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James Franco, Diego Lerman, Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano Films to Compete at San Sebastian

The latest movies by U.S. multi-hyphenate James Franco, Argentine Cannes regular Diego Lerman, and Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, the duo behind “Untouchables,” the biggest French-language hit ever, will play in San Sebastian‘s main competition this September.

Barbara Albert’s “Mademoiselle Paradis,” Alexandros Avranas’ “Love Me Not,” Matt Porterfield’s “Sollers Point,” Nobuhiro Suwa’s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Soldiers. Story from Ferentari,” the feature debut of Serbian Ivana Mladenovic, also make up cut.

All vie for the festival’s top Golden Shell, as will already announced contenders such as festival opener, Wim Wenders’ “Submergence,” plus the Spanish movies “El autor,” by Manuel Martín-Cuenca, Jon Garaño and Aitor Arregi’s “Handia” and Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Life and Nothing More.”

Several of the new international contenders will launch at Toronto’s market or official section before landing in San Sebastian for their European debuts.

That’s the case of James Franco’s comedy-drama “The Disaster Artist,” the true story of the making of Tommy Wisseau’s cult classic “The Room,” dubbed as the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Franco directs, leads the cast and produces the film, a New Line presentation which will hit U.S. theaters on Dec. 1. Warner Bros. Pictures will oversee international distribution.

Nakache and Toledano’s follow-up to “Samba,” again produced by Gaumont, “C’est la vie” – also a Toronto player- is an ensemble comedy set over the course of one night in an 18th century French castle It  chronicles a crazed wedding party from the perspective of its caterer, photographer and DJ.

Spanish actress Barbara Lennie, star of Carlos Vermut’s 2014 San Sebastian Golden Shell winning “Magical Girl,” toplines Diego Lerman’s touching family drama/road movie, “A Sort of Family,” about a middle-class successful doctor in Buenos Aires, Malena, who’s adopting a child.

The latest film from a leading light of the New Argentine Cinema who is also a regular in San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos sidebar and whose debut movie “Suddenly” won a Silver Leopard at Locarno, “A Sort of Family” teams Argentina’s Campo Cine, Brazil’s BossaNovaFilms, France’s Bellota Films and Staron Film in Poland as co-producers. The film was picked up for international by Vicente Canales’ Barcelona-based Film Factory Entertainment.

A Greek-French co-production about a couple who hire a surrogate mother, sold by Elle Driver, “Love Me Not” marks Avranas’ third feature film and the helmer’s follow-up to “True Crimes,” toplining Jim Carrey and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Avranas broke through with 2013’s dysfunctional-family drama “Miss Violence,” a Venice’s best director winner.

“Mademoiselle Paradis,” a take on the dramatic dilemma faced by a young blind pianist, marks Austrian actress, screenwriter, producer and director Barbara Albert’s return to San Sebastian, where she already presented 2012’s “The Dead and the Living.”

“Sollers Point” is the latest film by Matt Porterfield, whose previous titles –  “Hamilton,” “Putty Hill” and “I Used to Be Darker” – were acclaimed by the critics after premiering respectively at the Wisconsin, Berlin and Sundance festivals. Starring McCaul Lombardi (“American Honey”), “Sollers Point” kicks off with the house arrest of a small-time drug dealer.

Winner of the Fipresci Prize at Cannes for his second film, “M/Other” (1999) and the Jury Special Prize at Locarno for “A Perfect Couple” (2005), Japanese director Nobuhiro Suwa presents “The Lion,” a co-production with France. It mixes a seasoned actor, played by Jean-Pierre Leaud, with a group of children who are apprentice filmmakers in an abandoned house.

Further films at the Official Selection, playing out of competition, include Sergio G. Sánchez’s “Marrowbone,” Alberto Rodríguez’s TV series “La peste” and the special screening of Fernando Franco’s “Morir.”

The 65th San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival runs Sept. 22-30.

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