Seville celebrates Russian cinema

Spanish laffer 'Don't Touch' world preems at Euro film fest

SEVILLE — The 8th edition of the Seville European Film Festival, Europe’s main dedicated showcase for the continent’s films, is throwing the spotlight on recent Russian Cinema.

Bowing Friday, and running through Nov. 11, fest will screen new features, shorts and docu films from young and vet Russian filmmakers.

Two Russian pics, Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Elena,” which won a Cannes’ Un Certain Regard jury prize, and Nikolay Khomeriki’s Match Factory-sold “Heart’s Boomerang,” a black-and-white drama, play Seville’s main Competition.

Seville will honor Nikita Mikhalkov, whose “Burnt by the Sun: The Citadel,” Russia’s foreign-language film Oscar entry, forms part of a retrospective.

“Russian cinema is enjoying a new spring in its subjects and creators,” said Seville fest’s artistic director Javier Martin-Dominguez.

“Our focus mainly takes in new directors and more novel subject matters, reflecting a vibrant, modern cinema,” he added.

A key meeting point for the European film industry, Seville will promote co-productions between Russia and Spain.

Spanish helmer Jose Luis Garcia Sanchez’s comedy “Don’t Touch the Dead, Kid,” which sources the same-titled novel by late screenwriter Rafael Azcona, one of Spanish cinema’s greats, world preems at Seville’s opening gala.

Produced by Juan Gona and co-penned by Garcia Sanchez, David Trueba and Bernardo Sanchez, pic completes an Azcona film trilogy portraying ’50s Spain. Its first two parts — Marco Ferreri’s “The Little Apartment” and “El Cochecito” — are now regarded as classics.

Main Competition also includes the world premiere of Arantza Alvarez’s feature debut “Kenu,” a French-language, Senegal-set immigration drama, co-produced by Andalusian shingle Jaleo Films and France’s La Fabrica Nocturna.

Closing night pic is Steve McQueen’s “Shame.”

Seville’s official section screens 16 films contending for the Golden Giraldillo, fest’s top award, which carries a Euros40,000 ($55,200) cash-prize for the winner’s distribution in Spain.

Vet Russian documentary director Aleksandr Gutman will preside the Competition jury.

Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai and Marion Doring, European Film Academy director, will receive tribs.

Fest will also pay tribute to Spain’s exhib-distributor Enrique Gonzalez-Macho, founder of Alta Films, Eddie Saeta’s producer Luis Minarro and actress Maria Galiana.

An EFA Selection will screen films pre-selected by the European Film Academy, whose nominations announcement, on Nov. 5, represents one of Seville’s highlights.