International Newswire: Roman Polanski to Return to Zurich Film Festival

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

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.

Popular on Variety

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.”

More Film

  • Ride Like A Girl

    Australia Box Office Drops 2% in 2019

    Cinema box office in Australia dipped by 2% in 2019 to an annual total of A$1.23 billion, or $841 million, according to data from the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia. That was the country’s third highest figure in local currency terms, but it also shows the theatrical industry to be rangebound since 2015. Australian-made [...]

  • Harvey WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein court hearing, New

    Hairdresser Will Be Star Witness at Weinstein Trial

    She was raised on a dairy farm in Washington state. She left home as a teenager, fleeing a troubled childhood. At 25, she came to Los Angeles to become an actress. She went on auditions, got cast in a few commercials — but nothing much beyond that. In recent years, her primary job was cutting [...]

  • Jack Kehoe dead

    Jack Kehoe, 'Serpico' and 'Midnight Run' Actor, Dies at 85

    Jack Kehoe, best known for his roles in the Al Pacino-led crime drama “Serpico” and “Midnight Run,” died on Jan. 10 at a nursing home in Los Angeles. He was 85. The actor suffered a debilitating stroke in 2015, which left him inactive in recent years. Kehoe also appeared in several Academy Award-winning films during [...]

  • The Last Full Measure

    'The Last Full Measure': Film Review

    The story of William Pitsenbarger, a U.S. Air Force Pararescue medic who risked his life in Vietnam to aid his comrades, as well as the decades-later efforts of fellow vets to see him posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, is undeniably moving — which goes a long way toward explaining how Todd Robinson enlisted an [...]

  • The Grand Grandmaster

    Hong Kong and China Box Office to Take Separate Directions at Chinese New Year

    In the more than six months that protest movements have rocked Hong Kong, a whole range of business sectors have become color-coded, as both Beijing-loyal blue elements and yellow pro-democracy forces have weaponized the economy. Companies on the front line include leading bank HSBC, airline Cathay Pacific and even the subway operator MTRC. Effects range [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' Puts Modern Spin on Film's Long History of Haves vs Have-Nots

    Every filmmaker hopes to make a good movie, but sometimes the impact is bigger than expected. Neon’s “Parasite” is one example of a 2019 film hitting a nerve. Writer-director Bong Joon Ho’s film has been praised for its originality and daring shifts in tone. It also has resonance due to its subject matter: the gap [...]

  • 1917 Movie

    How the '1917' Special Effects Makeup Team Created Realistic Dead Bodies

    Prior to working on “1917,” special effects artist Tristan Versluis had designed no more than five or six corpses. But Sam Mendes, director of the WWI drama, which has garnered 10 Oscar nominations, needed Versluis, who picked up one of those noms in the hair and makeup category, to create 30 corpses and dead horses, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content