International Newswire: Roman Polanski to Return to Zurich Film Festival

Director to present 'Based on a True Story' with his wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner

Roman Polanski
James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

In today’s International Newswire, Roman Polanski returns to the Zurich Film Festival, eight years after he was arrested on his way to the Swiss event; James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” leads Spanish critics’ polls at the San Sebastian Film Festival; and Sony amps up production of TV series in Latin America.

Roman Polanski is to return to the Zurich Film Festival, eight years after he was arrested on his way to the event, where he was to collect a lifetime achievement award.

The Swiss authorities detained him at Zurich airport, acting on an arrest warrant issued by the U.S., where he is wanted for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977. After two months in jail, followed by several months under house arrest in Gstaad, the authorities decided not to extradite him.

The director will attend the Zurich festival on Monday to present his latest film, the thriller “Based on a True Story,” accompanied by his wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner, who stars in the film.

At the festival’s launch earlier this month the organizers said that women would be at the center of the event. “This year’s ZFF is a festival of women,” the festival said in a statement. The festival is to be attended by Swiss President Doris Leuthard, and actresses Glenn Close, Alicia Vikander and Claire Foy, among others.

Festival director Karl Spoerri reported that 38 films in the lineup were directed by women, and that the proportion of women in the three competition sections is between 35% and 40%.

In 2014, Polanski abandoned a trip to Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival, where he was to receive another lifetime achievement award, following protests by local politicians and newspapers.

Just one day out from San Sebastian Film Festival’s prize announcement, and with two competition titles yet to screen, James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” leads Spanish critics’ polls as the best competition movie at the fest, the highest profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world.

That could be the kiss of death. San Sebastian juries’ verdicts have sometimes been vastly out of synch with local reviewers. But the film’s San Sebastian reception goes some way to confirming the critical standing of the movie, which made multiple Top 10s at the Toronto Film Festival. Not that Franco has it all his own way at the Spanish film event. His film is only slightly ahead of Constantin Popescu’s family tragedy “Pororoca,” which “hits with direct dramatic force,” according to Variety, and Antonio Mendez Esparza’s coming-of-age tale “Life and Nothing More,” another Toronto Top 10 movie.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is producing seven series out of Mexico and Colombia, Angelica Guerra, head of international production at Sony Pictures Latin America and U.S. Hispanic, told TodoTVNews, a leading Latin American TV website.

Hollywood studios are increasingly the drivers of high-end TV drama production in Latin America, where pay-TV take-up is slowing, but prospects for subscription VOD growth are substantial, with subscribers expected to almost double over 2016-2022 to 32.5 million clients. Hollywood studios need to protect their pay-TV operations, but also want part of the succulent new OTT pie.

Cottonwood Media’s pre-school animated series “Ollie & Moon” has been picked up for broadcast in two new markets. Canal Panda in Spain and TFO in Canada are the most recent buyers to nab the zany cartoon felines, filling out a roster that exceeds 150 territories. That marks yet another success for Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment, of which Cottonwood forms part. With offices in both Paris and L.A., Federation is responsible for two of the biggest international series to come from France, Canal Plus signature show “The Bureau,” and Netflix’s first French commission, “Marseilles.”