housewife,” starring “Black Book’s” Carice van Houten.

Jury prexy will be actress Johanna ter Steege (“Paradise Road”). “Last Conversation,” a one-take monologue feature in which Ter Steege stars, will play SEFF’s Dutch showcase Wild Tulips.

The distaff emphasis “has just happened. But it’s a natural trend. There are so many great female voices in European cinema today, and they take larger risks in addressing social and personal subjects, ” said SEFF artistic director Javier Martin Dominguez.

First pics for First Films First include Hattie Dalton’s Edinburgh closer “Third Star” and “Black Field.”

Attracting younger audiences and balancing more classical films in other sections, FFF forms a ideal showcase for new voices from Andalusian cinema, Martin Dominguez noted.

SEFF runs Nov. 5-13.

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