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International Newswire: San Sebastian Bids to Become Sales Mecca

San Sebastian opens Friday with 'Submergence,' starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander

In today’s International Newswire, fall festivals like San Sebastian bid to become movie rights biz bazaars; Disney’s Patagonik and Adrián Suar score another box-office victory in Argentina with soccer comedy ‘My Love or My Passion’; and Modern Times Group conspires with Pinewood TV and Eccho Rights on global arms trade thriller ‘Conspiracy of Silence.’

Adding a frisson for copy editors, reputed Spanish screenwriter Jorge Guerricaechevarría and Brazilian cinematographer André Szankowski have joined the main competition jury of Spain’s San Sebastián Film Festival, headed by John Malkovich. The festival kicks off on Friday with Wim Wenders’ “Submergence,” starring James McAvoy and Alicia Vikander.

The highest-profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world has already 1,611 industry participants, up 3% on 2016’s final figure and 64% on 2010.

Trading at Toronto looked slow on not only the U.S. domestic market but also on all but the biggest international titles with many sales agents leaving the Canadian festival still in desperate need of reviews for their foreign-language world premieres.

That raises the question if San Sebastian and other post-Toronto fests, such as Zurich, Tokyo and London, in an ever-more slowing international market, will be used more for agents to attempt to leverage these reviews and, off them, close first international deals.

Certainly, bar four or five star-driven surefire titles from top-top players, the days of movies — mainstream or arthouse — coming onto the market and selling out at that same market near worldwide look to be over.

They’ve done it again. Disney’s co-owned Buenos Aires-based production house Patagonik Film Group and Adrián Suar, arguably the most reliable tandem in the Latin American film industry, have punched 967,102 admissions (about $5.7 million) at the box office on “El futbol y yo” (“My Love or My Passion”), making the movie the second-highest grossing Argentine film to date this year on home territory.

Sold abroad by Guido Rud’s FilmSharks Intl., “My Love or My Passion” is “the perfect parodic portrait of the Latin and European housewife’s suffering her husband’s soccer addiction” — perfect timing as the FIFA World Cup in Russia approaches. It is Patagonik-Suar’s fifth comedy hit in a row.

Scandinavia’s Modern Times Group Studios is teaming with Pinewood TV and sales company Eccho Rights on its newest original drama, global arms trade thriller “Conspiracy of Silence,” starring Jens Hultén (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”), directed by Charlotte Brändström (“Outlander”) and created by Peter Arrhenius (“Welcome to Sweden”).

Brain Academy, producer of L.A.-set comedy series “Swedish Dicks” produces; Eccho Rights handles international sales. To premiere exclusively on MTG Studios’ Viaplay Scandinavian subscription VOD platform in 2018, “Conspiracy of Silence” marks another play by Scandi behemoth MTG Studios as it pursues its goal of, in its own words, becoming the Nordic region’s leading producer of original content with 50 projects in the pipeline.

Albania has selected Gentian Koçi’s feature debut “Daybreak” as its submission for the foreign-language film Oscar.

The drama centers on an impoverished and desperate young mother who, with her child, moves in with an ailing and bedridden elderly woman.

“I wanted to tell a powerful and emotional story of a young single mother fighting hard to keep her job and new roof [over her head], at any price,” Koçi told Variety. “Feeling constantly insecure is very familiar to practically all of us.”

The film is “distilled from my everyday life observations, intuition, and imagination of other people’s day-by-day struggle to keep going,” Koçi said.

Warner TV has launched on Astro’s over-the-top subscription service Tribe in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Warner TV is the home to an array of DC superhero shows such as “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Arrow,” and “Gotham”; comedy series such as “The Big Bang Theory”; dramas such as “Blindspot”; and blockbusters from franchises such as “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter” and “Batman,” and movies like “Inception,” “Pacific Rim” and “Interstellar.”

The Warner content joins Tribe’s selection of Korean drama, Anime and Asian movies.

“Warner TV strengthens our proposition to be the destination for up-to-date and fresh content in the OTT space, while also bringing us closer to competitor offerings that have historically focused on Hollywood shows,” Iskandar Samad, Tribe CEO, said.

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