‘Outsider’ Projects Dominate San Sebastian’s Docs Forum

The Secret of Dr. Grinberg,’ ‘Searching for Oscar,’ ‘The Key to Dalí,’ standouts at 11th Lau Haizetara Co-Production Forum.

SAN SEBASTIAN — Docus “The Secret of Dr. Grinberg,” “Searching for Oscar” and “The Key to Dalí,” three projects turning on outsider characters that -each one in his own way- follow their own dreams, were standouts Thursday at the San Sebastian Festival’s 11th Lau Haizetara Documentary Co-Production Forum.

Boasting a highly diverse selection of docus, in production and themes, the Forum suggested some move towards projects that gravitate around the magnetism and charisma of a character, with narrative structures very close to the fiction.

Designed as a thriller, Ida Cuellar’s “The Secret of Dr. Grinberg” investigates the mysterious disappearance in 1994 of Jacobo Grinberg, a Mexican scientific pioneer in telepathy. Project is set up at Barcelona’s well-known prodco Polar Star Films.

In “Searching for Oscar,” Calibrando Producciones’ producer-director Octavio Guerra focuses on vet Madrid-based film critic Oscar Peyrou for whom film festivals become a driving force in his life, until a congenital glaucoma threatens his trips. He’s kept the problem with his sight secret, having learned the art for deception in Argentina 1970s’ Montoneros guerrilla.

In advanced fiancing, with Baleares Islands’ pubcaster IB3 on board, David Fernández García’s “The Key to Dalí” turns on the research of Mallorca’s scientist and artist Tomeu L’Amo, who bought an unknown painting in 1989 which, 25 years later, was recognized as a Dalí original.

“These are three auteur documentaries with possibilities to attract the interest of the audiences, far from arthouse filmmaking,” said Iñigo Trojaola chief editor of documentaries at Movistar Plus.

“Because of their variety, the range of documentaries presented at the Forum largely reflects the vitality of a genre which is highly open to all type of projects,” said Jordi Ambrós, responsible for documentary co-productions at Catalan pubcaster TV3.

Pitched by helmer Maru Solares and producer José María Lara at Lumiere Produkzioak, “Imprints” explores an original and suggestive issue: the legacy of early year experience in later life.  

“Projects are taking ever more risks but defending the figure of documentary auteur,” said Catherine Ulmer, Forum’s workshop and pitching head.

Exploring new paths, Forum’s current edition has opened up to transmedia for the first time, with Diego Urruchi’s documentary “Net,” which investigates contemporary social, economic and ethical crisis.

Also, strenghening links with France’s Fipa fest, the Lau Haizetara Forum invited this year two Fipa-presented international projects: Bulgaria’s “Dvata slona i trevata” and Egypt’s “The History of Belly Dancing.”

The 11th Lau Haizetara Documentary Co-Production Forum was backed by Basque producers org IBAIA.

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