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San Sebastian: ‘Berlin,’ ‘Possessed’ Play Zinemira

Showcase exhibits profusion of documentaries turning on questions of Basque identity

SAN SEBASTIAN — Basque homecoming drama “Un otoño sin Berlin” will receive a Sept. 22 gala screening at the 6th Basque Zinemira section of the 63rd San Sebastian Film Festival. A Basque film showcase features eight works: six documentaries, a fiction-feature and a stop-motion movie.

Starring Irene Escolar –soon to be seen with Antonio Banderas in Hugh Hudson’s “Altamira”– “Berlin” marks the debut of Lara Izagirre. It turns on the story of June, a young woman returning home by surprise. But everything has changed, including her family and first love. Casting also includes Tamar Novas (“The Sea Inside”), Ramon Barea (“Seven Billiard Tables”).

“Berlin” is one of the first titles included on the Latido-A Contracorriente export slate.

Exploring and vindicating Basque cinema history, in documentary “Gore Sor Lekuaren Bila” Josu Martinez investigates the mysterious disappearance of another Basque documentary screened successfully in 1956.

A second docu, also focuses Basque history, Gorka Bilbao’s “Jai Alai Blues” plunges into the history of Jai Alai, a Basque ball game originated centuries ago and played in a three-walled court with a hard rubber ball, caught and pitched with the help of a device, the “cesta”, a long, curved wicker scoop strapped to one arm. It was first introduced into the U.S. in 1904.

Zinemira’s fourth world premiere, “Walls,” from Pablo Iraburu Allegue and Migueltxo Molina Ayestaran’s (“Pura Vida: The Real Taste of Life”) analyzes how walls impact the lives of people living on both their sides and are a historical disgrace.

Iraburu also participates in Zinemira with a second work, directed alongside Jorge Fernandez and Pablo Tosco, “District Zero,” a portrait of live in Jordan’s Zaatari, one of the world’s biggest refugee camps.

Directed by Olivier Masset-Depasse (Cesar-nommed for “Illegal”), “Sanctuary” documents the opposing ideologies of Domingo Iturbe, aka “Txomin,” a historic head of Basque terrorist group ETA, and Greogoire Fortin, a consultant of Francois Miterrand’s French Government.

Rounding up Zinemira’s documentaries is “#Jazzaldia50,” a work summarizing the 50 years of life of the San Sebastian Jazz Festival. Carlos Rodriguez directs.

Co-produced by Basque Films and Conflictivos Productions, “Possessed” (“Pos eso”), marks the stop motion feature debut of Sam. A meeting of black Spanish comedy and the Exorcist,” the comedi actioner turning on a priest who loses his faith. He is contacted by a celebrated flamenco dancer Trini, who can’t control her diabolical son.

The San Sebastian Fest and the Basque producers orgs will present a career-achievement Zinemira Award to an outstanding Basque film personality.

All feature films with at least 20% Basque production equity presented as world premieres in any of the fest sidebars sections are eligible for the Irizar Award which carries –€20,000 ($22,639)  cash prize for the producer or producers of the winning film.

Pablo Iraburu and Migeltxo Molina’s “Pura Vida – The Ridge” won the Irizar Award in 2012.

The section will also include the Kimuak shorts presentation, a much-awaited selection of young filmmakers. The Kimuak program is an initiative of the Basque Government ‘s Department of Culture and the Filmoteca Vasca.

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