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San Sebastian: ‘Rust,’ ‘Dantza,’ ‘Permanent Staff’ Score Big at Fest Industry Awards

‘The Mole Agent,’ ‘The Consequences,’ ‘Akelarre’ also take Co-production prizes

SAN SEBASTIAN – Aly Muritiba’s “Rust,” Telmo Esnal’s “Dantza” and Ezequiel Radusky’s “Permanent Staff” won big at the San Sebastián Industry Awards, topping the Festival’s Films in Progress and new Glocal in Progress showcases and its Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.

An indication of why Muritiba is one of Brazil’s most courted young directors these days, with new projects set up nt only at his own Grafo Audiovisual label but also at RT Features and Gullane, “Rust” builds to a finally searing indictment of misogyny, anchored in a case of sexting which has ghastly consequences.

One forceful decision by Muritiba is to tell the story in two parts, the first from a young female high-school students POV; the second describing the family circumstances of the boy who might have a sex tape from her mobile. Another is to talk about his subject as much via contrasting mise-en-scène of parts one rather than on-the-nose dialogue.

Underscoring “Dust’s” popularity, Muritiba’s second feature swept the board at Films in Progress winning the main 32nd Films in Progress Industry, granted by a powerful alliance of post-production and service houses in Spain, the new Film Factory Award, offering world sales minimum guarantee to the film, and the Caaci/Ibermedia TV Films in Progress Award.

A showcase for movies made in “smaller” European languages – think Basque, Icelandic or Romanian – Glocal in Progress proved a double vindication for the Basque government, the originator of the award with its prize won by “Dantza.”

The musical is directed by Esnai, best known for co-directing 2005’s spirited social sature “Aupa Extebeste!” the first Basque-language feature in years. Produced by Txintxua Films, “Aupa Extebeste!” it proved a polished essay at incorporating the choreography and symbols of ancient Basque dance into an international dance feature idiom whose aesthetic punch and production standards bear comparison with the musicals of Carlos Saura.

Plaudits at the Co-production Forum were spread across the board. The 6th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum Award was won by Ezequiel Radusky for “Permanent Staff,” the second feature project from a director whose film “The Owners,” co-directed alongside Agustín Toscano, snagged a Special Mention at Cannes 2013 Critics’ Week. A social parable about a woman attempting to better her lot by opening a canteen in the offices were she cleans, “Permanent Staff” is produced by Campo Cine, the Buenos Aires shingle run by Argentine auteur Diego Lerman and producer partner Nicolás Avruj.

Structured as a Chile-France-U.S. co-production, “The Mole Agent,” from  Alberdi, a celebrated young Chilean documentary filmmaker, taking place in a world of private investigators and intelligence operatives, the genre-blending “Mole Agent” enrolls elements of film noir, cop movies and thrillers, Alberdi said.

Winner of the Eurimages Development Co-production Award, Claudia Pinto Emperador’s “The Consequences” is a psychological drama-thriller, produced by Valencia’s Sin Rodeos Films from a Venezuelan-born director who broke through with feature debut, drama “La distancia más larga.”

Otherwise,worthy of note, the other two awards at the Co-production forum both went to Basque productions at expanding young production houses. Granted by the upscale French-German pubcaster, the Arte International Prize was snagged by “Akelarre,” a witchcraft thriller which ticks most of the boxes of what the Basque film industry want from a feature project: an arresting subject, the Inquisition’s trials of confessed Basque witches demo 1609; a prestigious director, Agüero, whose “Eva Doesn’t Sleep” played San Sebastián competition in 2015; private investment channeled via Sorkin Films, run by Kowalski Films and Lamia Producciones; and, announced out of San Sebastián, a sales agent, Vicente Canales’ powerful Film Factory Ent.

Chosen out of projects at the San Sebastian’s co-run development lab, the Ikusmira Berriak Award was adjudicated to “Jordi’s Letters,” a docu-portrait of a 51-year-old man who suffers cerebral palsy, communicates pointing to letters on a piece of cardboard and says he once felt God, but no more. It will be directed by Maite Fernández Iriarte and is set up at Leire Apellániz’s San Sebastián-based Sr. & Sra.



“Rust,” (Aly Muritiba, Brazil)






“Dantza,” (Telmo Esnal, Spain)



“Permanent Staff,” (Ezequiel Radusky, Argentina)


“The Mole Agent,” (Maite Alberdi, Chile, France, U.S.)


“The Consequences,” (Claudia Pinto, Spain, Mexico)


“Witches’ Sabbath,” (Pablo Agüero, Spain, France)


“Jordi’s Letters,” (Maider Fernández Iriarte, Spain)


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